Top Ten Tuesday | My Favorite Booktubers

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! Like many people in the book community, I consume a whole lot of Booktube! I love that this week’s topic is all about giving back to the community and putting a spotlight on other people that do so much to make the book world a much better place! So, needless to say, I couldn’t only pick ten! So here are my thirty favorite Booktubers of all-time! You should watch, (hopefully fall in love,) subscribe, and follow all of them! 💗


➽ Adriana @ perpetualpages

 Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


➽ Frankie @ Frankie Reads

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➽ Julie @ Pages and Pens

 Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


➽ Sylwia @ Wish Fulfillment

 Goodreads | Twitter | Wishlist


➽ Joce @ squibblesreads

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


➽ Emily @ Possibly Literate

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➽ Farah @ A Booktube Book

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➽ Christina Marie @ Christina Marie

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➽ Brandi @ Brandi Janee’s Bookshelf

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➽ Chelsea @ chelseadolling reads

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➽ Alexis @ The Sloth Reader

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➽ Steph @ Stephs Rom Book Talk

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➽ Lainey @ gingerreadslainey

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➽ Riley @ Riley Marie

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➽ Spence @ Common Spence

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➽ Lea @ drumsofautumn

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➽ Connor @ Connor O’Brien

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➽ Elise @ thebookishactress

 Goodreads | Twitter |Blog


➽ Marines @ mynameismarines

Goodreads | Twitter | Podcast


➽ Kav @ xreadingsolacex

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➽ Sam @ Sam’s Nonsense

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➽ Samm @ Sassenach the Book Wizard

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➽ Gabby @ gabbyreads

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➽ Stephanie @ Wickedjr89 and Books

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➽ Madalyn @ Novel Ink

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


➽ Allie @ alliembooks

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


➽ Monica @ shemightbemonica

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


➽ Jocelyn @ yogi with a book

Goodreads | Twitter


➽ Chelsea @ Chelsea Palmer

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


➽ Jen @ Book Syrup

Goodreads | Twitter | Website


Okay, my loves! I hope you enjoyed! Seriously, these thirty people are putting in and doing the Lord’s work every single day. I not only love to watch them, I admire them. And I’m forever thankful for everything they do for this community! Who is your favorite booktuber? Let me know! And I hope you’re all having the happiest of reading!

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In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children #4) by Seanan McGuire

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ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review.

1.) Every Heart a Doorway ★★★★★
2.) Down Among the Sticks and Bones ★★★★★
3.) Beneath the Sugar Sky ★★★★★

“Death wasn’t fair value for anything…”

In An Absent Dream stars Katherine Lundy, the therapist who leads the group sessions in Every Heart a Doorway. She is Eleanor’s second in command, and claims to be eighty-years-old, despite only looking around eight. And this is her story, about her time in her world, the goblin market. And, friends, this might be my favorite book in the entire series so far.

“She had been able to find a doorway and disappear into an adventure, instead of living in a world that told her, day after day after grinding, demoralizing day, that adventures were only for boys; that girls had better things to worry about, like making sure those same boys had a safe harbor to come home to.”

Lundy is only six years old when she realizes that her entire life is going to be planned for her. She is going to be quiet, and studious, and keep to herself, and maybe one day she will be a librarian (because she loves books), and then become a wife and a mother. I mean, this is the dream, right? It’s for sure her parent’s dream for her. But even at six, Lundy knows this isn’t the life she wants, even if it is the life that is expected of her. And one day, Lundy finds a door, her door, and it completely changes her life.

Rule One – Ask for nothing
Rule Two – Names have power
Rule Three – Always give fair value

And in the goblin market Lundy learns so very much about herself and who she truly wants to become. And Lundy is also able to travel back and forth between the market and home throughout this glimpse into her life. There is a such a beautiful theme of the power of love between siblings, both found and blood, and that thread is carried through for each visit. Lundy, Moon, and Diana each have a piece of my heart that I won’t ever get back, and I’m a better person because of it. Friends, I loved this. It’s a magical masterpiece and a perfect addition to this series that Seanan has given book lovers everywhere. I know the release date isn’t until January 8th, 2019, but preorder this now. Trust me.

