Top Ten Tuesday | Popular Books that Live Up to the Hype

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 is such a fun topic this week! I’m about to tell you about ten different books that I love with my whole entire heart and soul! And I think all of these books are so very deserving of the hype that has been placed upon them by the book community!


The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
This, to this very day, is my favorite book of all-time. Well, The Wise Man’s Fear actually is, but you get the idea. I have seen very few people dislike this series, but when they do it is mostly because they are upset about the wait for the third book. But this book is the closest thing to Harry Potter for me, and it will always and forever have a big piece of my heart. Perfection in my eyes.

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor
You all knew this was going to be on the list. Laini Taylor is the most magical writer in the entire world. The amount of love I have for this world and these characters is completely unreal. And Muse of Nightmares is just as amazing. I’ll forever and always recommend this duology.

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black
Okay, apparently, we are just getting all the favorites out of the way at the very start! Holly Black is an author that means so much to me. Her books are the reason I love fae stories so much, and The Cruel Prince is my favorite of her works yet. This book and The Wicked King are nothing short of masterpieces in my eyes.

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson
I know everyone hypes up Mistborn, which I also like, but The Stormlight Archives is truly the series of my heart. This is easily Brandon Sanderson’s best work in my opinion. And the characters in this book are some of my absolute favorite in all of literature.

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang
So, this is the newest book on this list, but it has been generating quite the buzz. And with good reason, because this is one of the best romances I’ve ever read. I truly believe that this is such a heartwarming summer read that will be perfect for anyone.

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
I always say that if Harry Potter was my childhood, then The Raven Cycle is my twenties, and I mean that. These books not only captured my heart, but teleport me each and every time I open one of them up. I know this is a really hyped series, but I do know some people that couldn’t get into it, but for the most part I think this is a series most readers would enjoy.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
I had a person tell me that you either will love either The Secret History or The Goldfinch, there is no in-between. I haven’t read The Goldfinch to confirm if this is true, but I loved The Secret History with every fiber of my being. This is still the most haunting book I’ve ever read.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
A classic? Right? Who am I? But I reread Jane Eyre this year, and it completely made me realize why it is one of the most beloved books in the entire world. I don’t love the romance like many, but I love the themes. I still can’t believe how much of a badass Charlotte Brontë was.

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1) by Josiah Bancroft
This one is probably the least popular on the list, but every friend I’ve ever had that has read this has loved this. I also think it’s one of the most popular independently published books, ever. (It did get picked up by Orbit this year!) This still is unlike anything I’ve ever read in my entire life. And if you’re a fantasy lover, you have to pick this one up!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I kind of think this is “the book” of Booktube right now. I’ve never seen anyone dislike it, and it feels like everyone talks about. I had so many friends that put this on their “best of 2017” lists last year, and I know it’s going to make so many other’s “Best of 2018” lists this year. I was a little apprehensive going into this one, because I wasn’t sure it would be worth the hype! But it is, it is so worth the praise, love, and hype.

Okay, loves, that’s it! I have given each and every one of these books five stars and I truly do recommend with my entire body! Please, add them all to your TBRs and pick them up! What book do you think is worth the hype? Please, tell me, I need a reason to read more backlist titles! And I hope you’re all having happy reading! 💛✨

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July 2018 Wrap Up

JulyWrapUpHello, my loves! July was a super slow and super quick month for me. Like, I just think 2018 is going by way too fast in general, but July seemed to be the month that not a lot happened. I mean, it was my Grandfather and Brother’s birthdays, but I wasn’t back in Michigan to celebrate. And besides that? I just worked, read, participated in #Smutathon, and went to one concert! Seriously, I live such an exciting life! But with all the downtime I was able to read 18 books! And five of those were favorites of all-time! So, that’s exciting right? 💗

But on to what I read in June…
Like always, you can click the links in each of the titles if you would like to read a more in-depth review of each book and see the individual trigger and content warnings.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – ★★★★★

“But I want you to know I can handle the truth. If I’m not enough for you, that’s fair and I accept it. I’ll get over you eventually. I don’t want to be coddled or lied to because of what I am. I don’t need your pity friendship”

This is an ownvoices novel about a high-functioning autistic woman who has succeeded in every aspect of her life, except for love. Her mother is putting pressure on her to find someone and start thinking about family, now that she turned thirty. Plus, Stella is kind of lonely anyway, and as much as she loves throwing herself into her work, she wants to spend her life with someone who she can completely be herself with. The problem is, Stella thinks her autism makes her unable to successfully date, and maybe even unable to be good at/enjoy sex. So, she hires the dreamiest escort to help her! And I loved it!

Grace and Fury (Untitled #1) by Tracy Banghart – ★★★

“Serina and Nomi were like any other daughters in the cold, industrial town of Lanos. But Serina had her beauty. And Nomi had her secret.”

