#Smutathon TBR | Round Two

#Smutathon is hosted by Lainey and Riley, AKA: my two faves! And this next round is starting tomorrow! You all know I love Romance and Erotic books, so I couldn’t resist participating again! And this rounds challenges? Perfection! ❤❄


➽ Enemies to Lovers


Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey


Friends Spouses with Benefits


The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare
Buddy read with Julie from Pages and Pens! ❤


➽ Fake Relationship


The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli
ARC – February 5th, 2019 by Berkley Books
Buddy read with Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills! ❤


➽ Slow Burn


Killing Sarai (In the Company of Killers #1) by J.A. Redmerski


➽ Forbidden


Wrong to Need You (Forbidden Hearts #2) by Alisha Rai


➽ Different Worlds


The Queen and the Cure (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #2) by Amy Harmon


➽ One Night Stand

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
ARC – January 29th 2019 by William Morrow
(This might be a stretch, but I need to get this read in  December! Shhhh!)



Okay, friends! That’s my TBR for #Smutathon! I’m not sure if I will be able to get to all of these, because I also have another buddy read for a fantasy book on the 14th, but I hope to get to many, because I am in such a romance mood! Please, let me know what you plan on reading if you are participating! And I’m wishing you happy reading always! ❤❄

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Down the TBR Hole #21

Down the TBR Hole was originally created by Lost in a Story! The point of it is to help cull your reading lists down, or maybe push higher anticipated releases up on your TBR! And maybe you all can help me along the way, and tell me if you’ve loved or hated any of these!


How it works:
➽ Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
➽ Order on ascending date added.
➽ Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
➽ Read the synopses of the books
➽ Decide: keep it or should it go?


The Six Books:

Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow #1) by Anthony Ryan
Petrik made me auto-buy this because he loved this book so much! So, I just know I’m going to love it too!
Verdict: Keep ✅

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This is like the biggest shame of my “Down the TBR Hole” life. I know I’m going to love this, and I can’t believe I haven’t read it!
Verdict: Keep ✅

The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare #1) by Lauren DeStefano
I got this from an OwlCrate, I want to say. But I just don’t think this is for me. Have you all read this? Did you enjoy?
Verdict: Delete ❌

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon
I read Outlander around this time in 2017 and really enjoyed, surprisingly. I do want to continue on with the series. Maybe I’ll do it before the year is up!
Verdict: Keep ✅

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
I really wanted to read this for Pride this year, but I just didn’t get around to it. But this book is beloved by so many, I can’t wait for when I finally do pick this one up!
Verdict: Keep ✅

Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle #3) by Jay Kristoff
Oh, I have the mightiest of needs for this one! I love Nevernight and Godsgrave so very much! Soon, soon, soon!
Verdict: Keep ✅


Okay, friends, these are the next oldest six books I have on my TBR! Let me know if you love, hate, and/or recommend me to read or trash any of these books! Thank you all so much, and I hope whatever you’re currently reading is five star worthy! ❄⛄

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The Queen’s Resistance (The Queen’s Rising, #2) by Rebecca Ross

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ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

1.) The Queen’s Rising ★★★★

“Crowning Isolde Kavanagh as the rightful queen was not the end of our rising. It was merely the beginning.”

The Queen’s Resistance is book two in Rebecca Ross’s debut series, which I think is so underhyped and so underappreciated! Seriously, friends, stop sleeping on this series. Because this is exactly the kind of YA fantasy that I’m always on the hunt for; amazing friendships, swoon-worthy romances, medieval setting, unique magic systems, and women coming into their power and embracing what has been taken from them by men who fear that power.

The Queen’s Rising focused on our main character, Brienna, at a school that helps young girls hone sought after specializations. And after graduating in one of these sought-after trades (art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge) you will work under a patron doing a vast array of different things with your skill set. But Brienna was sent to this boarding school so that she could go into hiding, because the blood that runs through her veins has made her quite the threat to the throne, and the world.

I honestly feel like I can’t say too much about The Queen’s Resistance, because it picks up very soon after the end events of The Queen’s Rising, and a lot of things went down. But I will say that Brienna is still very sought-after, but now she has a very strong found family that helps protect her, regardless of what her last name is. And even though the revolution is over, the rebuilding has just begun, and Brienna, and her family want to build something worthy of a legacy.