Each and every book in this series is not only expertly crafted, but also the theme will be hard hitting and impactful. Every Heart a Doorway is about asexuality and realizing how important it is to surround yourself with people who unconditionally love and accept you, all of you, because you’re worthy of it. Down Among the Sticks and Bones is about gender norms and stereotypes that the world horribly puts onto us, and how it’s a horrible cycle that never stops. Beneath the Sugar Sky is about loving yourself and no matter what your body looks like, that it’s perfect; fat, skinny, with scars, with hair, with modifications so that you can be the person that you want to be. And In An Absent Dream is about how we live in a world that has completely lost the meaning of what is fair and what is just and what is right.

Like, the price of peanut butter, something that I buy constantly, is $4.00 at my local supermarket. $4.00 for protein filled goodness that my mouth and the rest of my body loves to consume. But spending $4.00 on something when I have $100 dollars in my purse is a lot different than if I was spending $4.00 if I had $5 in my purse. And this is such an easy to see concept, but so many humans fail to see that tremendous difference. People want to condemn others for being lazy, or uneducated, or whatever else gross thing they want to say when they refuse to check their privileges (that they have mostly received from just simply being born), but the simple matter is that this isn’t fair. Jeff Bezos’ kids walking into Walmart and buying food isn’t the same as an underprivileged kid in Flint, whose family is on a fixed income (and still forced to buy their own bottled water), walking into Walmart to try to buy groceries for their family. But no matter how easy that is to see, I can’t teach people to have empathy. We all need to do better, and we need to change this obviously broken system.

“That’s because you don’t know what fairness means. You’ve been in a place that wasn’t fair for so long that the things we’d been trying to teach you have been driven back into the shadows.”

Just, be good humans, friends. Try to learn, try to do better, try to break these gross cycles that reinforce these gross entitled mindsets. And read Seanan McGuire’s books, which not only are such amazing escapism works of art, but they beautifully shed light on all these important topics that a lot of people wish to keep ignoring. And maybe, just maybe, we will one day live in a world where we don’t need a goblin market to remind us to be fair to other humans. But I hope that world is also filled with more books from this once in a lifetime series.

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

Trigger and content warnings loss of a loved one, death, abandonment, and one quick scene with parental physical abuse (slapping of a child).

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

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★

Friends, I did it! I read the whole trilogy! Over a decade late, but aren’t you proud? And more importantly, I can finally move on to TID with Clockwork Angel! And I am so hyped, because I know this is the start of the series that you all really love! And I hope I do, too! And I got really excited seeing some names that I’ve vaguely seen you all scream about!

“Each tomb looked like a little house; some even had metal or wire gates, and the names of Shadowhunter families were carved over the doors. CARTWRIGHT. MERRYWEATHER. HIGHTOWER. BLACKWELL. MIDWINTER. She stopped at one: HERONDALE.”

City of Glass has the cast whisked away (some easily, some not so easily) to the City of Glass, AKA: Idris, which is the Shadowhunter’s home country! Valentine may or may not have started to build a demon army, and the gang hopes that they can get the council to listen to them. Oh, and Clary is desperate to save her mom, and is willing to do anything to wake her up. Because while her mother sleeps, she is also locking away many secrets.

“My mom got the spell that put her in this state from a warlock—Ragnor Fell. Madeleine says we need to track him down if we want to know how to reverse the spell.”

Okay, so going into this series, I knew very few spoilers. And I was very surprised when the Jace and Clary “dilemma” came up, just because I had never heard anyone mention in. Therefore, I also thought it would be a quick fix. Okay, so the “reveal” is at the very end of City of Bones, but the mentality and thought lasts until 80% into this third book! I couldn’t believe it! And even though I knew (and hoped and prayed) that you all wouldn’t lead me astray and that the “twist” wouldn’t be true, it still took a lot of enjoyment out of this book for me, because for the most part, Jace and Clary thought it was real. Also, Jace and Clary both do and say a lot of problematic shit, that has nothing to do with the way they feel about each other. Jace especially.

“Jace knew he was being cruel, and he barely cared. Hurting people he loved was almost as good as hurting himself when he was in this kind of mood.”

Okay, so I’ve broken down the characters in the other two reviews I’ve done for this series, so I figured I’d just keep doing it. (Especially because these reviews are probably boring because everyone but me read them ten-years-ago!) And like always, I have a lot of feelings.

Clary – Clary is just a bland main character. I don’t love her as much as others. I don’t hate her as much as others. I honestly just feel neutral towards her, but I still say that she is rather forgettable. Which is sad, since I suppose she is the star. But I think the shining light of all three books has been the side characters.