Grace and Fury is a story about two sisters who feel like they are on the path toward the only future they can somewhat control. Yet that path gets so twisted and manipulated, so very quickly, right before their very eyes. Overall, I really did enjoy this. The first half was easily five star worthy. I might not have loved one of the sister’s point of view for the other half, but I still think this was a wonderful twist on the “princess locked away in the castle” kind of trope. And I can’t wait to see where the author takes this beautiful, feminist, story next.

Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor – ★★★★★

“I would have chosen you, if they had let me choose.”

I’m not sure another story will ever touch me like this duology has. My review doesn’t even do it justice, honestly. This is a once in a lifetime story that I will cherish for the rest of my life. This isn’t just a shining star in literature, but a glowing constellation over the world. If you haven’t picked up Strange the Dreamer, please do so, because I love this series with every bone in my body, with my heart, with my soul, with every fiber of my very being.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White – ★★★

“Some nights, when even my child’s heart knew that what I had been asked to endure was too much, I would stand on the edge of the lake, lift my face to the stars, and scream. Nothing ever called back. Even among the creeping things of the lake’s night, I was alone. Until Victor.”

Kiersten White wrote this book to honor the fact that 2018 is the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley! It has been ten years since I picked up Frankenstein, and even though I didn’t completely love this with my whole heart, Emily May’s review not only made me want to pick it up again this fall, but it also made me realize that I probably missed a ton of beautiful homages within these pages!

Foundryside (Founders #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett – ★★★

“Foundryside. The closest thing Sancia had to a home.”

The concepts in this book are so unique and creative; I loved them so very much! But some of the banter and conversations felt so dry, boring, and sometimes even offensive. Like, two of the main characters have completely captured my whole heart! The others? Meh. I do think this is worth it though, especially if you have enjoyed Robert Jackson Bennett’s other works! I just expected more, especially after the 6/5 star beginning of this book!

The King of Bourbon Street (NOLA Nights #1) by Thea de Salle – ★★★★

“You know that cliché about the best bottoms being the best tops.”

This was nothing short of a treat to read. It had me smiling, it had me laughing, and it had me happy from first to last page. Plus, this book was so damn sexy! And it had so much good representation that I’ll talk about lower in my review! But if you’re looking for a steamy romance read, that’s different than so much out there, I completely recommend picking this one up!

City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1) by Victoria Schwab – ★★★

“Once there was a woman, a beauty with fair skin and black hair, and a little boy who loved to wander.”

This is a middle grade novel that has such a perfect spooky atmosphere, and it’s set around scary places in Scotland. Like, sounds perfect, true? And, as always, Victoria’s writing is so very beautiful and lyrical. I think this will be such a fun fall read for so many readers. Yet, sadly, some elements just really didn’t work for me.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren – ★★★

“The world seems full of men who are initially infatuated by our eccentricities, but who ultimately expect them to be temporary.”

I really did enjoy this sweet friends to lovers story. I think this is for sure a perfect summertime read. Yet, again, some things (basically everything in the last 10%) just really didn’t work for me. Korean love interest named Jimin though!

Hideaway (Devil’s Night #2) by Penelope Douglas – DNF @ 58%

“Buried in the shadows of the city, there’s a hotel called The Pope. Ailing, empty, and dark—it sits abandoned and surrounded by a forgotten mystery.”

I’m just going to pretend that Corrupt is a standalone. You all, this is just awful. From the Japanese main character who constantly talks about dojos, to the constant grey area consent, to pedophilia and even incest. I can’t. I cannot do this. And I refuse to read a Damon redemption story for the next book. This is easily the worst thing I’ve read all year.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory – ★★★★

“I know, but Drew, you’re a white guy. Life is different for you. You were born with a benefit of the doubt that black kids never get.”

I loved so much about The Wedding Date! Like, oh my word, what a damn treat! Seriously friends, I know this cover screams Valentine’s Day, but this is the perfect summer read! Jasmine Guillory’s beautiful debut novel stars two people who take an elevator ride that will change their lives. And so many important topics of what it is like to be in an interracial relationship are woven masterfully into this story!

Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) by Fonda Lee – ★★★★★

“Family is duty. Magic is power. Honor is everything”

This was everything I wanted and more! I completely fell in love with Fonda Lee’s world, characters, and writing. And, like, give me all the Asian Mafia books, please. This was beyond words good, and I can’t wait for more!

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton – ★★★★★

“I fell in love with the forest. And the forest loved me back. And so we traded hearts. Mine is here, larger and stronger than it could have been in the small cavern of my body”

I’ve read over one-hundred books so far in 2018, and Strange Grace is easily my absolute favorite. And I anticipate that it will be my favorite book of 2018 come December 31st, too. What a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Literally perfection. A true gift to the literary world. Friends, if you’re looking for a spooky book, with a dark fairy-tale vibe, that heavily talks about society’s gender expectations, while being a love letter to gender fluidity, with the most heartwarming polyamorous relationship, look no further than this masterpiece.

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare – ★★

“A pair of werewolves occupied another booth. They were eating raw shanks of lamb and arguing about who would win in a fight: Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books or Magnus Bane.”

