Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Hey all, Dani here.

Today’s review is a long time coming. Yes, I know, it took me forever to get around to reading this book. But I figured with BEA and BookCon coming I probably needed to try and read Lord of Shadows so I wouldn’t be spoiled, and to read that one I needed to first read this one.

Anyway, in a fun change of pace for me, I read half the book and listened to half the book on Audible. So my review will be a bit of a hybrid as I talk about both formats.

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Summary

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

I was originally going to hold off on reading this book until I managed to complete a reread of TMI and TID, but with Lord of Shadows release as well as my upcoming trip to BEA and BookCon, I decided I couldn’t hold off anymore. And knowing that I was on a time crunch for finishing a somewhat large TBR stack, I decided to listen to this one instead of reading it. That way I could actually read another book while listening to this one. Yes, I’m a weird person who can focus on two completely different books literally at the exact same time.

For Lady Midnight‘s audiobook, the narrator is Morena Baccarin, which was one of the reasons I was so willing to give it a listen. I watched Morena in “Firefly” and “Deadpool” and a few other roles, so having her talk to me for 20+ hours sounded great. She has a very soothing voice, and while there wasn’t a wide variety in the different character voices, there was enough to differentiate between them.

About halfway through the listen, when I realized I still had 11 hours left in the audiobook, I worried that I wouldn’t have enough time to finish this one and listen to Lord of Shadows before BEA. So, knowing how quickly I read, I picked up my signed hardcover and read for a couple hours while doing the laundry. That ended up cutting about 6 hours of listening time off the book.

Now, for the characters and the story in general. This was an interesting story. It was intriguing to see how the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders act in these years after the Dark War, and especially with how faeries are now treated. The .5 reduction in my rating is simply because there were certain story elements that felt tired and repetitive to me, and not in a “I’ve seen this in so many YA tales” way, but more of a “yeah, this happened in another Cassie Clare book” way. I won’t say more about it because I’m trying to avoid spoilers for those who still haven’t gotten around to this book.

Ty is one of my favorite characters; in fact, I enjoyed the whole Blackthorn family. But I will say that the relationship between Emma and Julian seemed more one of familiarity and comfort, than one of romance and passion. Honestly–and this is just my opinion–I think there is a possibility of a stronger relationship for Emma with Mark. So, I’m curious to see what will happen in the next book with that whole situation.

Also, I’m looking forward to more with Kit, because he seemed pretty interesting to me as well.

Where to Buy

You can pick up Lady Midnight at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore. You can probably also find it at grocery stores or basically anywhere that has a book section in it.

GLBT Book Month TBR

Hey all, Dani here.

I guess it’s time to announce my TBR for the month of June. For those of you who don’t know, the American Library Association (ALA) celebrates June as GLBT book month, and so I like to take this month to highlight books that have a LGBTQIA+ theme, characters, or author.

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GLBT Book Month is a celebration of authors and writings that reflect and highlight the lives and the experiences of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community. I like to take that a step farther by including books for those questioning their sexuality and those who identify as aesexual or anything that could be classified as “other.” There is a book on my TBR that features an aesexual main character and I’m really looking forward to reading it. I feel like having this variety of stories with diverse characters can only help us to broaden our own minds and maybe come a step closer to understanding and acceptance.

Okay, let’s jump into this TBR:

Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst

I received this book from both my Novel Tea Club and Lit-Cube subscription boxes. I am so looking forward to this YA fantasy novel that features a lesbian couple. It sounds really interesting.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

I have been hearing about this book from what feels like everyone in the book community. Hearing all the praise and hype, it’s about time I get around to reading it.

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

Okay, not only does this feature a main character who is making a modern adaptation web series for Anna Karenina, but also the main character is aesexual. Since hearing of this book it has been on my most anticipated list.

Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli

This is another book I’ve heard about from basically everyone in the book community. And I’ve been wanting to read it for a while, but I’ve just had so many other books that kept jumping higher on my reading list.

Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

This is another book that has been on my most anticipated releases list since I found out about it. Royal Bastards would have been on my anticipated summer releases post but the publication date was changed from June 6 to May 30 so it slipped into the gray area where it missed inclusion on my blog.

Perfect Ten by L Phillips

I have received an early copy of this book thanks to Penguin’s First to Read program, and it sounds like an adorable YA rom-com type book featuring a single gay guy and his Wiccan friend who casts a love spell on him so he can find his “perfect ten.” After that the guy is pursued by three different great guys, and his ex-boyfriend also seems to want to get back together. It just sounds adorable.

Sovereign by April Daniels

I loved reading Dreadnought, the first book in this series, and so I was happy when I was approved by the publisher and NetGalley to read this one early as well. This book continues the adventures of Danny Tozer, a transgender superhero as she navigates her new body, her new powers, and her changing life.

No Holding Back by Kate Evangelista

Finally, this book is the sequel to No Love Allowed, which I read recently, and this one focuses on one of my favorite side characters from that first book. I can’t wait to see what happens with Nathan and Preston as they venture across Europe.

If you want to find more great GLBT books to check out, either to read in the month of June, or just read anytime, you can check out the lists for the Stonewall Book Awards, the longest standing GLBT book award, or check out the Rainbow Books, a list of LGBTQ books for kids and teens, or the Over the Rainbow Books, which are LGBTQ books for adults.

Most Anticipated Releases Summer 2017

Hey all, Dani here.

Wow. Here we are at my most anticipated releases of the summer months in 2017 already. Seriously, we are almost halfway through the year already. That also means that pretty soon I’ll be writing up my Top Ten Books Read in 2017 (so far) post. I had a fun time with those posts last year so I’m going to do it again this year.

Back to this post, though. Today I’m going to talk about the books I am looking forward to in the months of June, July, and August.

First up: June

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (June 6)

This book follows Tash, who has a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina online, and a random shoutout from a superstar vloger skyrockets Tash’s show into viral status. And when she is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash finds that maybe a cyber-flirtation with a fellow nominee could become something real. There’s just one problem: Tash has to figure out how to tell him that she’s romantically aesexual. I’ve been curious about this book simply because I don’t think there are all that many books featuring aesexual characters. Plus, I’m a sucker for literary adaption web series…even if they technically only exist on the page.

Perfect Ten by L Philips (June 6)

I was lucky enough to snatch an early copy of this through Penguin’s First to Read program. This book follows Sam, a young gay man in a bit of a dating drought, until his friend Meg suggests casting a love spell. Then three seemingly perfect guys step into the picture, and Sam’s ex-boyfriend might want another chance. Does a perfect ten even exist? I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (June 13)

This is the sequel to Every Heart a Doorway, which I read during Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon in April. And I’m excited to see what will happen with Jack and Jill in this adventure. I will have a review up for this on release day because I was granted access to an early copy through NetGalley.

The Gentlemen’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (June 20)

“An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.” Yes…just yes. Give it to me now.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss (June 20)

This book follows the daughters of some of literature’s more famous men. Mary Jekyll is orphaned and penniless, and wishes to hunt down Edward Hyde for the reward money. This leads her to Diana Hyde, and then Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein. That alone has me intrigued. Will they find Hyde? Will other people or issues get in the way? I don’t know but I’m ready to find out.

Now I Rise by Kiersten White (June 27)

I have heard too much good about this series to not include it on the list. I will be reading the first book, And I Darken very soon. Plus, I’ve also heard this book features LGBTQIA+ elements as well.

Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead (June 27)

Yes I talked about this in my Spring Releases post, but the publication date was pushed back. I’ve seen this happen with several books lately and I’m not exactly happy with it. Still, I just want to have a copy of this book and read it. Preferably sooner rather than later.