Jace – Jace legit is the worst part of this book, too. Which, he is the second leading character, so, also probably a bad sign. But he’s just miserable to read about because he doesn’t care about “the situation” where Clary at least tries to not be… gross about it. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, he legit screams at Clary in this book and says some pretty abusive and hurtful things. Like, I just honestly don’t like Jace. I’m sorry. But it’s the truth. Probably my least favorite character, including the villains.

Simon – Okay, so Simon completely won me over and captured my heart and soul during this book. I honestly loved everything about it. And I think that’s mostly because…

Isabelle – …I am about to go down on the ship of Isabelle and Simon. Like, you all, I love their chemistry and their entire dynamic. And Isabelle is my favorite character of any of these books so far, so I just am going to put her happiness first always and forever. Thanks.

Magnus – Magnus is also my favorite. And I don’t want to give Cassandra Clare too much credit (I seriously can’t get over the incest, I’m sorry), but I think she did a really amazing job with creating Magnus Bane. All my friends are obsessed with him, I’m obsessed with him, and I think he’s such a bright shining light in 2000’s literature.

Alec – I feel like I like Alec more and more each book. Probably because of Magnus, but still! And the end of this book? Not that anyone should ever feel any pressure to come out, but the end of this book just made me really happy.

Max – Like, I’m still shook.

Luke – I was living for Luke in this entire book. Like, I instantly loved his character, and I just grow to like him more and more each book. Also, he deserves all the love and happiness in the world.

Jocelyn – I actually do like Clary’s mom. I wish she would have been awake and present for more of this trilogy. And I do think it was a little deus ex machina how she shows up, bearing all the information that we needed so long ago. But I still enjoyed her and her character.

Amatis – Luke’s sister is honestly my new favorite, too! Like, maybe I’m too old to be reading these for the first time, and I’m just connecting with all the (way older than me) adults, because I can’t connect with these teenagers? But regardless, Amatis has been through so much, but I love her already. Amazing new addition to the cast!

Maia – Maia wasn’t in this book that much, but I still really like what I did see of her. And I’m saying this while knowing she is going to be a point of a triangle that I’m not ready to think about.

Samuel – IS THIS DUDE… PURPLE?

Person in the cell next to Simon – Like, I actually loved this twist and was so here for it. Until, someone ruined it. But still, I was living for it. Big fan.

Seelie Queen – Like, Clary is going to regret that power move of an epilogue.

Aline – Um… is this new character Asian and queer? Because, I think she is, and I think I’m head over heels in love with her already.

Sebastian – A little obvious, but still a fun twist and character I honestly really enjoyed following.

Valentine – Like, I enjoyed Valentine a lot in this one. I think he was way less “mustache twirling” villain in this book. And I loved the portrayal on how people can be awful humans, but they are still capable of doing good things. We all have good and bad inside us, and Valentine is a good example of what happens when you do more bad than good. I don’t know, maybe I’m getting soft, but I liked him as the villain of this book.

“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.”

Trigger and content warnings for murder, death, incestuous thoughts and resulting actions, torture, medical experimentations, captivity, abandonment, talk of thoughts of suicide, suicide, and war themes.

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!


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Down the TBR Hole #6

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 a damn mixture of genres and books today! Holy moly! Like always, please let me know how you all feel about these six books! I always need help when culling or boosting the TBR!

The Six Books:

Three Simple Rules (Blindfold Club #1) by Nikki Sloane
I believe someone told me once that this was the sexiest book they have ever read. But, like, I’ve had it on my TBR for almost three years now, so I must not be craving it that badly. Also, sus cover is sus.
Verdict: Delete ❌

Fairy Tail, Vol. 1 (Fairy Tail #1) by Hiro Mashima
A few of my offline friends are obsessed with this manga and anime. I actually am not sure why I haven’t read or watched yet, because guilds and guild hall settings are totally my kink. So, I think I really need to boost this one up on my TBR!
Verdict: Keep ✅

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Like, I’m just trying to be realistic here. Am I ever really going to read this? Really? Truly? I mean, I love Hamilton as much as the next person, but I really am not sure if I will ever pick this up. I do own it though. So friends, please help me!
Verdict: Delete ❌

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch
Yeah, this is shameful. So many so my SFF blogger friends love this more than words. I know that I should have picked it up by now. Have you all read this one?
Verdict: Keep ✅

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling
I know I said this in an early Down the TBR post, but JK Rowling is just making it harder and harder for me to pick up her non Harry Potter stuff. Hell, she’s making it hard enough to pick up her actual Harry Potter stuff. I think that I would probably enjoy this, and I do own it, but I just think I have a lot more on my TBR that I’d rather read.
Verdict: Delete ❌

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
So many people with similar reading tastes as myself completely love this book. There is no way in heck I’m taking it off my TBR! But I am very curious if any of you have read it and, if so, how you felt about it!
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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Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

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ARC provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review.

