May Wrap-Up and June TBR

Books of the Month



Books Read 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Burn the Fairy Tales 🌟
A Line in the Dark🌟🌟🌟
Little & Lion🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

April TBR 


 1. Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins
This is my current read and I am totally obsessed. I wish there was more hype around it because in my opinion, it has everything. Politics, magic, intrigue, mystery, romance. I love it.

2. Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
 I've wanted to read this for a long time now, and what better time than pride month?

3. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
This is one of my most-anticipated titles of the year. I unfortunately have to wait a minute to read it because I'm getting an annotated version, so it's taking a bit longer to get to. But I can't wait!

4. In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
 A handful of my friends are entirely too obsessed with this book so it's time to jump on the bandwagon and see what the fuss is about.

5. The Accidental Bad Girl by Maxine Kaplan
 I haven't read a good YA thriller in a little while so it's time. This one comes highly recommended from a few trusted sources, too, so that's a plus!


1. The Gentlemans Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
 This one has been on my Kindle forever and I am in desperate need of a banter-y romance.

2. The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood
 Since summer is almost here, what better way to celebrate that than with a summer book about sisters.

3. What If it's Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
One of my most anticipated reads and a great way to celebrate Pride month.

4. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbbiden Fruit by Jayne Robin Brown
I've also had this book on my Kindle forever, and every once and awhile I get the itch to read it. Now's the time and I cannot wait.

5. A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith
I've been super excited about this book for ages, but since two of my favorite people had such drastically different feelings about it, I've been putting it off. Not anymore!

Are any of our books on your June TBR?

TTT: Books We'd Never Want to Live In

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl
This week we're talking about books we'd never want to live in

bekka's picks

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This is the classic answer, right? None of us want to live in isolation or extreme poverty. We certainly don't want to be Reaped or have our loved ones suffer the same fate. I love this series and find the world fascinating, but I'd rather not ever have to step foot in it.

2. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian. I love the magic system, and maybe I would have been fine living here before the country was conquered. But then everyone was killed and now it's being ruled with an iron fist by a man who is most certainly off his rocker. Another world I find to be beautiful and terrible, but not one I'd want to live in.

3. Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire. I do not want to live on the Moors. There are monsters and vampires and mad scientists and all manner of thing that could kill you in an instant. I do, however, desperately want to live in the world of the Wayward Children, where I could find a door that leads me to the world perfectly made for me. That would be amazing. But the Moors? I think not.

4. Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta. This is a world where magic has been poisoned, there are "fiends" who are addicted to it that turn almost zombie like in their quest for more. How terrible to live in a world with magic but you can't access it? 

5. Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh. There is so much going on here and I want nothing to do with living in it. First, necromancy, bringing people back from the dead. I don't think I'd want that; you could even force it on people if you really wanted to. Plus, if the Dead are seen, they turn to ravenous zombies. So. But also, the king of this magical land is hell-bent on making sure there is no change, no progress, in the society he rules. We already live in a world too similar to that, I'd not want to travel to a fantasy world where it's the same.

alexia's picks

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This one is an obvious pick. in fact, I'd be shocked if this book isn't all over the blogoverse today. No one wants to live in poverty or in fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. I love the series, but there's no way I'd wanna live in the world of Panem.

2. In the After by Demitria Lunetta. Yeaaah, I think I'll pass on living in zombie world too. Very few things scare me, but zombies actually would. This book was so good, but it scared the hell out of me.

3. Gated by Amy Christine Parker. Not really a fan of being controlled or of being forced to follow a self imposed leader. Loved this book because I am fascinated by cults, but I sure don't want to be part of one.

4. The Program by Suzanne Young. Oh man, this world would be so unpleasant to live in. Depression & suicide are rampant and when it gets too bad, teens are whisked off to The Program and when they come out, they are a shell of their former selves.

5. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. Yeah, not too excited about living in a jail cell, thank you. I did really enjoy this book, but I'm a weirdo who likes dark, depressing things.

Are any of our picks on your list?

Book Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on May 29th, 2018
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval...the games have only just begun.