I didn’t love this one, but I did have fun while reading this. I mostly liked every scene without Jace being problematic (and incestuous), and I read it in under twenty-four hours! Yet, I do like this world! And I think that the whole topic of “downworlders” and how people can believe that others have “not as pure blood” is something that I think is still damn important to be talking about in 2018.

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3) by Cassandra Clare – ★★★

“People aren’t born good or bad. Maybe they’re born with tendencies either way, but it’s the way you live your life that matters.”

Overall, I am happy I read this trilogy, instead of just skipping it. I’m not sure if it was completely needed, but I hope that it will feel worth it. I also think this series holds up better than a lot of others that were published during the same time, Naruto references and all. I’ll be honest, this really is more of 2.5 star read for me, and I should probably bump it down to two stars, but I just enjoyed it so much more than City of Ashes that I’m going to bump it up to three. Also, Izzy and Simon deserve that star on their own, let’s be real. Okay, friends, I can’t wait to finally dive into Clockwork Angel!

Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons #2) by Marie Lu – ★★★★

“I can’t think of a story where the billionaire and the murderer end up happily ever after.”

I am not the biggest superhero fan, but I will admit I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Batman. And you all? I honestly loved this. Also, I’ve never read anything by Marie Lu before (I know, I can’t believe it either, honestly) but now I plan on devouring everything, because I completely connected with this writing style and I never wanted to put this book down.

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker – ★★★★★

“ What hold does Alaska have on them? What makes this place worth giving everything else up?”

I feel like this book was very catered to my personal tastes, and I’ll go into that more in the review, but The Simple Wild is currently my favorite romance of 2018. The writing, the setting, the messages, the romance? It was all perfect in my eyes. This was also my first KA Tucker book, but I promise that it won’t be my last. This book felt very personal to me, but I recommend it to everyone with my entire soul. And, friends, don’t waste your life on wishes; if you want something – go for it, always. Life is short, but it’s never too late to go after your dreams and fight for something you love. Love can be so messy and so complicated, but it’s always worth it.

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton – ★★★★

“We carry our home with us in our hearts, laden with hope. So much hope.”

Such an amazing book that had me crying all the happy tears, all the sad tears, and all the in-between tears. I feel like this ownvoices book, that Chanel Cleeton crafted, took a piece of my heart, and I’m fine living without it, because this book was such a work of art, inside and out. And this beautiful story is told in two different timelines from two different women.

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark – ★★★★★

“Because in New Orleans, you can’t survive on just dreams.”

This is an amazing novella that stars a young girl, Jacquelin AKA: Creeper, living in an alternative historical 1884 New Orleans. Oh, and Creeper also has an African orisha, Oya, living inside her and allowing her to tap into their powers. And even though Creeper is loved in New Orleans by so many people who loved her mother before she passed away, Creeper wants more than New Orleans is willing to give her.

A lot of my friends will do shout outs of posts that they enjoyed during the month! (And I’m always so damn honored and thankful when you pick mine!) So, I figured for the month of July I would touch on fifteen posts that I loved more than words and that I think you all should totally check out!

Elise’s Newest Book News 💖
Jamieson’s Diviners Series Review 💕
Lilly’s Book Haul 💓
Julianna’s How Being a Book Blogger Affects Their Reader Life 💘
May’s Mid-Year Goal Check In 💝
Jess & Silvia’s Meet the Blogger Post 💖
Kaleena’s Free Reading Spreadsheet 💕
Kelly’s talk about Influence of The Number of Books You Read 💓
Taylor’s Best Reads of 2018, So Far 💘
Dani’s Things She’s Learned Since Starting Blogging Post 💝
Vera’s Circe Review 💖
Sionna’s Amulet (The Stonekeeper) Review 💕
Lily’s Discussion on Why We Need (More) Confident Female Characters 💓
Justine’s Favorite Naked Hardcovers 💘
LaRonda’s 500 Follower Giveaway (Until August 3rd!) 💝

Okay, friends! That’s my July! I hope you all had an amazing month that was filled with favorite books! I know I gave a lot of three star ratings, but I can’t believe I read FIVE favorite all-time books this month: Muse of Nightmares, Strange Grace, The Kiss Quotient, The Simple Wild, and The Jade City! Like, damn! What blessings! But I hope you all have an amazing August! And don’t forget, you’re invited to buddy read The Traitor Baru Cormorant with me! ❤️

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July 2018 Book Haul

JulyBookHaulHey, friends! I’m currently writing this out right before I leave to go to a concert, very rushed, because the most scheduled person in the world (me, until this very moment) completely forgot! So, I love you all and I hope you enjoy this hot mess of a book haul, where I haul way too many books! 💕📖


Solitaire by Alice Oseman
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman – ★★★★★
I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman
Chamber of Secrets – 20th Anniversary Edition ( Gryffindor – Paperback) – ★★★★★
Chamber of Secrets – 20th Anniversary Edition ( Gryffindor – Hardback) – ★★★★★
Autoboyography by Christina Lauren – ★★★★★
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – ★★★★★