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

Next Year in Havana is 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.

Elisa – Who is living in 1958 Havana, which is constantly unsafe. Elisa has lived a more privileged life than most, because her family is wealthy, and her father works under the current president, Batista. But the people aren’t happy, and Fidel Castro and his revolutionary followers are on the rise. No one is safe, and Elisa realizes very quickly that her heart isn’t safe either.

Marisol – Who is living in 2017 Miami, but currently taking a trip to Havana to lay Elisa’s ashes to rest, in the city that always had her heart. Even after being forced to leave so many years ago. Marisol sees first hand that impact that Fidel Castro has left on Cuba when her grandmother and her family were forced to flee.

“Love feels like a luxury in a world where so many struggle for the basic things I take for granted.”

And each timeline follows a different heart-wrenching and heart-mending romance. And these two stories interweave together to create something more beautiful than I have words for. I was so addicted, and I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

This book is also so atmospheric. I felt like I was alongside both of these girls in Cuba. And I could feel the sad, heartbreaking reality of what Cuba was like in 1950, and what it is still like in almost 2020. I was born and raised in the United States, and it just made me even more aware of my privilege. It also made me side-eye my country a bit more than usual, too.

“The Americans preach liberty, and freedom, and democracy at home, and practice tyranny throughout the rest of the world.”

And one of my favorite aspects of this book was Marisol bringing up her thoughts and feelings about being biracial and feeling equal parts like an outsider and like at home while she is in Cuba. I’m a lot more white passing than Marisol, but the things she deals with and feels when she travels to Cuba, is something so real and something so very close to my Filipina heart.

“My grandparents are Cuban, my father Cuban, therefore I am Cuban. But will it matter here that my skin is lighter than many of the country’s citizens, that my blood is not fully Cuban? Am I an outsider here or is the ancestry I claim enough?”

I also loved how this book celebrates all the different types of love we will have during our lifetime. Love that we will never forget. Love from second chances at love that will make us feel whole again. Love between friends who will never forget us. Love between people who are family, no matter the blood that runs through our veins. Love for a country that never loved back.

Okay, so this book was amazing, but I did have two minor things that were the reason I didn’t give this five stars. The first being, it was very predictable to me. I mean, that didn’t stop all the tears from coming, but I knew where this was going as soon as Elisa snuck out with her sisters. The next being Elisa’s father/Marisol’s grandpa. Like, damn, I understand why, but what a dick. And I personally always really dislike the “miscommunication” trope, even though I loved this book with my whole heart.

“When you love something you don’t count the cost.”

And overall, I recommend this book to any and every book lover. And I think this was such a wonderful pick for Reese’s book club! And I cannot wait to see where Chanel Cleeton takes Beatriz’s story in When We Left Cuba in 2019!


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Trigger and content warnings for loss of a loved one, abandonment, and war themes. Also, off-screen captivity, torture, and murder.

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

If you would have told little kid bookworm Melanie that Berkley would one day send her a book because it’s July’s pick for Reese Witherspoon’s future book club, she would not have believed you. (And probably ran, because I was a paranoid kid and I would have thought you were a kidnapper, but still!) 💕

WHO AM I? BOOK TAG | The Great American Read by PBS

This Book Tag was started by PBS Digital Studios in conjunction with The Great American Read. Submit your vote for America’s favorite novel here (Voting is U.S. Only): Vote here!


If your life were a book genre, what would it be?
I mean, as much as I want to say fantasy, you know I’d be a boring contemporary! But like, I could totally make it a romance, depending the night!


What villain from a book do you identify with the most?
This is such a hard question, but I guess I’ll go with The Darkling from The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, because 1.) I’m a very passionate person, like him! 2.) I always stand up for what I believe is right, like him! 3.) I like to make girls swoon, like him!


What protagonist are you most similar to?
I’d have to say a mix of Senna from Tarryn Fisher’s Mud Vein, Leigh from Emily XR Pan The Astonishing Color of After, and Holo from Isuna Hasekura’s Spice and Wolf!