The second I had this on my NetGalley dashboard, I downloaded it and dove right in. Legendary was one of my most anticipated releases for the year. Caraval was fantastic, and more than that, I have some very special memories related to that book: it was the book I was reading when I went into labor, the first book I finished after Rosalie was born. This series is very deeply embedded into my heart now and I am so happy to tell you all that Legendary does not disappoint.

In fact, I'd even go so far as to say it was better.

It was hard not to compare the two books while reading. Caraval was narrated by Scarlett, but Legendary starred Donatella and I think it was all the stronger for it. I loved Scarlett, don't get me wrong. But Scarlett's life at the beginning of Caraval was very much ruled by fear. Tella, on the other hand, is much more of a go-getter, a protagonist who really drives the story instead of being lead around by it. Tella is the kind of person who takes chances and leaps of faith, she's sometimes too reckless but she's also very cunning and very smart. She is often grossly underestimated by her opponents. I just found her to be a great, engaging, exciting main character. I loved being in her shoes.

Legendary has another round of Caraval, which is only supposed to happen once a year, but this time is happening just a few weeks later for a special occasion. I usually dislike this type of plot, where it's just a rehash of the first book (think Catching Fire.) But I just LOVE the game of Caraval so much, I didn't mind it at all. I loved it, in fact. Garber just has this way of completely messing with your head. You're told over and over again that it's only a game, none of it's real. You're explicitly told this! And yet you can't help but fall for it all anyway. This round of Caraval swept me off my feet entirely. It was so much more magical and fun this time around, even though the actual magic was kept to a minimum this time. (There are no magically changing dresses, for instance. Though I promise there is not a lack of costume porn.)

There is a love triangle in Legendary. Kind of. It may just be my hate-to-love shipper heart that's reading more into things that it should be. But there are two guys vying for Tella's attention. I will not say anything more about their identities but I loved them both so much. I truly could not pick a team because there was the guy I loved and the guy I think Tella was better with. But then there were TWISTS. Ahhh. Also for my fellow hate-to-love shippers, feast your eyes on this beauty:
(He's carrying her in his arms after doing a REALLY NICE THING FOR HER and also she's injured.)

"I still hate you."
"It's probably for the best."

I nearly fell out of my bed, okay. There is a lot of this with BOTH ships! Both are hate-to-love! If this is at all your jam, this book is definitely for you.

The world is also expanded a bit in Legendary. Scarlett's world felt very close and small, but in this book we're traveling some, to the city of Valenda. There are different districts and castles and palaces and temples. We get to see a bit of the religious belief of this world. We even get some creation myth stuff, which was awesome. I loved the expansion of the Fates especially. The myths and the truths surrounding them are fascinating and I really, really want to learn more. That said, some of the world building felt a little silly at times. Not in the big pieces, but just the small ways, like technology and magic. The every day stuff. It felt almost "throw at the wall and see what sticks." But at the same time, that just fed into the whole whimsy and Wonderland feel of the story, so I couldn't really complain that much.

My one true complaint is the writing. In Caraval the writing was flowery, colorful, and overly descriptive, but I always assumed it was because of Scarlett's synesthesia. She experiences her senses differently from normal people. But the same over-the-top descriptions happened in Legendary too. I rolled my eyes a handful of times at phrases like "he smelled like secrets." The writing is not my favorite and I can see how others would find it distracting. Everything else was just so amazing for me that the writing style barely affected me at all.

I loved Caraval. I know it's a polarizing book and some people really hated it. But I LOVED it. Legendary was twenty times better. A complete level-up from the first book, taking all the great things about book one and making them better, while leaving behind the not-as-good bits. So much dark whimsy, magic, romance, and a sense of unreality I've never seen before in any other series. The romances made it even better for me. I'm a megafan and I really, really need to know if a third book is coming because I need more.

Book Review: A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

Book Title & Author: A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
Published by: Dutton Books for Young Readers on October 17th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Synopsis: The line between best friend and something more is a line always crossed in the dark.
Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. While nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more curse than gift.