The Princess Trap (Dirty British Romance #1) by Talia Hibbert
Now I Rise (The Conqueror’s Saga #2) by Kiersten White
The Rehearsal Dinner (The Wedding From Hell #1) by J.R. Ward


The Sweetest Kind of Poison by Katie Wismer
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton – ★★★★
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
Bloody Rose (The Band #2) by Nicholas Eames
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
The Last Life of Prince Alastor (Prosper Redding #2) by Alexandra Bracken
Grace and Fury (Untitled #1) by Tracy Banghart – ★★★
All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover – ★★★
A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma
Never-Contented Things: A Novel of Faerie by Sarah Porter
Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor – ★★★★★
The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner


Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews
The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker – ★★★★★
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren – ★★★★★


The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala
The Cerulean by Amy Ewing
The Antidote by Shelley Sackier



Jade City (The Green Bone Saga #1) by Fonda Lee – ★★★★★

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Down the TBR Hole #4

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?

Friends, this is another super wacky combination, mixed with a little wishful thinking on my part. But please help me decide what to do, since maybe I’m just being a little negative this week with these books.

The Six Books:

Carry On (Simon Snow #1) by Rainbow Rowell
Gosh, I’m going to lose so many followers off this I bet, but I just can’t connect with Rainbow Rowell’s writing. I mean, I totally agree that I saw myself freshman year of college in Fangirl, but I still couldn’t fall in love with it. And now this book has so much hype because of the sequel announcement. Dang, you all, I just don’t think this is going to be for me. But please let me know if you honestly think I would enjoy this.
Verdict: Delete ❌

Stray (Shifters #1) by Rachel Vincent
The 2000’s PNR strikes again. You all, I really want your opinions on this one, because a lot of my friends love this freakin’ series. I actually feel quite reluctant to take it off my TBR.
Verdict: Delete ❌

エルフェンリート 1 (Elfen Lied #1) by Lynn Okamoto / 岡本倫
This is one of my little brother/best friend/weeb master’s favorite mangas and he always wants me to read it. I really do need to, because he never leads me astray and I love him so very much. And I hope he sees this and smiles, because I called him weeb master.
Verdict: Keep ✅

Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles #4.5) by Marissa Meyer
Oh my gosh, last week’s was Winter and now we have this. Okay, so this is staying on my TBR because I’ve already read like half of it, when the short stories were free, before this was a published bind up. But again, am I ever going to get to this? Who the hell knows!
Verdict: Keep ✅

Doors of Stone (The Kingkiller Chronicle #3) by Patrick Rothfuss
You all, I’m sick, and I’m never giving up hope each and every single year that this book is coming out. And the hope that it will be so worth the wait!
Verdict: Keep FOREVER! ✅✅✅

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
I desperately need to read this, and I fully expect to love this. Have you read this? Did you love this? Inquiring minds would like to know. (It me!)
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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My Birthday Buddy Read: The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Hey, friends! A month from today is my birthday, which means August is my birthday month! I originally wanted to do this special thing where I had all my Goodreads friends pick books they’d think I’d love, and then I’d spend the month reading them and crediting the people that gave me the recommendations! But life is just too chaotic at the moment for me. And honestly? I have way too many ARCS that I need to prioritize! (Which I completely know is the best problem to have, and I am so very privileged!) But I still wanted to do something with the community to celebrate my birthday, and I think the best way is to host a massive buddy read! Also, be on the lookout for me reading your recommendations month long (hopefully) in December! 💖

But the book I picked to buddy read is The Traitor Baru Cormorant (Baru Cormorant #1) by Seth Dickinson!

“The Traitor Baru Cormorant is an epic geopolitical fantasy about one woman’s mission to tear down an empire by learning how to rule it.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant is one of two books that I get recommended to me constantly! (Full disclosure, the other book is The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni #1) by Helene Wecker!) But I get this book recommended to me at least once a month, I swear! It’s also perfect timing because the sequel, The Monster Baru Cormorant, comes out October 30th, 2018!

And so many of my friends have loved this one, and if you’re on the fence you should check out some of their amazing reviews:
Mogsy @ Biblo Sanctum
Mary @
➽ Elizabeth @ Books and Pieces 

And the reading breakdown is going to be: 
August 21st – Up to page 57 (Chapters 1 – 3)
August 22nd – Up to page 125 (Chapters 4 – 9)
August 23rd – Up to page 182 (Chapters 10 – 14)
August 24th – Up to page 242 (Chapter 15 – 19)
August 25th – Up to page 294 (Chapters 20 – 23)
August 26th – Up to page 344 (Chapters 24 – 27)
August 27th – Finish! (August 27th is my actual birthday, so hopefully we can all celebrate by finishing and loving this book together!) Also, feel free to read less or more, I will just be honored to be reading with you, regardless of your desired speed!