Next: July

Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn (July 4)

If it isn’t obvious by some of my reading choices, I like superhero stories. This is the sequel to Heroine Complex and I still need to read and review it, but that’ll be coming soon…I hope.

 

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine (July 11)

This is the third book in the Great Library series. I have absolutely loved reading these. I was lucky to get a copy of the second book from NetGalley but was sadly denied access to this third one, so I have to wait like most everyone else. I can guarantee that I will be diving into it as soon as I have my hands on a copy.

First Watch by Dale Lucas (July 11)

Set in a city populated by humans, elves, orcs, dwarves, and mages, this is basically a supernatural cop show. Rem is new to the city. lands in jail and is unable to pay his bail. When offered the chance to work for the Watch Wardens to make up for his crimes he jumps at the chance and is partnered up with a dwarf named Torval. Then Torval’s former partner goes missing and it is up to Rem and Torval to uncover the truth and track down a murderer on the loose. This just sounds like so much fun. I can’t wait to read it.

Arabella and the Battle of Venus by David D Levine (July 18)

The cover is gorgeous and I really wanted to add this book to my most anticipated list. I still need to read the first book though, Arabella of Mars. But come on, a sci-fi steampunk regency-esque romance story…or at least that’s how it sounds based on the summary. I’m just so in.

Sovereign by April Daniels (July 25)

I am thankful that I can continue on with this series early because of e-galleys from NetGalley. I really enjoyed the first book of this series and I’m curious to see what happens with Dany Tozer next. You can find my review for the first book here.

Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw (July 25)

Greta Helsing is a doctor to the undead and other supernatural beings. She has inherited her family’s medical practice and is barely making ends meet. Then a sect of murderous monks emerge and there are humans and undead being killed all over London. Now Greta has to embrace her family’s unique skills to stop the cult and save her practice. I’m intrigued and just let me read this already.

Finally: August

Sparks of Light by Janet B Taylor (Aug 1)

This is another book I already have in my hands thanks to NetGalley. It also happens to be coming out on my birthday so yay for that. What do I need to say about this one? Well, it’s the sequel to Into the Dim which featured time-travel and Scotland. This one also features time-travel. I’m in.

Iron Gold by Pierce Brown (Aug 22)

A friend of mine recommended the Red Rising series to me and I absolutely devoured the first book. I still need to finish the trilogy, but I absolutely plan to do that before this book is released upon the world.

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller (Aug 29)

I saw this book on NetGalley and it sounded so interesting, but I was denied early access. It is recommended for fans of books by Sarah J Maas. It is a fantasy story and I believe it features some LGBTQIA+ themes.

The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee (Aug 29)

I admit that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first book in this series, The Thousandth Floor because it sounded more like a chick lit story set a hundred years in the future. I was swept away into the relationships and drama of these characters and I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

 

TBR Book Tag

Hey all, Dani here.

I’m back with another book tag, and again, I found this on rachaelrexds blog so you can check out her post here.

How do you keep track of your TBR?

Officially I keep track of my TBR using Goodreads. But it isn’t difficult for me to look up at my bookcases and see what books I’ve read and what ones I still need to read.

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

I sometimes fluctuate between the format I’m in the mood for, and lately I have definitely been more of a fan of print books, so I’d say my TBR is predominately print.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

If I have a review for an ARC or e-galley then it has top priority on my TBR, but otherwise I pick what to read based on what kind of mood I’m in. Recently that seems to be cute contemporary romances. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a Middle Grade book or a graphic novel or poetry or Fantasy/Sci-Fi.

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest.

Hmm…let me check on that one…okay, one of the books that has been on my TBR the longest–which is only since 2010 because that’s when I joined Goodreads…is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I own the book; I just need to find the time to squeeze it into my reading list.

A book you recently added to your TBR.

Honestly the answer to this is books…but my boyfriend recently got me into the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I’ve read the first four books so far, and I have the rest of the series on my TBR. Again, I just need to find the time to read them.

