February 2019 Wrap Up

WrapUp2

Hey, loves! The month of February has been such a rewarding month, but such a busy month, too. I’ll be honest, I’m going through a really big reading slump right now, and I hope it doesn’t stick around for much longer. I just think I really burnt myself out reading so many things, nonstop, for Contemporaryathon! But I can already start to feel myself getting more and more refreshed creatively and physically!

But besides this last week, I did have a really good reading month! I was able to read 16 things, and I loved so very many of them! Yet, I did DNF my first book of 2019, which is never a good feeling, but at least I don’t have to dread it anymore!

What I read in February…
(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.)


Once Ghosted, Twice Shy (Reluctant Royals #2.5) by Alyssa Cole – ★★★★

“Out of all the train cars in all the world you had to walk into mine.”

Oh my word, this was glorious. Alyssa Cole just keeps proving, over and over, that she is the queen of romance, and that the Reluctant Royals series is such a bright shining light for the romance genre. And I truly and utterly fell completely in love with Likotsi and Fabiola, and this is one of my new favorite f/f stories ever written.


Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – ★★

“People feel with their hearts, Ellen, and since he has destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him.”

Okay, I know that Wuthering Heights is so many people’s favorite book of all-time, and so many people’s least favorite book of all-time, so I went into this not really knowing what to expect. I will be honest, I didn’t really love it, but I was for sure not expecting the wild ride that this story took me on. I just truly found all of the characters (Except for Ellen/Nelly) to be so damn insufferable.


Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss by Kasie West – ★★★

“I have to convince audiences everywhere that a zombie loves a zombie hunter. So far, it’s not happening. So far, the only thing future viewers care about is that I’m not someone else.”

Okay, the only other thing I’ve ever read by Kasie West was the short story of hers in Snow in Love, but I think it is safe to say that I am officially just going to preorder everything she writes from now on, because this story was also such a damn delight. And she is now 2/2 for writing the sweetest and softest boys in YA literature. I honestly just had a smile on my face while reading the majority of this book. If I’m ever in need of a feelgood book, I’m just going to turn to Kasie West’s backlist from now on.


A Girl Like Her (Ravenswood #1) by Talia Hibbert – ★★★★★

“There are some things you don’t get over. You just accept them, and keep breathing. That’s enough.”

Talia Hibbert is a national treasure, and I don’t think that I ever want to leave Ravenswood or these characters. Talia truly crafts the most heartwarming romances, with amazingly diverse characters, and weaves in some of the sexiest scenes I’ve ever read in my entire life. I have loved everything that she has written so far, and A Girl Like Her is probably my favorite yet. Truly a masterpiece, and she is truly creating a brand-new tier in the romance genre, above the rest.


The Risk (Briar U #2) by Elle Kennedy – ★★★★

“I know you’re Chad Jensen’s daughter. I know you would take any opportunity to mess with my players’ heads. I know we’re probably going to be facing off with Briar in the conference finals in a few weeks”

I’m not sure what the world has done to deserve Elle Kennedy and all the amazing stories she keeps giving us set around this hockey team, but we are so damn blessed, friends. I hope she continues to write them forever. And The Risk was so sexy, so funny, and so phenomenal. Reading this was pure joy, and my biggest complaint is that I wish we had an extra epilogue, because I want and I need more. The Risk perfectly plays with the enemies to lovers trope, but also adds the fake dating element, and I was truly living my best life while reading this story.


The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen – ★★★

“A story of a Nemesis and a Villain with no chance at a happy ending.”

Francesca Rossi thought she had her life already figured out, even though she was only nineteen, and regardless of what kind of life she has ever wanted for herself. Her father is very powerful and has built an empire in Chicago, even if he deals with and in some very dark things. And Francesca’s hand in marriage is going to be connection to another powerful family one day. And it appears that the day is coming very quickly.


Torn (All Torn Up #1) by Carian ColeDNF @ 36%

“The line between Tor and I is somewhat unique, because it criss-crosses between family and friend, and just now it blurred into something I can’t quite describe.”

This was pitched to me as a romance where a young woman falls in love with her father’s best friend. And like, I was looking for something taboo and smutty, so I was ready for it. But I didn’t know that: 1.) The girl was going to be seventeen, which I get is legal in some states, but it still skeezes me the fuck out! And 2.) that the dad’s best friend was going to be a very big figure in her life from the day of her birth. Like, he was legitimately there the day she was born and given the title of godfather.


Fence Vol. 2 (Fence #2) by C.S. Pacat – ★★★★

“All I have to do is fence.”

Oh my word, this was such a damn treat. I love these characters and this graphic novel series so very much. Vol. 1 completely stole my heart last year, and Vol. 2 was a wonderful addition. Even though the wait for Vol. 3 to get published is going to maybe be the death of me.