“If you were a storm, I would lie down and rest in your rain. If you were a river, I would drink from your currents. If you were a poem, I would never cease to read you.”

Cartier also gets his own point of view in this book, and his journey is also not an easy one because of his bloodline. But regardless of the bad things that have happened in his past, he always shows empathy and consideration in every situation. Seeing him and Brienna grow, and grow together, is so beautiful, and their strength and compassion really knows no bounds.

Found family is for sure the shining light of this beautiful tale, but this is also a book about becoming the person you want to be, regardless of the evil acts people have committed with the same last name as you. And this is a story about rising up, and being what you dream of being, not who people expect you to be on account of a last name that you never asked to have.

“Is it only blood that makes a House? Or is it beliefs? What holds people together more? The red in their veins or the fire in their hearts?”

Overall, I can’t wait to see what comes next in this world. I just fell so in love with these characters, and I want to protect them at all costs. Rebecca Ross’s writing is so lyrical and beautiful, and I really have become so attached to this entire world she has created. Again, this series is so underhyped, and this author has really blown me and my expectations away with this debut series.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for graphic torture, murder, death, loss of a loved one, abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, talk of past rape, sex trafficking, captivity, and slavery.

Buddy read with Lea at drumsofautumn! ❤

 

The Unrequited by Saffron A. Kent

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“It was beautiful and right. It was wrong and ugly, just like the earth beneath my feet. It was tragic and ecstatic. It was everything I’d hoped love could be.”

Okay, this book isn’t going to be for everyone and I completely get that. I will go into details below, but this book has grey area cheating and it is a student and teacher (college) relationship, but, good dear Lord, the sex in this was so fucking good. Like, maybe the best I’ve read all year. So, if you’re looking for something really naughty and really graphic, then look no further than The Unrequited.

Layla Robinson is all alone at college, living by herself in a dorm on campus that has construction going on below her top tower level. But Layla also feels alone and abandoned by her family, because she fell in love with her stepbrother, and only friend, and it really tore apart the family. Yet, Layla is still obsessed with him. But soon she will have a new obsession, and that is her poetry teacher that she keeps running into without him knowing. (Seriously, if you love the character Joe from You by Caroline Kepnes, then you are going to love Layla!) Also, Layla brings up pretty much every fucking Lana Del Rey song, but I’ll be honest, that’s what this book even reads like. She compares her professor to “Blue Jeans” and I swear to God, I feel like I could hear that song in the background while reading this entire story. Another thing is that the atmosphere of this book is perfect. Like, the snowy and winter setting was expertly done, and I really wasn’t expecting that going in. And it even enhances the Lana Del Rey vibes even more.

“Before this, I was Layla Robinson, crazy in love with her stepbrother. Now, I’m Layla Robinson, crushing on her poetry professor.”

But, okay, on to the poetry professor. Thomas Abrams is a new dad, but he and his wife are having a lot of problems. Thomas thinks it is because he was ignoring her, to work on his poetry, but he is now willing to do anything to make his marriage work… I mean, besides not having sex with a student. But he has moved back to the college town they met in and has taken up a job at the college where he meets Layla, and he claims that he is doing everything to try to make his wife fall in love with him again. You know, again, besides putting his dick in other women.

But Thomas and Layla bond over their mutual knowledge about their unrequited love, and their unforgettable loneliness. Yet, they recognize their chemistry together also, and after teasing each other nonstop, they eventually start having explosive sex. And like I said above, the sex is honestly 11/10, some of the best I’ve ever read, but a lot of sus things are going on.

Layla has a lot of mental health issues, and is completely and utterly unstable, but her character was one that I really loved. Again, she and her actions are totally unpredictable, but I felt like her character was just really realistically done (besides the tattoo, what the fuck even was that?). I’m not justifying her actions, and totally understand that most of them weren’t even close to being “morally good” or whatever, but they were hella believable and made for such an enthralling tale. From her stalking, to her obsessing, to her even just liking the way Thomas says her name, I loved it all.

“Firecrackers burst over my skin at the way he said my name. As far as I’m concerned, my name is average, but his voice, the movements of his tongue against his lips, make it special.”