A book in your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover.

I don’t pick books just because of the cover, but here are some recent additions to my TBR where the cover drew me in and made me want to know more. Then the concept sounded interesting so I added it to my TBR.

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading.

Umm…if I plan to never read it then I don’t have it on my TBR. I try to go through my TBR list a couple times a year or so and weed out books that I just don’t think I’m going to get around to reading.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.

I’m excited for a lot of books, and you’ll hear about some of them in my Most Anticipated Summer Releases post, which is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24th, but I also threw in a few Fall Releases to this answer. Of course I’m also super excited for the fourth book in Marianne Curley’s Guardians of Time series.

A book on your TBR that basically everyone’s read but you.

Well, I think that the Lunar Chronicles applies for this question. I know, I know. I just haven’t gotten around to them yet. I’m sure I’ll enjoy them though.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

This is a hard one. Most people don’t recommend books to me all that much anymore. Most of my recommendations these past months come from BookTube. So I guess my answers for this are:

A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read.

Okay, this one is easy. I am dying to read Waterworld by Rachel E Kelly. This is the sixth book in the Colorworld series and I am so in love with all of these books. Get writing, Rachel. I need to know what happens next!

How many books are on your TBR shelf?

According to Goodreads I have 921 books on my to-read shelf. I’m due for another list weeding though, so I don’t know how accurate the list is.

Okay, well that’s all for the TBR tag. As always, if you wish to do this tag yourself then consider yourself tagged. If you do decide to do this tag, be sure and let me know because I would love to check out your responses.

Oh, and get ready, because I have posts every day from now until I leave BEA and BookCon, so that’ll be fun. I have nine book reviews coming, my Most Anticipated Summer Releases post is coming, my TBR for next month and this month’s wrap up are coming, and of course a couple of posts about BEA and BookCon. It’s going to be a fun and slightly chaotic couple of weeks. I’m excited. See you tomorrow.

Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Hey all, Dani here.

After reading this book I found myself chuckling at the author bio. Riley Redgate went to college in Ohio (which is where I’m from) and she lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (which just happens to be where my favorite author lives). That’s an amusing and random fact.

Anyway, I’m back with another contemporary book review. What can I say guys? I’m just craving some light fun adorable reads. I’m fitting some fantasy books in too. It’ll all balance out eventually.

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Summary

A cappella just got a makeover.

Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options.

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

This was an interesting book. It felt a little slow for the first half but then I was completely engrossed in everything that was happening. Understandably everything needed to be set up, from us getting to know Jordan and her struggles as an Alto 2 at a performing arts school to setting up the whole undercover scheme with the Sharps.

I have to say that I really enjoyed watching as Jordan (or Julian as she calls herself with the Sharps) started to feel that kinship with the guys and started to feel as if she belonged. I know there have to people who are so isolated, even in an artsy school, but I can thankfully say that I never felt that way with my own liberal arts studies.

The acapella rivalry plot was a fun yet intense one. It really did show how complicated and political the group dynamics can be in a high pressure performing arts school, especially in preparation for a big important competition.

The only thing I would have liked to see was a little more exploration into Jordan being bi. While it wasn’t glossed over or anything, it was such a tiny part of the book. A lot of time was spent with Jordan dealing with the aftermath of breaking up with her boyfriend of the past couple years, and then she obviously ends up starting to fall for one of the Sharps (I won’t say who though. You’ll have to read it to find out), and she had the tiniest flirtation with a girl–while she was masquerading as Julian, but that was basically it. Yes, I get that there are bisexuals who still prefer one gender over another, but I would have appreciated a bit more focus on that instead of spending so much time with Jordan suffering after her breakup with a not so great guy.