I’m not sure how big of a group will want to birthday buddy read with me, especially because I know many of my friends have read this one! But I figured I can set up some kind of group chat, whether it is Twitter DMS or hashtag (like my friend Julie does), a Goodreads group, or a Discord channel! I guess I’ll see how the response is, and then plan accordingly! (And obviously let you guys know as soon as possible!)

Also, I don’t want anyone to feel pressured to participate in this! This is just a book I very much think I will love, and nothing would make me happier than buddy reading it with the community! But let me know if you’re interested, regardless if this is your first time reading this story, or even a reread! I would be honored to buddy read this with you, especially for my birthday! I hope you also all know how honored I am to be a part of this community that loves books and reading so unapologetically! You all bless my life every single day, and always make every day feel like it’s my birthday! 🍰💕

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💗 And because I know people will ask here is my Amazon Wishlist! But please don’t feel any pressure what-so-ever to buy me anything! I’d much rather buddy read with you all!

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

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

“Alexa Monroe walked into the Fairmont hotel in San Francisco that Thursday night wearing her favorite red heels…”

I loved so much about The Wedding Date! Like, oh my word, what a damn treat! Seriously friends, I know this cover screams Valentine’s Day, but this is the perfect summer read! Jasmine Guillory’s beautiful debut novel stars two people who take an elevator ride that will change their lives.

Drew Nichols – Pediatric Doctor from Los Angeles, white, and freaking out that he is in San Francisco to attend the wedding of his best friend to his ex, dateless. Oh, and Drew doesn’t do girlfriends.

Alexa Monroe – Lawyer, and now Berkley’s mayor’s chief of staff, black, and just trying to get to her sister’s hotel to celebrate her graduation. But Alexa is too busy with her career to risk her heart.

And while Drew and Alexa are stranded, and bonding over crackers and expensive cheese that Alexa had in her purse because she’s my damn idol, Drew realizes that Alexa might just make the perfect wedding date to the wedding he is dreading.

You all know this is a romance book, so you all know where this is going. And, Lord, it’s adorable. But you also know what it is? Important. Alexa constantly checks Drew on his privilege. And for the most part, he understands and learns from it. From Drew letting Alexa know if she is going to be the only black person at an event, to Drew realizing the different opportunities and free passes he had growing up just based off his skin color. This book has so much good inside it.

“White men hated it when you reminded them of their privilege”

This book also puts a spotlight on how important it is for us to work with underprivileged youth, especially from low-income areas. Not only was Alexa smart, beautiful, and successful, she also went the extra mile for what she was passionate about and what she believed in. Systemic oppression is real, and I loved how the author found a way to shine a light on it in a steamy romance book.

“I know, but Drew, you’re a white guy. Life is different for you. You were born with a benefit of the doubt that black kids never get.”

And even though I was completely living for this romance in every way possible, my only real “critique” of this book is that it has somewhat fade to black sex scenes that just kind of feel abrupt and disjointed. Like, the sexual angst, tension, and scenes are all there, but it just doesn’t feel as good getting a few sentences of what is happening and then *bam* they are back to doing whatever they were doing before, or whatever new activity after. This is honestly my only real complaint about this book. But this book is really sex positive, and I was here for that from start to finish!

The only other kind of side-eye I have going on is because Drew didn’t realize how amazing Alexa was right away. And sometimes it seemed like his friend Carlos was the best wing man in the entire world and deserved just as much credit as Drew! Also, side-note, The Proposal is about Carlos, Drew’s colleague and friend, and my heart is so damn happy.

Also, food is brought up constantly in this. Like, I was highkey hungry every time I picked this book up! In my opinion, I think this book is really food positive, too, but there is also a constant discussion about Alexa’s body in this book. And even though I think it’s super well done and empowering, I can also see how it could be triggering for some. Also, trigger and content warnings sexual content, for racist comments that are always challenged, and talk of disease diagnosis for a child (I know this is specific, but it’s one of two triggers that I personally have).

Overall, I loved this. And you know I’m always here for the fake dating trope done right! And Alexa was a treat to read about, and she deserves the entire world. Also, this is completely irrelevant and unprofessional, but Jasmine Guillory is honestly the cutest author in the damn world. Seeing her author picture at the end? Oh my word, what a confirmed angel! Also, I can’t wait to read the The Proposal and everything else this author creates, because The Wedding Date was such a blessing.

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

I’m read this for #smutathon, which is being hosted by Lainey and Riley! ❤

And this is a buddy read with Lilly at Lair of Books! ❤

The King of Bourbon Street (NOLA Nights, #1) by Thea de Salle

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“I want her, she wants me. I’m willing to see where it goes even if it’s only two weeks of fun.”

The King of Bourbon Street was nothing short of a treat to read. It had me smiling, it had me laughing, and it had me happy from first to last page. Plus, this book was so damn sexy! And it had so much good representation that I’ll talk about lower in my review! But if you’re looking for a steamy romance read, that’s different than so much out there, I completely recommend picking this one up!