Which book did you connect with in the past that you no longer do?
Gosh, I feel like this is such a hard question, because I connect so much with my past. But I guess I’ll say the Goosebumps books by RL Stine, just because I was so obsessed with them when I was a little kid, but I never even read anything remotely scary now as an adult.


What recent book read would you love to be a character in?
I’m going to go with Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, because I would love to live in the hidden away, winter mountain kingdom, ruled by the Staryk King! I would say Holly Black’s fae lands, but (let’s be real) I probably wouldn’t last a minute! So, snowy elves it is!


How do your reading habits show off your personality?
I suppose I will say that my reading habits really showcase how dedicated I am. I rarely DNF a book, and I rarely will give up on anything in life. I know that’s not the healthiest of ways to live (in books and in real life) but it’s something that I think really mirrors each other. Also, something I need to continue to work on!


What book taught you something about yourself?
I feel like I used this every single time, but it’s the damn truth: Black Iris by Elliot Wake, because it was the book that made me realize that I was pansexual, and it completely changed my life! 💖💛💙


And if this looks like a tag you’d like to do: consider yourself tagged! Also, here is some more information about this tag and why it was created! I completely encourage you all to go vote! My biased self has been voting for Harry Potter every day! Happy reading, friends!


PHASE ONE
Beginning currently through October 18, 2018 at midnight PT, there are two methods of voting, which include:
• By using the voting app on The Great American Read website. You’ll have to register before your first vote, using either your email address or a Facebook login, but after that you’ll be able to vote with just a few clicks.
• By posting an original post to Facebook or Twitter using the official hashtag for your favorite book. The hashtags for each book can be found on the individual book pages in the READ THE LIST section. You can also download a PDF of the hashtag list here.
You can place one vote for each book every day, so go ahead and vote for all of your favorite books!


PHASE TWO
When the full series of The Great American Read launches on September 11, 2018, we’ll launch two extra ways to vote for your favorite book, alongside the existing online and hashtag voting:
• By calling a Toll-Free phone number for each book. We’ll add the phone numbers for each book to the READ THE LIST section when Toll-Free voting goes live on September 11, 2018.
• By sending an SMS with a unique code for your favorite book. We’ll add the SMS number and unique codes for each book to the site when SMS voting goes live on September 11, 2018.
All voting methods will close on October 18, 2018 at midnight PT. We’ll reveal the results and announce The Great American Read winner in the Grand Finale show.


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A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals, #2) by Alyssa Cole

Amazon  |  Avon Romance  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  iBooks | Book Depository

ARC provided to me by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.

#1.) A Princess in Theory ★★★★

“We have a fantastic romance section,” she said. “Do you need recommendations? How do you like your dukes? Grumpy? Tortured? Alpha, beta, or alpha in the streets, beta in the sheets?” “Actually, I meant nonfiction”

Friends, this was nothing short of pure joy to read. Please, if you’re looking for a heartwarming, funny, and expertly crafted romance, please look no further. A Duke by Default follows the main character in A Princess in Theory, Ledi’s, best friend Portia! But this time, Portia is on a journey to change her life and be a different person, and what better way than with a change of scenery and career? And maybe she will cross paths with someone who is much more than meets the eye himself.

Portia Hobbs – Black American woman, who is ready to risk it all, move across the world, and try her luck at being an apprentice for a swordsmith in Scotland, because she is in her late twenties and still hasn’t found the career that is right for her.

“Everyone acts like you’re just supposed to find what you love right away, and if you don’t, just do something you don’t love. And if you do neither of those things you’re being selfish.”

Tavish McKenzie – Biracial (Chilean and Scottish) man, who was left Bodotria Armory and is currently running it with his brother and sister-in-law, even though its becoming harder and harder for him to turn a profit, but hopefully a new apprentice can turn things around.

“Pull out your sword,” she commanded and Tav was certain it was the sexiest thing a woman had ever uttered to him.”

And spoiler, she does. Portia and Tavish’s chemistry is out of this world. These two characters feel so real, and seeing them start out a little rocky, but slowly become friends, and maybe something more, was so beautiful.

But the entire cast of side characters are honestly magnificent as well. Like, I truly am going to say a prayer every single night that Alyssa Cole never stops writing, and that she never stops blessing us with more characters from this world. Seriously, I love them all with my entire being.