And even though all this wild stuff is going on in the background, the real reason I’m giving this three stars is because I didn’t really like the ending. I just feel like both Layla and Thomas completely changed who they were as characters. I almost feel like the author didn’t really know how to end this really taboo and naughty story she created, so she tried to give it a fluffy romance ending and it just didn’t work for me, because it was so different than the entire rest of the vibe of this book. Plus, let’s be real, the character of Hadley was handled really not great, especially with Thomas “forcing” her to be a mother. Not every woman is put on this planet to be a mom, and that’s okay, but I feel like Hadley (for the most part) was really shown in a negative light because of her mental illness and her wants for her own life, and I really disliked it.

“We shouldn’t look for love stories where there are none to be found.”

Overall, I wanted a really sexy book and The Unrequited delivered that and more. Also, for the record, I don’t think the sex in this book is going to be for everyone, but it was very much for me. But if you’re on the kinky side, and like dominant partners, you should totally give this a try. Seriously, this is one of my new favorite forbidden romances of all time. I never wanted to put this story down, and I’m totally going to check out more by Saffron A. Kent.

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Content and trigger warnings for a BIG power imbalance because of a student and teacher relationship, cheating, depression, suicide attempt, talk of drinking and driving, talk of grey area consent in the past, stalking, peeping toms, underage drinking, and a lot of questionable mental health representation and discussion.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (ACSDAL #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

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ARC provided by Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review.

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a reimagining of Beauty and the Beast with a much darker theme. In this version, the Prince is forced to repeat the quest to find love over and over each season, while causing more and more bloodshed each time. But after three-hundred seasons, this season will officially be the very last one.

Harper – The Belle. Eighteen-years-old and from DC, before she is captured. But back home, she has a hard home life, living with her mother who has cancer and they can’t afford medical treatment, and a brother who is forced to pick up his father’s mantle to work for crime lords because he left his family in so much debt. Harper also has Cerebral Palsy, which I understand has very many different types on a spectrum, but she is high functioning. (Also, if you are an ownvoices reviewer, I would love to link your review and boost your voice on your feelings about the representation!) And besides Harper’s Cerebral Palsy representation, which is also at the heart of this book, her brother, Jake, is also queer and has the sweetest boyfriend, Noah, who is black.

Rhen – The Beast. But the dark themes I brought up above is that each season when a girl doesn’t fall in love with him, he turns into a different beast and kills whatever is in his way. And then a new season begins, and the curse starts all over again.

Grey – Rhen’s guard commander, and the only living person left at the castle with him. Not only is he a loyal friend to him, but he captures the girls and brings them back for him.

Lilith – The enchantress who has cast this spell on Rhen and his kingdom. I’ll be honest, this character very much reminded me of Ianthe from A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Freya – The shining star of the book, if I’m being honest. She has a child of her own but is also taking care of three of her sister’s children. I don’t know why I loved her so much, but she really was my favorite in the entire story. Give her a spin-off, please.

And these characters come together to set the stage and remake the story of Beauty and the Beast unlike any other. We get to see Harper decide if she wants to save a kingdom or her family and we get to see Rhen decide if he is worth saving. And even if this book was a little hard for me to get into at the start, I ended up really getting interested by the end.

There is a good discussion in this book about feeling responsible for things that you have no control over. Whether that be mistakes that your loved ones are making, deteriorating health of loved ones, or even just people doing bad things to you and the people you care about. Some things are really out of our control, and I liked the dissection of this in this book, because I think it is easy to feel responsible for things that sometimes really aren’t our faults.

“We are not always presented with the choices we want, but choices exist nonetheless.”

Overall, I didn’t love this or even enjoy it as much as I thought I would, but it did have a lot of things that I adore. Harper and Rhen do travel around his kingdom a lot, and I love me a good traveling story. Also, they frequent inns and taverns a lot, which is another thing that is so very much in my reading wheelhouse. But even though I completely understand that this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I just couldn’t get over the abduction plotline and even begin to really root for the romance in this book. I will say though that I was really surprised this wasn’t a standalone, even though it totally can be read that way, but maybe I will love the next installment more!

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for abduction, captivity, talk of cancer, loss of a loved one, murder, death, torture, abuse, a pedophile comment, attempted sexual assault, sexual assault (by Lilith), thoughts of suicide, and a lot of ableist speech (always in a negative light from the villain).

