Hey friends!!! I’m back. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it. Well I have no travel plans until October so I’m back to blogging. I will be posting a blog update about all my travels later on this week. But I thought I should give you all my TBR for the Month of August. I’m really excited to get into reading. I missed you all so much 🙂
Okay that’s my goal TBR for August. I can’t wait for all the books I’ll be reading this month. Are there any books on my list you’ve read?
Hello friends! Guess who’s out here reading Romance books…. ME! The best part about being apart of the Dragons and Tea Book Club is that I’m reading books, I would normally never pick up. This month’s pick was A Girl Like Her and once again I couldn’t help myself but read this in one sitting. And I couldn’t put it down. Melanie and Amy sure know how to pick excellent book choices.
So what is this book about…
“Fanfic is good for my heart. Running is a disaster waiting to happen, and you know it.”
–> Ruth Kabbah
What did we do to deserve such representation? Honestly, this was awesome. An own-voices plus size, autistic, black woman. *heart eyes* I want to meet Ruth and talk all the comics with her. Seriously, it was like reading my own thoughts about comics. Ruth was a FANTASTIC main character and someone I truly loved reading about. While I couldn’t relate to her being autistic, I did relate to her on many different levels. She was a huge geek and every time she talked comics it was like reading my own thoughts.
Her coping with previous relationships, anxiety, and guilt was beautiful and heartbreaking to read. Ruth was a prickly person with an inability to cook food and said the wrong things 90% of the time, but I absolutely loved her.
My man, Evan. The perfect foil for the prickly Ruth, Evan is all about being a sweetheart. The whole time reading him I kept thinking of Chris Evans, but like bearded Cap from Avengers: Infinity Wars. Is that what the author was going for, who knows. But honestly, it was the best image of Evan. Completely chivalrous, he is new to Ravenswood and is not about any preconceived notions about Ruth. Nah, he was raised by good parents who taught him to get the facts straight from the source. The whole package, Evan is absolutely adorable the entire time. Cooks for others because he is so afraid Ruth is malnourished, and for his new friend Zach and his ailing mother. Evan is all about helping others out. And he is completely infatuated with Ruth and it’s just super cute. He is all about consent and never ever wants Ruth to be afraid of him. Honestly, a dream dude. More men should aspire to be Evan Miller is what I’m saying.
“It’s just, I want to do things with you. Not to you. There’s a difference.”
Am I finally reading adult contemporary/romance books? Yes, I think I might. Did I immediately buy the second one right after I devoured this beauty? Yes, I did. I’m growing up kids. Look out.
Confession time: I’ve only read one other adult contemporary like this in my life. It was called Wallbanger by Alice Clayton and it was so great. So A Girl Like Her is the second, and I enjoyed this so much. I think the reason I loved this so much is that it toes a very fine line of Rom-Com and full on Romance. Because why yes, this was super cute and adorable and nerdy, it also had its share of sex. And there weren’t many cringe tropes that really make or break it for me. Instead, the author does a phenomenal job of highlighting the beauty of consent!
There are some serious warnings for people who have suffered abuse. Ruth suffered from a bad relationship that included emotional, mental and sexual abuse. It’s more of past experience and it’s only through Ruth reminiscing about it. But still could be troublesome for some people. Stay safe, my friends.
Overall this was a great introduction to adult contemporary for me and I’m so happy it was the pick for Dragons and Tea Book Club. For me, A Girl Like Her was a super cute book written by a wonderful Woman of Color who I now adore. Do yourself a favor and spend a little money on A Girl Like Her. It’s worth it. Okay, friends, I’m off to read some more books by Talia Hibbert.
Hello, my loves! A quick update on life before I start the review. You may have noticed I’ve been away for a bit, well on my birthday, my friend and I decided we are going to make a spontaneous trip…… to THAILAND!! And the best part is it’s for a BTS concert. Are you seeing today’s theme is Kpop?
It’s been a while since I’ve read contemporary… like a LONG time. Seriously think the last real one was the Fault in Our Stars??? But this year I’ve read 2! I’ve never been a romance kinda gal, but friends….. I ADORED THIS BOOK. Seriously, it was over and I just wanted to immediately buy all of Maurene Goo’s books. (Stupid spending ban) Am I into contemporary books now? 2019 is really shaping up to be the year of new books. New Year, New Me.
So what is Somewhere Only We Know about…
Lucky/Fern: an up and coming Korean-American idol. At 18, she’s just finished her last concert in Hong Kong after a long Asian tour. Her next stop is to come to America for American debut that hopefully wins her some new fans. She loves to perform and sing, but lately has been just going through the motions. Although she is originally from America, she moved at a young age to Seoul to pursue a music career. She has a very clean record and has not been involved in any scandals. Lucky is her stage name.