As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences.

When the inevitable darkness finally descends, Angie will need her best friend.

“It doesn’t even matter that she probably doesn’t understand how much she means to me. It’s purer this way. She can take whatever she wants from me, whenever she wants it, because I’m her best friend.”

A Line in the Dark is a story of love, loyalty, and murder.

My obsession with this book started when I first saw the cover. The cover is so eye-catching and that usually makes me even more excited for a book. I put this book on the list of books I wanted to buy and FINALLY bought it about a month or so ago.

First thing: Don't skip the prologue. I normally don't skip the prologue, but this time, I didn't see it. I skipped right over it and onto chapter one. I fully believe that reading the prologue right away would have made me enjoy the book more.

I wanted so desperately to love this book as psychological thrillers are my jam in a big way. Unfortunately, this book was only okay for me. It really didn't have that "thriller" feel to it. It wasn't fast paced like I feel psychological thrillers that are under 300 pages should be. 

Jess in particular really got on my nerves. I have a thing about needy/clingy people and to me, Jess was extremely needy/clingy, especially with Angie. Jess actually bordered on stalkerish, now that I think more about it. I actually preferred Angie's romance with Margot over Angie's friendship with Jess. I wanted more of Angie & Margot's relationship in the book.

I do have to say that I LOVED all the queerness in this book. Massive props to Lo for the awesome lesbian representation in this book. 

There were two parts to this book. A "before" and an "after" The first half is told in Jess's first person POV and the 2nd part was told in 3rd person POV along with police transcripts & interviews with the girls. I thought for sure the switch would throw me off and it did for a little bit, but I quickly adjusted to it.

Final thoughts: This book was okay, there were parts I liked and parts I wasn't a fan of. Give it a shot if it still sounds like something you'd enjoy. It just wasn't thrillery enough for me.

Most Anticipated: May 2018

May is going to be SUCH an excellent month for book releases. There are a few I've read already and some I'm DYING for. Let's get into it!

Dating Disasters of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager
I really, really love when books can incorporate social media and online life into their stories. This sounds adorable and fun on top of it too.

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
Whatever. I'm trash and I know it. Christmassy fan-fic! Who doesn't want that?

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
Gaby hyped this one up so much for me, so I'm puuuumped it's finally coming out. It's apparently bisexual as hell as well as having angels fall from the sky in some sort of weird scientific phenomenon? Idk but I can't wait to find out.

All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor
One of those thrillers that blurs the lines between fiction and reality. You KNOW that's what I'm here for.

Legendary by Stephanie Garber
I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. I read it a few months ago as SOON as I got the arc and I devoured it. I loved Caraval and I loved this one even more. I am so excited it's finally releasing and I can hold it in my hands.

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maureen Goo
I have to say a big draw to this book for me is the beautiful cover. I love pink covers! But also this book is set on a FOOD TRUCK. I freaking love Food Network and I'm always so excited to see characters with a love of cooking or even entering food competitions. 

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
This is one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I have been dying for this since I heard it existed. And that cover! 10000% my aesthetic.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand
I am partway through this and I love it a lot. There is so much hype surrounding this release, I really hope the book keeps going in this positive direction! It's very unique and I love the world its set in.

What books are you looking forward to this month?

Book Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Book Title: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Published by: Balzer + Bray on April 24th, 2018
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Okay, I'll admit it. I was so super nervous about reading this book. I wanted so much to love it as much as I loved Simon, but I was absolutely terrified that I wouldn't. Simon held such a special place in my heart and reading the synopsis of Leah on the Offbeat made me smile.

Literally two seconds after opening this book I was grinning like a madwoman. Right away, I knew this book was a sequel to Simon. Right away I had the same feelings about this book as I had about Simon. I connected with the voice almost instantly and I just love when that happens. I wasn't expecting to connect with it so quickly, but I loved that I did.