Buddy read with Julie, Amy, Chelsea, Jules, Jen, & Chelsea! ❤

Top Ten Tuesday | Atmospheric Books for the Cold and Snow

 

TopTenTuesday
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

Hey, friends! This week’s topic was more about holiday reads (I think), but I don’t read that many holiday themed books! Therefore, I kind of twisted this topic so that I could talk about the ten books that literally made me feel cold while reading. The atmosphere of all ten of these books are pure snowy perfection! (AKA: my west coast self is missing my east coast weather, here in the States!) But I hope you all enjoy! ❄


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) by C.S. Lewis

I mean, endless Winter! Need I say more? But you all should totally buddy read this with me and Julie – December 17th – 19th!


The Secret History by Donna Tartt

This book will forever haunt me with its words and its cold.


Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I only want to live in this Winter wonderland, forever.


Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Snow White meets Frozen, with even more snow.


Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead

Snow Lodges will forever be a setting I adore in books. Especially ones with Adrian Ivashkov staying in them, too!


The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

This Russian Wilderness completely covered me with its coldness, and gave me all the best chills.


The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

Give me all the frost from the Alaskan wilderness, because this book was perfection.


Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

This is actually my favorite classic of all time, and it is probably because of the perfect winter setting that’s completely unforgettable.


Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

My first review ever, but also will always be a memorable winter read.


The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden

Never, have I ever, felt more cold while reading a book. Katherine Arden’s words not only teleport me, but they wrap their chill around my entire body. This book is literally the perfect book for the colder season, wherever you live!


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My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

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ARC provided by the publisher via Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review.

“I wonder whether I’m single not because I haven’t met the right person yet, but because I’m not the right person yet.”

Okay, at this point I know I sound like a broken record, but Christina Lauren is such a hit or miss author for me. And I honestly feel like their releases alternate between me loving and me feeling “meh” about. Sadly, My Favorite Half-Night Stand ended up being a story that was very “meh” to me. It wasn’t believable, I was never really invested, and never in a million years would I want to date the main character.

So, the basic premise of this book is that there is a close-knit group of friends who all work sort of together. But they constantly hang out outside of the workplace, and they really are their own little found family. Oh, and they are all supposed to be super smart and super unlucky with dating. Yeah, it gave me Big Bang Theory vibes which is never a good sign. But anyways, they all need dates to this big event (which doesn’t even happen in the book, by the way) so they all download a dating app.

And this book does have a lot of multimedia, because we get to see these friends text and be in group chats with one another. But I will say, these people aren’t that much older than me, and really have a hard time understand basic internet lingo when they talk to each other. Real talk, my grandma memes better than these thirty-year-olds. But anyway, I should tell you all about the group of friends.

“…no matter how objectively pretty she is, Millie Morris has always been off-limits. But mostly I think she’s been off-limits because she’s never shown any particular interest in any of us.”

Basically, Millie helps all four dudes with their dating profiles. Including Reid, the guy who she considers her best friend, but who she slept with at the very beginning of this book. And basically, the guys don’t think that Millie’s profile is up to snuff, even though she literally wrote theirs for them. So, she makes another one, that’s more edgy and sexy or whatever, and she gets matched with Reid. And sends him something that she feels like will make it obvious that it is her, you know, instead of just telling him, and she basically catfishes him for the entirety of the book. And yikes, it was not enjoyable to read.

Millie’s actions are read apologetically because she has had a hard home-life growing up, and has essentially run away from it. She doesn’t talk to the guys about her past, or what is going on back home, but she feels like she can be open and honest with Reid while pretending to be this other woman. Which in and of itself is gross, but then later in the book, she actually reads what he has written to her aloud to other people. It is so gross, and I honestly disliked Millie throughout this entire book. Therefore, it was really hard for me to root for this relationship, because Reid deserved a hell of a lot better.

Overall, this just wasn’t for me. Which is actually funny, because Reid and I have similar jobs, which I was so damn hyped about when I first started this one. Sadly, that was the only thing I ended up being hyped about. And I’m so bitter that we didn’t get to see Obama in this, after this party announcement that was the reason the entire book premise started! Also, catfishing is never cool, but especially to your best friend and someone you’re having sex with. I will say that most of my friends who have also received ARCs of this one, have really loved it. So, maybe take this review with a grain of salt, but I just really didn’t like it. But I hope if you pick it up that you will enjoy it more than me! Happy reading!

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Content and trigger warnings for catfishing, loss of a loved one in the past, talk of cancer, diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, and some questionable comments about people’s physical appearance.