Jack: an 18 old Korean-American, who moved with his family to Hong Kong just a few years ago. He’s just graduated from high school and is taking a gap year, working for his father’s bank. He has a passion for photography but doesn’t think his parents would approve of him going to school for it. He also moonlights as a tabloid photographer, photographing all the dirt he can find on famous people.
Lucky’s search for a hamburger is what brings these two characters together in Hong Kong. Think Roman Holiday in Hong Kong. Both Jack and Lucky have secrets they are keeping from each other but still managed to have a fun 24 hours together filled with food, a little romance, Hong Kong scenery and more food.
“Jack, there is actual goodness and badness, you know that right? Like there’s life that is quality and there’s a life that is….empty.”
This was a joy to read from the very beginning. I’m a huge fan of Kpop (BTS FOR LIFE) so I was already really excited for this to come out. But it was the growth in characters that really sold me. Told from both Jack and Lucky’s perspective, I thought this was a really cool premise. Two polar opposite characters spend a fun-filled day together and help each other become better versions of themselves.
It’s hard to write a book based on a mostly 24-hour time window, and Maurene does a wonderful job. It’s paced so well that I kept forgetting this was all happening in such one day. The setting of Hong Kong leaps off the page as the author is very descriptive with the sights, tastes of Hong Kong. Was Hong Kong on my list of places to visit…yes. But now it’s at the top of the list of places I would like to visit.
I really liked Somewhere Only We Know. I thought it had a cute plot, precious characters and a setting I would kill to be in right now. 2019 is the year I read other genres besides just fantasy and comics, lol. Is this the best contemporary book I’ve ever read, who knows. But I enjoyed it and I think a lot of people will all enjoy this incredibly cute story.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a modern retelling of the Beauty and the Beast. It features a much darker story then the old classic. With the “beast” being cursed to repeat the same three months over and over until he find the person to fall in love with him. After three hundred seasons and countless bloodshed, this is finally
Friends, I gotta be honest. I completely forgot what this book was about until I started reading it. I’m not the biggest fan of Beauty and the Beast retellings, but I have read some good ones in recent years. I was really excited to read this book, but it was just so so for me.
“Failure isn’t absolute. Just because you couldn’t save everyone doesn’t mean you didn’t save anyone.”
Harper is from DC and she’s had a Rough ™life. Her mother is dying of cancer and her family cannot afford medical treatments. Her brother, Jake is forced to work for the crime lords to just scrape by. Harper also has Cerebral Palsy. Based on my own personal experiences with this disability and the story itself, its given that Harper is a little more high functioning. She was a pretty cool character, who stuck to her guns and just wanted to make sure her family was safe. She was badass and had no problem telling anyone off including the prince.
Rhen is pretty much over everything and it shows. Reminded me of Rhys a bit from The Court Series. Every time a girl doesn’t fall in love with him, he turns into a different beast and no one is safe from him.
Grey was my dude. Probably my fave character. Loyal to a fault, he is the only one left with Rhen and has seen what happens after every single season. He is also given the ability to travel between the worlds and kidnaps the girls for each season.
The problem I always have with Beauty and the Beast retellings is someone is still kidnapped and held against their will. What made this book so interesting was that Harper was not the intended target, it was a mistake for her to be taken. And so she is already beyond apprehensive about Rhen and Grey and the whole curse. It made Harper’s relationships with both men more realistic and I appreciated it.
“We are not always presented with the choices we want, but choices exist nonetheless.”
My favorite part of this whole book was the theme of choice. Y’all know I love Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier and damn, Rhen and Bucky would be self-loathing best friends for sure. Rhen has been cursed by Lilith and in turn, has killed many people close to him. Harper has had to watch her mother slowly deteriorate and her brother does questionable things. But sometimes things are out of our control. Yes, there are choices we can make, but sometimes it doesn’t matter what is chosen, things still happen.
Overall, I didn’t hate this and I didn’t absolutely love it either. A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a LONG book and sometimes you really felt how long. Some things were a little cliched and Lilith showing up was just annoying sometimes. The ending felt rushed and scrambled, but I saw this isn’t standalone. So maybe I’ll like the second one a little better.
But while I wasn’t the biggest of fans for this book. I can see how some people would really enjoy this. This still had some cool twists and turns and was a good retelling of a beloved classic.
Friends! This book was such a surprise for me. I am not the biggest fan of contemporary but I’m trying new things. This was also the first book pick for The Dragons and Tea Book Club! I’m so very thankful to be a part of this club and can’t wait to make new friends in this wonderful book community.