Bingo Love by Tee Franklin – ★★★★

“I’ve hidden my love for a woman for fifty years”

Wow, I loved this second chance romance so much. It was sweet, and heartwarming, but so real, and so heartbreaking. I laughed, I cried, I wanted more. Seriously, I’m so dang happy that I picked this up.


When Summer Ends by Jessica Pennington – ★★★

“Aiden and Olivia decide to live summer by chance. Every fleeting adventure and stolen kiss is as fragile as a coin flip in this heartfelt journey to love and self-discovery…”

Friends, this is going to be the perfect summer read. I know a three star rating seems low, but I promise I still really enjoyed this one. And I promise a full review to come very soon!


Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) by L.J. Shen – ★★★★

“I met Baron Spencer and he became my nightmare.”

Okay, you were all 100% correct. Vicious is totally the human equivalent of Cardan Greenbriar and I immediately want to reread this book this very second. Like, the first scene in his room, where he is sitting on the bed? I was waiting for my good dude to sprout a tail, honest to God. But yeah, this was an amazingly sexy read, and I enjoyed every single second of it. I can’t wait to continue on with the rest of this series.


Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – ★★★★★

“First, you’ve been, like, Draco Malfoy–level obsessed with Henry for years—do not interrupt me—and since the royal wedding, you’ve gotten his phone number and used it not to set up any appearances but instead to long-distance flirt with him all day every day.”

This book was glorious perfection! I can’t believe I haven’t wrote up a full review for it, but I think that is because I know that no word combination will do this heartwarming story justice. But I can safely say that I have never smiled so hard while reading, even when I was crying, and that you all should preorder this one immediately!


A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti – ★★★★★

“She survived something big, and when you survive something big, you are always, always aware that next time you might not.”

I can truly say, with every single ounce of my heart, that this is one of the best books I’ve ever read in my entire life. It’s so quiet, but so loud. It’s so heartbreaking, but so healing. It’s so impactful, it’s so powerful, and it’s completely and utterly unforgettable. I truly recommend this story with my entire soul. A Heart in a Body in the World is now one of my favorite books of all time.


The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum – ★★★★★

“Fighting for yourself is another way of loving yourself.”

This book is a masterpiece. It’s about finding yourself, and finding a family of your choosing, and finding love that you deserve. I haven’t fully written up my review yet, but I promise it will be up soon. But friends, this is one of the best books I’ve ever read in my entire life. I love it with the sum of who I am.


Once & Future (Once & Future #1) by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy – ★★★

“I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.”

This ended up doing a trope I hate a whole lot and I’m so sad! But this still had so much good in it! I promise, full review coming very soon!


The Shadow Glass (The Bone Witch #3) by Rin Chupeco – ★★★★★

“I will save the kingdoms, and I will save you in the process, and maybe I will save the bits and pieces of myself that need rescuing too.”

Friends, I just finished this late last night! But my blog tour post will go up this Sunday and I can’t wait to full gush!


Man oh man, just looking at those five five-star reads? My heart. Truly some of my favorites of all-time, that I will carry in my heart forever and always! Also, I am more than halfway into The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, so hopefully that will be one of the first things I finish in March! What was your favorite book you read this month? I’d love to know! And I hope you all are having the happiest of reading currently! 💛✨

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Bonus highlight of February:

Booktube Games with Lea!

 

February 2019 Book Haul

 Haul2
Hey, friends! I got some cool books this month! 💖


PURCHASED BOOKS:


On The Come Up
The Passion of Dolssa (Thank you, Lea, ily!)
The Brightsiders (Thank you, Lea, ily!)
King of Scars – ★★★
Black Leopard, Red Wolf
A Woman is No Man
The Secret History  – ★★★★★


PURCHASED EBOOKS:

The Fever King
Vicious – ★★★★
Torn – DNF @ 36%


NETGALLEY ARCS:

The Unhoneymooners


EDELWEISS ARCS:

Of Ice and Shadows
A Prince on Paper
Color Outside the Lines


PHYSICAL ARCS FROM PUBLISHERS:

Patron Saints of Nothing (Thank you, Madalyn, ilysm!)
Gideon the Ninth
Tarot
Kingsbane
Seven Blades in Black
Binti
The Raven Tower



Okay, friends! That’s everything! I feel so very blessed and I know I am so very privileged to receive so many amazing books! And I will forever remain so very thankful! What did you haul this month? Anything you think I’d like? Let me know! And I hope you’re all having the very happiest of reading, loves! 💖

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The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

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“A story of a Nemesis and a Villain with no chance at a happy ending.”