Sol DuMont – 37 years old, hotel owner, who is still grieving the loss of his father, and is dealing with a divorce that is very fresh. He and his siblings split up responsibilities between all the different hotels, and Sol lives and works at the New Orleans location, where the community is still dealing with the impact of Hurricane Katrina. Sol is also into BDSM and is pan, bi, or some kind of MGA sexuality. Yet, finding a new romantic partner isn’t something that he plans to look for anytime soon.

“You know that cliché about the best bottoms being the best tops.”

Arianna/Rain Barrington – 24 years old, plus sized, socialite, doing everything in her power to get her way out of a relationship she never wanted to be a part of. Yet, the only way she can think of to break it off is a sex tape. She is also the youngest of many siblings, but one of them, Vaughn, takes her on a much-needed vacation to get away from it all, and their mother. And what better place than a certain hotel in New Orleans?

“Pretty blond men with tattoos were a dime a dozen in New Orleans, but jiggly blond girls spinning in circles and peppering corgi muzzles with kisses? Those were a rare breed.”

And obviously you all know this is a romance book, so these two’s paths inevitably cross. But when they cross it’s like a match to a flint box, because it gets hot as hell. Like, seriously, the sex in this book is very explicit and very abundant! So, if that’s not something you’re into, please use caution or maybe skip this one. Also, trigger and content warnings for drug use, grief, talk of loss of a loved one, talk of past sexual assault (unwanted touching/groping), and abusive parenting.

But if you are looking for a sexy read, this story has so much good in it! First off, Rain and Sol both have such amazing friendships with their siblings. You all know I’m a sucker for a good brother and sister relationship always, because my little brother is my best friend. And Vaughn reminded me so damn much of my brother. I also loved Sol’s friendships not only with his best friend and accountant, Cylin, but with his ex-wife Maddy! Give me all the books about people having healthy friendships with their exes, please! Seriously, I loved this element so much of the book.

I know I touched on this a tiny bit, but Maddy and Sol had a pretty serious BDSM relationship, so now Sol is slowly and sweetly trying to see if that would be something that Rain would also like. And even though Sol fills out the role of Dom so very well, he emphasizes asking for consent. And seriously, fam, in 2018, nothing is sexier in an erotic read than consent! But seriously, some of the things Sol did in this book? That boy can get it. 11/10.

“You could stay for a longer visit if you’d like. Two weeks isn’t enough time to fully appreciate you.”

I also really appreciated two things about Rain that I feel aren’t in too many books that I read. One, is that she had a toxic mother who not only abused their relationship, but was manipulative and controlling. Not everyone comes from perfect parents, and I just loved how realistic this felt, even though they are all millionaires. And I also loved the heavy emphasis on Rain’s tidying up (maybe OCD). I, too, must have things tidy in my house or even while traveling. Seeing Rain have to clean the counters after she applies her make up, or pick up and fold her clothes because she won’t be able to be calm and focus, is something that I really relate to. I just really appreciated that on a personal level. Like, I literally get out of bed and have to make it immediately or my whole day will be ruined and I won’t be able to relax or focus on anything in or outside my home.

Now, I only have two “negative” things to say about this novel. The first being one that might be something a lot of people won’t like, and that’s that this story is rather instalove-y. I do think it will well done, but I will not deny that it is instalove, and I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea! The second, and most important thing, is the cover of this book. Now, I won’t hold this against the author or the story what-so-ever, but look at the cover of this book. You’d never guess that this book is about a sexy, proud, and happy plus sized girl. Rain’s weight is something that’s constantly brought up and celebrated, but the cover model is legitimately nowhere near plus sized. If this book had a plus sized model (like it should) I would have picked it up earlier!

But those are my only two complaints about this book. I truly think this is a must read for all romance readers out there. It’s so damn heartwarming, too! And Rain and her corgi, Freckles, legit had me laughing out loud in bed. Her inner monologue is honestly perfection and so damn realistic.

“Her very own Prince Charming. Spanky, licky Prince Charming. Why, brain? Why?”

Overall, I just really loved this. From the body rep, to the sexuality rep, to the sex positivity, to the friendships, to the sibling relationships, to the New Orleans setting, to the sexiness; this book was easy to love! And I read the first chapter of The Queen of Dauphine Street, and it starts out with a w/w sex scene and I was so here for it. Give me all the pan and bi rep, please! Especially with BDSM and sex positivity being at the forefront! Like, it’s going to take all my willpower to not ignore my TBR and pick it up next!