But I will say that there was a wonderful amount of diversity in this book: racial diversity, sexual diversity, religious diversity…it was great. The Sharps themselves were just all kinds of diverse and I adored it. They were so accepting and inclusive and just a great group of guys. And once you were a part of their group then they would defend you and protect you and help you. I loved that sense of brotherhood. I would totally read a sequel just to see how Jordan’s senior year with the Sharps turns out.

Where to Buy

You can pick up your own copy of Noteworthy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore.

Anything But Books Tag

Hey all, Dani here.

So, I found out about this tag from another blog I follow (rachaelrexds) and it sounded pretty fun so I figured I would just toss it into my blog schedule.

Name a cartoon that you love

I don’t watch many cartoons nowadays, so this is a bit tricky. As a kid I liked watching Scooby Doo, Peanuts/Charlie Brown, and later I enjoyed Kim Possible. Of course I did/do watch some anime, including Sailor Moon, Fullmetal Alchemist, and most recently FairyTale.

What is your favorite song right now?

Hmm…favorite song…well I suppose I’ll go with “My Shot” by Lin-Manuel Miranda…or maybe “Non-stop” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. At the moment the Hamilton soundtrack is my favorite album.

What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?

What I do for hours that isn’t reading is play Dungeons & Dragons. Of course I also sometimes spend time binge-watching TV shows.

What is something you love to do that your follows would be surprised by?

I actually really like going to hockey games. I have started to get pretty into it, wearing a jersey to the games and joining in on the yelling and cheering and chanting and everything. But I have to actually be at the game. Watching it on a TV screen just isn’t the same.

What is something unusual that you know how to do?

I’m an avid reader so I don’t know how unusual this is, but I am quite good at walking with my nose in a book and not running into anyone or anything.

Name something you made in the last year and show us if you can.

Wow, these are not the easiest of questions. Okay, well I do enjoy cooking and baking so I like to make cupcakes for friend’s birthdays and such. I have one friend who is obsessed with pumpkin spice lattes, so for his birthday I found a recipe for PSL cupcakes and made them for him. Everyone really seemed to enjoy them.

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What is your most recent personal project?

My most recent personal project(s) are trying to finish up the last couple chapters of my second book, Project Death: Revelation, and I’ve also been preparing for starting up my own channel on BookTube. I keep procrastinating on that because I’m nervous about it. I’ll get there at some point.

Tell us something that you think about often.

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about life and fate and choices and the future. Those are all topics that a person can get lost in quite easily; they are so expansive.

Give us something that is your favorite.

Let’s see, favorites…my favorite pizza is a Margherita pizza, my favorite food is probably pasta but I like a lot of foods so…, my favorite color is green, my favorite beverage is sweet tea, my favorite holiday is Halloween, my favorite season is fall/autumn, my favorite thing about myself is my mind/intelligence, and my current favorite tabletop game is Killer Bunnies.

Say the first thing that pops into your head.

I can’t say that because the first thing that pops in my head is books and this is the anything but books tag. But hey, it is Thursday so the next thing that pops in my head is Critical Role, which is a seriously awesome show that features a group of nerdy voice actors as they sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons.

Okay, well I guess that is all for this tag. If you’d like to do this yourself then consider yourself tagged. Oh, and if you do decide to do this tag, let me know because I’d love to check out your answers as well.

Review: ACOWAR by Sarah J Maas

Hey all, Dani here.

Yes, this review will be SPOILER FREE. Don’t worry fellow bookworms, I wouldn’t ruin a highly anticipated release like this one. I just didn’t want to wait too long before posting my thoughts and feelings on the book.

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Summary

A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars…maybe a 4.5 but I’m going to leave it at 5 for now. I’ll decide fully after a reread.

Okay, yes, I was looking forward to seeing how Feyre handled being back in the Spring Court, especially after how ACOMAF ended with us learning her new status as High Lady of the Night Court. But can I say that I was disappointed by how brief that segment of the book actually was? I wanted more in depth intrigue and psychological warfare basically.