Francesca Rossi thought she had her life already figured out, even though she was only nineteen, and regardless of what kind of life she has ever wanted for herself. Her father is very powerful and has built an empire in Chicago, even if he deals with and in some very dark things. And Francesca’s hand in marriage is going to be connection to another powerful family one day. And it appears that the day is coming very quickly.

Angelo Bandini is the boy that Francesca has grown up with, and now he is the man that she believes she will share her life with. He is safe, he is dependable, and he has been a constant in her life for as long as she can remember, even if he has never given her a real kiss before.

Wolfe Keaton is a very powerful senator, and he and his lifelong vendetta is about to ruin everything at a masquerade party that they are all attending. Especially since Francesca stole one of the notes that are passed down from the women in her family, but they are supposed to be kept locked away in a chest for their wedding day. And those notes are supposed to completely predict and/or alter your fate.

And the note that Francesca pulled the night of the masquerade said that she was going to be kissed by the love of her life. Which she completely assumes will mean that Angelo is finally going to give her the kiss she has dreamed of her entire life. But Wolfe and his grudge have very different plans in mind. And all the angst ensues, along with a promise of marriage.

“But, my darling, that’s the difference between me and your father. I never pretended to deserve you. I simply took you.”

I actually really enjoyed this story so much. I loved the angst, I loved the romance, and I really ended up loving the characters. But the first sex scene in this is honestly one of the most sus things I’ve ever read in my life. Francesca was truly being so stupid, and the lie she told to make a point? It truly took a year off my life. Also, Wolfe not understanding the basic concept of birth control, while pretending he did, took an extra year off my life.

But besides these two things? I honestly loved this and completely recommend. Especially if you like a good alpha dude, because Wolfe is literally the epitome of that. I had a blast while reading this, and was so pleasantly surprised to finish and realize that it was a standalone, too. If you’re looking for some sexy dirty talk, a whole lot of angst, and a little romance, then I completely recommend this one.

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Content and trigger warnings for use of the term sp*rit animal, some weird discourse about food and dieting, talk of loss of a loved one, domestic abuse and talk of cheating (not involving the main characters), murder, attempted murder, grey area cheating, and a very unpleasant virgin sex scene.

Buddy Read with Myonna & Riley! ❤

❤ I also read this for Contemporary-a-thon!

 

Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) by L.J. Shen

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“I met Baron Spencer and he became my nightmare.”

Okay, you were all 100% correct. Vicious is totally the human equivalent of Cardan Greenbriar and I immediately want to reread this book this very second. Like, the first scene in his room, where he is sitting on the bed? I was waiting for my good dude to sprout a tail, honest to God. But yeah, this was an amazingly sexy read, and I enjoyed every single second of it. I can’t wait to continue on with the rest of this series.

Basically, this is very much an enemies to lovers story. And Vicious is a bigger bully than Cardan in every way, so if that is not your thing, I might skip this read. But if that is your thing? Oh Lord, please pick this up immediately. Seriously, I think L.J. Shen made a fan for life from this book alone.

This is a book told in flashbacks from present day to events that happened ten years ago that lead both main characters to where they are now. Vicious believes that Emilia overheard a conversation about a secret that he has been keeping forever. Emilia continues to be sweet, caring, and curious, and Vicious believes he has to remind her who has the power in every aspect of their lives.

That is, until Emilia is forced to leave LA forever, and goes to NY to pursue her dreams while trying to forget her tormentor. Yet, ten years later, things aren’t going great for Emilia; she just lost her job, she was just mugged, money is now extra tight, and she is also taking care of her chronically ill sister. Then one night, while she is working a night shift at a bar, the boy who has haunted her dreams walks in and gives her an offer that she is unable to refuse.

“I see you successfully graduated from a bully to a tyrant in the span of a decade.”

She then is forced to work under her bully, doing any and everything to keep him pleased. And we get to see them both struggle with their feelings for one another and decide if it is worth it to just get the other one out of their system. Emilia isn’t willing to fall for her tormentor, and Vicious won’t allow himself to have feelings for the one girl who is off limits for him. And the chemistry is honestly off the charts.

Friends, I’m just going to say it; the sex in this book is 11/10. Seriously, I immediately had to take a cold shower after, because the angst almost killed me during this reading experience. Like, the sexual tension in this is so damn extreme and some of the best I’ve read in a very long while. It feels like the slowest burn of all time, even though I don’t think I’d necessarily classify it as a slow burn. I don’t know, it’s a really weird reading experience, but so damn gratifying. The dirty talk was expertly done, too, and totally leg crossing inducing if you get what I’m saying.

“Vicious was vicious. It was too bad that my hate for him was dipped in a thin shell of something that felt like love.”