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This is the July pick for the Book Hangover Book Club that Julie and Chelsea host! ❤

I’m also reading this for #smutathon, which is being hosted by Lainey and Riley! ❤

And this is a buddy read with Lilly at Lair of Books! ❤

Top Ten Tuesday | Buddy Read Memories


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, loves! This week’s topic is actually “Books with Sensory Reading Memories” but what better memories than the ones of when I look at a certain book and think of the friend I read it with. The only (amazing) problem is, I have too many friends! So, this week I am talking about fifteen different books that remind me of fifteen people who bless my life each and every day! 💖

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Buddy read with May! 💚

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden
Buddy read with Paloma! ❄

Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2) by Scott Reintgen
Buddy read with Lilly! 🚀

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Buddy read with Julie! 🌙

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas
Buddy read Kayla! 💕

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1) by Josiah Bancroft
Buddy read with Petrik! ❤

The Abyss Surrounds Us (TASU #1) by Emily Skrutskie
Buddy read with May! 🐢

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
Buddy read with Lily! 🎧

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Buddy read with Dani! 🧛

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
Buddy read with Elise! 🌸

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Buddy read with Kaleena! 🦄

Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber
Buddy read with Amy! ⭐

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
Buddy read with Caidyn! 🐦

Inkmistress (Of Fire and Stars 0.5) by Audrey Coulthurst
Buddy read with Jules! 🐉

Furyborn (Empirium #1) by Claire Legrand
Buddy read with Alexis! ⚔

Okay, loves! I hope you enjoyed! Also, all these people are so very lovely, and you should follow them on all their platforms! I buddy read with so many lovely people, but I really wanted to just showcase a few that I can’t help to think about when I pass a certain book on my shelves! Tell me a book that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy thinking about it! And I hope you’re all have the happiest of reading, loves! 💖

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Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2) by Laini Taylor

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1.) Strange the Dreamer ★★★★★

“I would have chosen you, if they had let me choose.”

Strange the Dreamer was my favorite book of 2017, and Muse of Nightmares is probably going to be my favorite book of 2018. These two books just bring so much love into my heart, and so much hope into my soul. I have no word combinations to ever begin to describe how much this book meant to me, or to do a review worthy of it, but I am going to try.

“Sarai had lived and breathed nightmares since she was six years old. For four thousand nights she had explored the dreamscapes of Weep, witnessing horrors and creating them. She was the Muse of Nightmares.”

Whenever I try to give a synopsis for Strange the Dreamer I always say it’s about a librarian who is in love with a lost city, and a girl who only wants to know what love is. Muse of Nightmares is a story all about love, and the different kinds of love that we will experience, and some that we will never experience, in our lifetime. The love between found families everywhere, between siblings both blood and not, between parents both distant and close, between lovers both new and old. And how all this love makes us choose actions that are both good and bad and all the things in-between. Love is truly the most complex force in the entire world, but when someone loves selflessly it can change everything. Sometimes we are unaware of how much power we have inside us, especially when that power is kindled from unconditional love.

“For fifteen years, the people of Weep had lived with the certainty that the monsters were dead, and Eril-Fane had lived with the burden of it…”

And this book picks right up after the harrowing events in Strange the Dreamer. So many of these characters, both blue and not, are dealing with a monumental amount of sorrow and grief. Lazlo, the librarian who has finally found the city that has taken over his heart and mind for his entire life, is going through the greatest amount of changes.

If Strange the Dreamer is about finding the lost city of Weep, Muse of Nightmares is about why no one can remember the city in the first place. We get so much background on so many different worlds, and we get to see them all thread together to create a universe truly unlike anything else. But beautiful and terrible things happen in the name of good and bad, and we get to see pivotal choices be made, that resulted in what happened to Weep.

“Skathis: god of beasts, king of horrors, daughter-stealer, city-crusher, monster of monsters, madman.”

Yet, Muse of Nightmares also introduces you to two new characters: Kora and Nova. They are sisters that were born long before the last Godspawn, but the two stories quickly entangle with each other. And their sisterhood, even though heartbreaking, is so damn beautiful. Laini Taylor really expands on not only this story, but this world and universe too! And you’ll quickly see how this can all be connected to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. And even though this was the final book in this duology, I believe Laini has so much more in store for us.

I’ve been reading stories for over two decades and, in my opinion, Laini Taylor is the best storyteller I’ve ever read. Her words have such a magical impact on me, and I honestly think she has to be a little supernatural to weave words the way she does. (I’m secretly hoping she is fae!) You can just feel so much emotion while reading her passages, like she truly pours every ounce of herself into the words she uses, and I truly think there isn’t another human on earth who can do what she does. The word “beautiful” doesn’t even do her prose justice, so I’ll just say that it’s completely magical, so very immersive, and totally enthralling. She is easily my favorite author of all time.

“The gods had been dead for fifteen years, after all, but their hate had lingered, and ruled in their stead.”

I can’t even believe I’m typing this paragraph, but this book also heavily deals with children in cages, which is something that I truly, with my entire being, wish was only in fiction. Sadly, it’s not. Some of the scenes in this book were a little harder than most, just because of what is going on in 2018, so please be warned going in. Also, trigger and content warnings for war themes, death, torture, graphic blood depictions, slavery, human trafficking, a lot of talk of implied past rape, rape, extreme parental abuse, child abuse, thoughts of suicide, suicide, PTSD, grief, trauma, and sexual content.