Reggie – Portia’s twin sister, famous blogger, brain virus survivor, uses a wheelchair, and is my hero. Seriously, I’m ready for her book with her and her mystery man immediately. Please.

Cheryl – Chinese, owns a freakin’ Doctor Who themed Chinese restaurant named Doctor Hu’s (honestly, goals), and is Tavish’s sister-in-law.

Jamie – Jamaican, Tavish’s brother, and Cheryl’s partner! Also, the most lovable character in this book, seriously. I want him and Cheryl’s background story so badly!

“ . . . it’s just how your brain is wired. And maybe there’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with you.”

Throughout Portia’s trip she slowly is coming to terms with her having ADHD. ADHD is something that is very personal to me, and the spectrum is actually very large; from hyperactivity (me) to inattention, and everything else in-between. I struggled with putting all my time and energy into something to just stop caring about it shortly after, running in unhealthy and huge amounts, fidgeting constantly, and just feeling restless in general for most of my life, until I realized that maybe my actions weren’t as “normal” as I was lead to believe. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, along with most mental illness, is still hella stigmatized, but seeing Portia slowing coming to the realization that nothing is wrong her, that she was just a little different, that she’s the furthest thing from a failure, and her realizing her self-worth was an honor to read and brought me to tears so many times. Also, this is the third book in a row I’ve read with a main character living their best lives with ADHD, and damn, what a blessing.

“Something in her loosened with relief as the possible diagnosis repeated itself in a loop in her brain. ADHD! ADHD! ADHD! She had a word to use for her behavioral patterns. There were other people who felt the same way she did, maybe.”

We also get to see Portia dealing with the abusive things her parents say, while completely ignoring how their passive-aggressive jabs could hurt their daughter. From comparing her to her sister, to saying horrible things about how they wish the outcome of her sister’s medical emergency should have happened to her, to them just not caring about how Portia wishes to live her life and find something that makes her happy. And not to get too personal, but again, super relatable to me and my life.

“Just because your parents don’t appreciate what you do doesn’t mean it holds less value.”

This book also shines a heavy and bright spotlight on the refugee crisis going on today in Europe. America isn’t the only place that treats immigrants unfairly, and this book really shows how strongly fear tactics can work. People do horrible things in the name of a “border” and this book shows how children will mimic the terrible things their parents say. Oh, and how white people will say terrible things and make terrible jokes to people who they think are white, too. “It’s just a joke, brah!” No, you’re just racist.

Tavish and his loved ones always channel everything back positively and give back to the community and the kids who feel lost and helpless. This book also weighs in on Gentrification and how people will come in and buy a ton of low-income business and residences and then make them a profit while completely forcing the residence to seek other places to live their lives. Seriously, these books pack such a powerful punch.

“Here’s the thing with teasing. It might seem like torture now, sitting there wanting what you can’t have, but when you finally get it? It’ll be the best you’ve ever had.”

But even though this book has important issues, the romance is steamy perfection. Like, the sexual tension in this book starts right out of the gate, and it has the most rewarding payoff. And, I mean, this is a damn story about a girl falling in love with a damn swordsmith! Not only have I never read anything like that before, I’m not sure if I’ve even heard of a sexier premise. Also, this book has Portia and Tavish going to a renfest! Like, one of the saddest parts of me moving across the country is not being able to go to Michigan’s Renaissance Festival! I was living for every scene in this book, seriously.

Plus, this book is downright funny. I never laugh out loud from books, ever. This book and A Princess in Theory left my sides hurting. The banter in this book is perfection. And just in general, Portia and her friends are goals. Complete and utter goals. From unconditional love, to the best and most realistic banter.

Portia: 😘

Ledi: Same thing I do every night: studying viruses and trying to stop them from taking over the world.

Nya: Playing a dating sim to make up for the real date I had earlier. Rognath the Vampire Lord is much better at courtship than Luke, who started the night by calling me Sexual Chocolate and went downhill from there.”

Overall, I loved this story so much. The writing is superb, the characters are to die for, and the messages mean more to me than I have words for. I completely recommend this series with my entire heart and soul. And I am so hyped to read all about Johan and my favorite texter in A Prince on Paper! And thank you so much, Alyssa Cole, for this story that I will keep close to my heart forever.


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

Trigger and content warnings for hurtful parents and their hurtful comments (who think they aren’t being hurtful), people being ignorant and gross to immigrants (always in a negative light and challenged completely), talk of past racist racial profiling from the police, a quick scene with assault, and for a human drugging another human.