Overall, I just loved this completely. I will say that if you don’t like possessive partners then you probably wont like Vicious, but if you do enjoy that kind of thing then I completely implore you to pick this one up immediately, because I thought the trope was really well done. Like, I recommend this with every fiber of my being if you like hate to love romances. And all my friends promise me that Ruckus is even better, so I cannot wait to continue on with this series!

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Content and trigger warnings for extreme bullying, talk of past child abuse, talk of chronic illness, talk of cancer, loss of a loved one, drug use, underage drinking, physical abuse, and extreme invasion of privacy.

Buddy Read with Riley! ❤

❤ I also read this for Contemporary-a-thon!

 

Bingo Love by Tee Franklin

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“I’ve hidden my love for a woman for fifty years”

Wow, I loved this second chance romance so much. It was sweet, and heartwarming, but so real, and so heartbreaking. I laughed, I cried, I wanted more. Seriously, I’m so dang happy that I picked this up.

This story is told in flashbacks from present day to 1963, where we see two young girls discovering their sexuality. Hazel is at the bingo hall when she lays eyes on the new girl, Mari, for the very first time. Both come from strict and religious homes, but Mari’s homelife is far less supportive. And because of the 60s being a product of its time, they are never allowed to be together. That is, until they meet back up at a bingo hall, fifty years later.

“Since when is it a sin to be in love?”

But both Hazel and Mari have families and are leading lives where people depend on them. But neither is truly happy, or at least they know that they could be happier, if they were willing to take a risk. This story really is about how life is short, but no matter how short it is it will always be worth listening to your heart and trying to live the life that you want to live.

I do want to touch on a few other things that I truly loved about this graphic novel. First this is ownvoices, Tee Franklin is black and queer! Next, Hazel says the word pan on page! Hazel is also plus-sized! And I really loved the normalization of talking to a psychiatrist! This story just had so much good in it, and it truly touched me so very much.

Overall, this was just exactly what I wanted. It was equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking, and just made me really appreciate the life I am able to live in 2019. Not saying that 2019 is perfect, but it’s better than the 60s and easier to surround myself with people who love and support me. I completely recommend this graphic novel with my whole heart. The art is perfect, the story is awe-inspiring, and the characters are truly unforgettable.

Oh, and this panel? Added five years to my life:

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Content and trigger warnings for homophobia, grey area cheating, and talk of illness/loss of a loved one.

❤ I also read this for Contemporary-a-thon!

 

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy (Reluctant Royals, #2.5) by Alyssa Cole

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#1.) A Princess in Theory ★★★★
#2.) A Duke by Default ★★★★

“Out of all the train cars in all the world you had to walk into mine.”

Oh my word, this was glorious. Alyssa Cole just keeps proving, over and over, that she is the queen of romance, and that the Reluctant Royals series is such a bright shining light for the romance genre. And I truly and utterly fell completely in love with Likotsi and Fabiola, and this is one of my new favorite f/f stories ever written.

Likotsi is the personal assistant to Prince Thesolo, who we get to know very well in A Princess in Theory! She is also Black, a lesbian, and (in my opinion) a sexual icon. Seriously, I haven’t swooned this hard over a character in a long time. But Likotsi finally has some free time and is planning on spending some time exploring the city, but technical difficulties make her train break down. But maybe fate is at play a little bit, when her ex spots her through the train window.

Fabiola is an up and coming jewelry maker, who is social media famous, bisexual, and is also Haitian and from a family of immigrants, who are having problems with deportation. This book is such a sexy second chance romance, but it really shines a spotlight on very real things that are going on here in America and weaves these important discussions into this beautiful story seamlessly.

But Likotsi and Fabiola decide to get some lunch together, which kind of turns into them spending the day together. And the chapters begin to alternate from the present, to them meeting on a Tinder-like app, and then to why they eventually called it quits eight months ago. And I was so damn enthralled in all the timelines. And the chemistry between these two? Out of this damn world.

Also, I just wanted to also say that this is ownvoices for the Black representation but also the queer representation! And if you all have time, you should check out this article from The Mary Sue because it is magnificent.

Overall, I hope Alyssa Cole never stops writing this series. I will honestly read ninety-nine more installments, with the biggest smile on my face. This series is the stuff that OTPs are made of and Once Ghosted, Twice Shy proves that the side characters are even equally as perfect. And friends, I don’t even have words for how excited I am for A Prince on Paper this April! Also, I totally think you could read this one without reading the previous full-length books in the series! And I completely recommend you do so, if you’re looking for something quick, steamy, and romantic.

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Content and trigger warnings for deportation and forced separation of families.

Buddy read with Kathy from Kathy Trithardt! ❤