This is a messed up book. The whole time reading I felt every emotion imaginable and it wasn’t until the end where I thought “wow I love this and I hate how much I love it.” I can see why this would be a polarizing story for some.
The Wicker King is a brilliantly written well-plotted story that takes the reader on a dark, emotional and (even a little) disturbing journey. I devoured this book at work and then proceeded to tell my friend (also at work) to please read this so I could have someone to cry over this with. The entire time reading I felt every emotion imaginable. The end of the book had me feeling like Kat reading “10 Things I Hate About You” to Patrick in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. I hated how much I loved The Wicker King
Visually stunning by using the pages to signify the main characters’ inner turmoil. As the story progresses, the pages become darker eventually turning black. One of the most creative things I’ve ever seen in a book. The plot is enthralling and the characters are unique, making for a gripping story. The chapters were short which made it very hard for me to put it down.
August and Jack were such interesting TRAGIC characters who I loved. I just want to take them home with me and make them all the food. Broken kids who have gone through a lot for their age. Abusive and neglectful parenting tied these two men together into a relationship that was unhealthy for them both. Codependent to an unhealthy level, Ancrum gives us the story of two young men obsessed with each other and the lengths they will go for each other.
August’s voice throughout the book is so jumbled and well-done that it added an extra level of suspense for the reader. Ancrum does a wonderful job of showing August’s confused inner thoughts. I was confused about his relationships with the other characters and so was August.
A raw and powerful look at mental illness, The Wicker King explores many topics that resonate with many of us. The repercussions of absent, and neglectful parenting greatly impacted the characters and greatly propelled the plot. The effects of unhealthy relationships also really move the plot along. Ancrum does a brilliant job of having a neutral perspective on the characters and their relationships.
All in all, I think this was a brilliantly written book I fell in love with. For my first contemporary book in many years, I found myself asking for more. This is a messed up book, as I’ve said. You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. But it’s a book I will forever be recommending to people.
“If you drop the weight you are carrying, it is okay. You can build yourself back up out of the pieces.”
Many years ago, Baby girl Smith was born… me! I wouldn’t meet my parents for another month, but today is my birthday! And since we are just beginning winter I thought today would be a perfect day to release my review for not only my favorite book of 2019 but also the perfect winter read.
“There are no monsters in the world, and no saints. Only infinite shades woven into the same tapestry, light and dark. One man’s monster is another man’s beloved. The wise know that.”
I probably talk about this trilogy at least 3 times a week, so everyone knows about my deep devotion to the first two books. So of course, the last book in this trilogy has been at the top of the most anticipated reads of 2019. I was fortunate enough to finally meet Katherine Arden this year at NYCC and man did I cry. I walked out of NYCC practically cradling The Winter of the Witch.
The Winter of the Witch picks up right at the end of Girl in the Tower and the action is there. Not going to lie, I was stressed at some points. The stakes have never been higher for Vasya and we see that in this fast-paced plot. From the very first moment, you are captured by the story of it all. I said Bear and the Nightingale is a breathtaking fairy tale and Girl in the Tower is an epic adventure, but Winter of the Witch is both. All those easter eggs you were given in the first two books come together in the most creative and imaginative ways. We see where Katherine Arden wanted to take us; a wonderful journey filled with the most fantastical of characters.
“What use am I? None. I have made more mistakes than I can count, and the world has no place for me. And yet, as I said before, I am still not going to die to please you.”
Katherine Arden character development is one of the greatest things I’ve ever read. Vasya is no longer the little girl who stole honeycakes from her nursemaid. Instead, she is this amazingly strong woman who has defied all expectations people had for her. Brilliantly flawed, Arden gives Vasya more character development in just a short time. I say it every day, but Vasya is my all time favorite female character. But it’s not just the main characters brilliantly written in this book. Even the most minor characters show a depth that expertly adds to this folkloric story.
Just like the previous two we are introduced to more fairy tales. This installment adds many whimsical elements that are sure to entice any reader. Midnight roads, quirky characters and legends of old add an extra level of fairytale to this story that reminded me of Bear and the Nightingale.
Friends, I WAS NOT ready for the range of emotions Arden would deliver. I cried, no, BAWLED my eyes out. I felt knocked down multiple times but slowly was put back together by Arden’s story-telling. This book is sure to give you feelings. And that scene…… I…. just.. *cries*
This book was everything I wanted it to be and more. I could read 100 more books about each character. BUT this is the perfect ending to a beautiful story. The characters, the setting, the story all feel completed by the end.
Winter of the Witch really cemented my love for this Trilogy. You may see me hugging these books around town. This is my favorite series of all time. If you ever want my recommendation it is The Winternight Trilogy.
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.