The bisexual rep in this book was A+ I absolutely loved it and definitely connected to it. So many things that Leah said about bisexuality and about being bisexual totally resonated with me and it's rare that that happens and I credit Albertalli for that. There's a scene in this book where Leah is getting mad about a guy who doesn't seem to see another girl as competition for Leah. And that hit me. Hard because bisexuality erasure does exist and anyone who thinks it doesn't is an idiot. 

It's like a person can't be bisexual. You have to be either gay/lesbian or straight. People just don't understand how bisexuality works. And bisexuality is as individual as the person who identifies as bisexual. Take me for example, I used to be more into guys than girls, but now I'd say it's 90% girls & 10% boys. I know other people who identify in a totally different way. And that's okay. It doesn't make them any less bisexual.

Leah struggles with not liking a boy as much as she thinks she should and I totally understood that too. To her, it felt like she should like this guy because he's overall a good person, but of course that's not enough. Not when she's falling for someone else. And she knows it's not fair to the guy to keep stringing him along. She does kinda string him along longer than she should have and that bugged me a bit.

Leah's affinity for calling out racism & all other kinds of discriminatory things made me grin. Especially when she calls out her so-called friend, Morgan for saying something racist about Abby. Yes, the very same Abby who I loved in Simon. Morgan tries to claim it as the truth which Leah promptly shoots down. Again, I love Leah.

Leah's relationship with her mom was really interesting to watch. I loved her mom, even when she said something like "My little prom fetus" Actually that quote made me laugh until I cried. I don't know why, I just loved it. I was worried Leah's mom's boyfriend, Wells, would be a creep, but he wasn't. He actually seemed to be a really cool guy from the little we saw of him. I did understand Leah's hesitancy on getting to know him. It had just been her & her mom for the longest time, and like a toddler, she didn't want to share her mom with anyone. Selfish, yeah probably, but my mom & I have that kind of closeness too so I was able to relate.

Overall, I liked the romance better in Simon, but I did still enjoy Leah's romance in this book. It made me smile & cheer in all the right places. I just love when a romance does that. It makes me happy. I didn't expect Leah to end up with this person, but I enjoyed the progression from friends to a couple.

Final thoughts: So good, especially the bisexual representation. Read it even if you haven't read Simon yet.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Fight a Lion to Get Early

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. 
This week I'm talking about books I'd fight a lion to get early.

Alexia's Picks
Okay, so I decided to split these up into two categories. One category is for the books that have had covers released & the second category is for books with no covers yet. FYI the abbreviation NCY stands for No Cover Yet.

1. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas. I was obsessed with Thomas's debut and yet I still haven't read her second release yet. I am very much looking forward to her third book. It looks amazing & right up my alley.

2. A Room Away From the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma. I am a new diehard Suma fan. I devoured two of her books in the past six months and recently bought another one of her books. I am SO excited to read what comes next from her. Plus that COVER!

3. Last Girl Lied To by L. E. Flynn. I was in love with the sex positive awesomeness that came in the form of Flynn's debut and I freaking LOVE this cover and cannot wait to read more of her words.

4. Death Prefers Blondes by Caleb Roehrig 
(NCY) I will ALWAYS read Caleb's words because he knows how to pull me into a book immediately and not let me come up for air until I'm done reading it. His twisty thrillers are awesome.

5. His Hideous Heart by Dahlia Adler 
(NCY) I am a SUCKER for anything Edgar Allen Poe related. Even though I am not a huge anthology fan, I'm totally making an exception for this one. Plus several of my favorite authors are contributing to this, so YAY!

6. Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz 
(NCY) I NEED this book. This looks EXACTLY like something I would write and I am so here for this book.

7. You Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno 
(NCY) I will read ANYTHING Leno writes. Even menus or TV schedules.

8. I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver 
(NCY) I am so stoked for this book and I have a feeling the wait is going to kill me. I need this book.

9. Starworld by Paula Garner & Audrey Coulthurst
(NCY) This is one of those books that I'd probably give up an organ for. Like a kidney or part of a lung or liver. I have a feeling I am going to LOVE this book.

10. Start Here by Trish Doller 
(NCY) I love Doller's words and I cannot wait to read more of them.

Would you fight a lion for any of these?