I can also admit that I wanted the Spring Court segment to be over with so Feyre could be with Rhysand and all the others again. See, I can be torn in what I wanted to happen.

Again, I think side character development is one of Sarah J Maas’s strongest elements in storytelling. While I do appreciate Feyre and Rhysand, I found myself wanting to know more and more about Amren, Morrigan, Cassian, Nesta, Lucian, Azriel, and Elain.

In some parts I felt like this 700 page novel was taking its time with developing character relationships and growing the plot and such, but other times it felt like a somewhat hasty rush to get to something else. Nowhere did I feel this rush more than when getting to a nice steamy scene with Feyre and Rhysand. After the glory of ACOMAF I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by ACOWAR.

As we neared the end and the impending war loomed overhead, there were so many twists and turns and shifted allegiances or hidden motives that it was actually pretty impressive and propelled the story to its conclusion, which while it may wrap up the main story for Feyre and Rhys, we still have much more in the world to look forward to. I know I’m very much looking forward to the focus shifting to some of my favorite side characters. I truly hope it doesn’t disappoint.

Where to Buy

You can pick up your own copy of A Court of Wings and Ruin basically anywhere you can buy books. Seriously, I think grocery stores have it in their little book section. Of course you can always get a copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Review: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Hey all, Dani here.

Okay, fine, yes, I know I said some fantasy reviews would be coming, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to review this adorable contemporary romance. Will you forgive me if I say that this book involves geeky characters and a lot of the book centers around the fandom of a sci-fi TV show and its upcoming movie reboot? Oh, and there’s also a fandom convention in the book too. It was just such a good book. I have to gush about it, okay?

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Summary

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

This book was so cute! I loved it so much! First off, the cover is adorable, and the quality of the books pages, as well as the cute artwork on the inside of the cover and the title page is just wonderful. It is absolutely an adorable geeky modern take on Cinderella.

Elle and Darien and even Sage were such great characters. I really enjoyed watching the development of the characters and seeing them interact. Sage was a fantastic “fairy godmother” and I frankly would like to have a companion book or sequel that focuses on Sage. That would be really cool.

I love that this book showcases how a passionate fandom of a show reacts to a movie reboot of a beloved TV series. I related to it so much, because I have been one of those people with concerns when a new adaptation or a reboot is announced. You worry that the cast won’t be how you think of them, you worry that it just won’t feel the same, you worry that they will completely screw up the plot. So I greatly appreciate that Elle was one of those Starfield fans who really cared about the show.

I also really enjoyed that Darien was a fan of the show himself, and wanted the reboot to go well because he cared about Starfield and portraying the Carmindor the right way. I felt bad whenever people assumed that he wasn’t a true fan and that he would ruin the movie.

So basically this book really lets you feel for the characters. And obviously the plot pretty much follows the basic Cinderella story, so I don’t think I need to hash that out for you. But can I say that I loved that the ball was actually a cosplay masquerade ball at the convention? It was adorable and awesome.

Oh, and the fact that Sage and Elle worked in a food truck called The Magic Pumpkin? Come on, that is fantastic!

I could just gush on and on about this book, but I’ll just stop now by saying that you need to go and pick up this book. It is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year! It just made me feel so happy and the fangirl in me absolutely adored it.

Where to Buy

You can pick up your own copy of Geekerella from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

Review: No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista

Hey all, Dani here.

All right, I am trying to get back in the swing of regular book reviews here. We’ll see what happens. Right now I’m doing all right. Today I’m back with another review of a contemporary read that I finished up last month, but wanted to give a proper review, since I’m probably going to want to read and review the rest of the books too. For those of you who stop by here for more of my fantasy reads, I promise that some of those are coming soon. I’m reading and reviewing some of my current reads as I complete them.

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Summary

It’s all fun and parties until someone falls in love in this modern fairy tale from author Kate Evangelista.

Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father’s law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: They must not fall in love!