Trauma and grief, and how each person deals with those two things very differently, plays a huge role in this book. Yet, this story is a love letter to how we don’t have to be the mistakes of our ancestors. We can change, we can do things differently, and that it’s never too late. And vengeance will always be a driving factor, but you’ll soon realize that nothing, not even redemption, will lessen the feeling of loss. The only thing that can heal is love, but that’s a lesson that is so very hard to learn at times.

“Once upon a time, a sister made a vow she didn’t know how to break, and it broke her instead. Once upon a time, a girl did the impossible, but she did it just a little too late.”

Overall, I’m not sure another story will ever touch me like this duology has. My review doesn’t even do it justice, honestly. This is a once in a lifetime story that I will cherish for the rest of my life. This isn’t just a shining star in literature, but a glowing constellation over the world. If you haven’t picked up Strange the Dreamer, please do so, because I love this series with every bone in my body, with my heart, with my soul, with every fiber of my very being. And remember, it is never too late to start over, and it’s never too late to do good.

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

(Forever thankful for Arys, for trading me an ARC of what I’m sure will be my favorite book of 2018! You will never know how much this means to me, but I promise I’ll cherish this ARC forever. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart and soul, thank you!💖)

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

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ARC provided by Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.

“The world seems full of men who are initially infatuated by our eccentricities, but who ultimately expect them to be temporary.”

Most of you know that I’m a pretty big fan of Christina Lauren! Autoboyography is now one of my favorite books of all-time. And friends, I really enjoyed this book and it made me so unreasonably happy! Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is set in Oregon and is honestly one of the cutest friends to lovers stories I’ve read in such a long while. I honestly never wanted this book to be over.

Hazel – Teacher, the quirkiest character I’ve ever read, but I mean that in a good way, and has finally reunited with a guy who she has embarrassed herself around for the past almost decade.

Josh/Jimin – Doctor, Korean (Yeah, named Jimin, smart marketing because BTS Armies are going to love him with their whole heart), and currently in a long distance relationship that isn’t working.

And these two’s paths have constantly crossed since college, but fate has truly brought them together when Hazel attends her best friend’s BBQ, only to realize that Josh is the guy who she has embarrassed herself around since college. But after that BBQ, they decided to be friends and it leads to them going on a lot of double dates, which are all mostly bad.

There is a constant theme of family in this book, both from Hazel and Josh’s side, and I loved it so much. Hazel’s relationship with her mother was so inspiring, and I loved how they loved each other unconditionally. Josh is from a much more traditional background, but the love is so there and so very abundant. Seriously, both of these families warmed my damn heart and it was easily one of my favorite parts of this book.

I also really loved how Hazel wouldn’t change herself for anyone. And I think this book does a really good job at showing you how most people are pretty negative about anyone being too loud, too weird, and too different than the standards society puts on us. This isn’t like the typical “oh, the girl is quirky and cute” but this is the more realistic and sad treatment of people who live their life to the beat of their own drum. And seeing Hazel (and Josh) always speak up if anyone was negative or judgmental, was really beautiful. Because, like, who the hell wants to be normal anyways?

“I have chaos around me, but it’s like he doesn’t even care. He doesn’t need me to change or pretend to be someone else. He’s my person. He’s my best friend.”

This book was actually funny, too! Like, I was giggling alone in bed while reading at least a third of this book. Hazel is one of the most fun protagonists I’ve read about, and she and her animals had me laughing constantly. And all the dates? So freakin’ funny! I honestly could perfectly picture this book, and I actually think it would make for a fantastic romcom movie adaptation.

But this book does have a lot of steamy scenes, so trigger and content warnings for sexual content, talk of past death of a loved one, cheating (off-screen and not main characters), and a homophobic slur.

And out of all these trigger warnings, I want to talk more about the homophobic slur, because it was so damn pointless. I mean, it was said in a negative light, but it wasn’t necessarily challenged. Like, it felt so bad to read and took me completely out of the story. These authors could have just as easily said “he said a rude thing” or hell, even “he said a homophobic slur” without actually using the word. Like, I hated it so much and it was easily the worst part of this book.

The only other negative thing I’ll say is that the ending felt rushed. Like, we spend so much time watching these two people become friends, and the romance and love has to come rather quickly. Which I get, and I don’t mind that much, but I was still shocked with how the last few chapters went and then I got hit with the word “epilogue” and it felt so abrupt. Also, this book is 95% light, cute, and heartwarming, and then it just takes a really dark turn during the last tiny bit, and it just felt very disjointed.

“You’re second only to a unicorn as far as best friends go, Josh Im.”

But overall, I really did enjoy this sweet friends to lovers story. I think this is for sure a perfect summertime read. Oh, and even though it has a cover that looks very much like Roomies, these worlds and stories are not connected what so ever. So, don’t be scared or think you have to read Roomies first! But I totally recommend this one, and I hope if you pick this one up, that you’ll enjoy it so very much, too! Happy reading!

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

I’m reading this for #smutathon, which is being hosted by Lainey and Riley! ❤

And this is a buddy read with Lilly at Lair of books!