My Thoughts

Rating: 4 stars

Welcome to Dodge Cove, which basically is a split between the wealthy fashionable upper class and then the working poor lower class. When the story starts we are at a country club and Caleb is breaking up with his current girlfriend because she has gotten too attached, and his one rule is basically “no love allowed.” He prefers his relationships to be no strings attached.

Unfortunately for Caleb, his now ex-girlfriend is the daughter of his dad’s biggest legal client, which his dad sees as a problem. So if Caleb wants to keep his plan of having a gap year between high school and college, as well as having a nice trip across Europe, he has to intern at the law firm and attend all of the events held by the firm. Of course doing this solo would mean being thrown to the wolves, otherwise known as the mothers and grandmothers looking for a wealthy heir to set up with their own children/grandchildren.

This is where Didi, a former waitress from that same country club comes in. She is one of the last remaining young ladies in the area who Caleb hasn’t dated, and she jumps at the change to attend all these parties with Caleb…for a small price. She wants Caleb to pose for her so she can draw him. She’s even totally cool with the whole pretending to be his girlfriend thing.

Obviously, we already know that the two of them will actually fall for each other. My favorite characters in this book were actually Caleb’s cousins, Nathan and Natasha. Thankfully Nathan gets the second book in the trilogy and Natasha’s story is the final book.

The only problem I had with this book is that I felt like the plot of Didi’s mental health issues wasn’t as detailed and in depth as I felt it deserved. Yes it was explained that Didi had medications to take to deal with some of her issues, and later her mother said that Didi had bipolar disorder, but it was such a small part of the story that I personally felt as if it was basically glossed over.

I still really enjoyed the story though. Nathan giving Didi a wardrobe makeover was nice, and Didi finding a friendship with Natasha was really nice. It was a cute sweet summery contemporary romance that is perfect if you are looking for something that doesn’t get too serious or dark or anything like that. I am greatly looking forward to reading the sequel, No Holding Back. Also, the final book in the trilogy is out today so you can jump in and read the whole trilogy now. That’s pretty awesome. I’ll try and have reviews up for the rest of the trilogy as soon as I read them.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of No Love Allowed from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore.

Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Hey all, Dani here.

I read this last month, but I really wanted to write up a proper review for it, mostly because I have loved every single book I have read from Brigid Kemmerer. Seriously, I adored her Elemental series. This one is a bit different because there are no abilities or anything; this one is straight up contemporary. That doesn’t lessen the enjoyment I found in reading it though.

Okay, well let’s just jump into this, shall we?

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Summary

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

This book was so good. I love Brigid Kemmerer’s writing and I have been looking forward to this newest release because the concept sounded intriguing. It is a story of two teens connecting while sharing anonymous letters with each other. This story deals with grief, guilt, friendship, and secrets, and I was blown away by the characters and their tales.

I was actually pleased and surprised that it jumped into the letter exchange so quickly. But then it took me a little while to completely adjust to the story format, because almost after every letter (or later e-mail) sent, the perspective changes to the other person. So yes, this is a dual POV story.

The home lives of both of these characters are so different and yet they both share enough similarities that Juliet and Declan can connect through these anonymous exchanges. What is amusing is that basically right after this letter exchange begins, Juliet and Declan start randomly running into each other at school. The difference in their interactions in person from their interactions via the written word is quite vast, but nevertheless enjoyable.

When you start to read this, it is obvious that at some point one or both of them will figure out who their anonymous pen pal is, but when that revelation happens there are also so many other revelations happening that it becomes this whirlwind of details and secrets and lies. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t say more on the topic, but the nearer we got to the ending the more invested I was in the story. I needed answers and I wasn’t willing to put the book down until I got them.

And, I don’t know, maybe there is room for a sequel or a companion novel. I think I’d like to know more about Declan’s friend Rev.

Basically I really enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to seeing what Brigid Kemmerer will come up with next.

Where to Buy

You can pick up a copy of Letters to the Lost from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.