Mid Year Book Freakout Tag

This tag is a favorite of mine. A must do every year.

midyear

  • Best Book you’ve read so far in 2018: Priest by Sierra Simone
  • Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2018: Destiny’s Captive by Beverly Jenkins
  • New release you haven’t read yet, but want to: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Most anticipated release for the second half of the year: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
  • Biggest Disappointment: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
  • Biggest Surprise: Thirty Day Boyfriend by Whitney G
  • Favorite New Author (Debut/New to you): Melanie Harlow
  • Newest Fictional Crush: Grip from Kennedy Ryan’s Grip series
  • Newest Favorite Character: Likotsi from Once Ghosted, Twice Shy
  • Book that made You cry: Destiny’s Captive by Beverly Jenkins
  • Book that made You Happy: Inheritance by Dani Shapiro
  • Most beautiful Book you bought so far this year (or received):  I love the cover to The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
  • What books do you need to read by the end of the year?:  The ridiculous stack sitting on my dresser right now. I really want to binge Raeanne Thayne’s Hope Crossing series. I have an Anais Nin book I hauled and want to read. Really want to read Debbie Macomber’s new release!

 

Would love to see more answers to these questions. If you decide to do it, please let me know so I can see your responses. Until next time, take care of yourself. xo.

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Thoughts While Reading: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

“He kissed her like she was his whole world, and if she weren’t already kneeling, she would have collapsed to the floor.”

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May 12, 2019:

The Bride Test has a completely different vibe than The Kiss Quotient which I think will make or break it for some readers. I went into it like I’m sure others did, expecting the feel of the book to be the same as it’s predecessor and was a bit disappointed a few chapters into it when I realized these two books are not the same. Where The Kiss Quotient felt lighthearted, fun and sexy.. The Bride Test is an emotional roller coaster with a sprinkle of innocence, a dash of sexy and a teaspoon of frustration.

Esme is approached in her homeland of Vietnam by Khai’s Mother. She makes Esme a proposition that she wants to refuse but ends up going with. She travels to America for the summer to attempt and persuade Khai to marry her. Esme is a single mother, scrubbing toilets to support her daughter, her Mom and her Grandmother. Khai is on the autism spectrum. He has his routine. He knows what makes him comfortable and uncomfortable. He doesn’t want to get married nor have a family.

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As I’ve been making my way through, my emotions have been all over the place. I have been finding myself so frustrated. I questioned why I wasn’t feeling connected to this story, these characters.  Then I realized that must be how Esme feels with Khai. She eventually learns of his autism once he opens up to her, but that doesn’t meant she never goes without being confused. Why is acting this way? What did I say wrong? Why is he angry all of a sudden? I feel like Hoang wrote Khai so well that even on the outside looking in, Ive had my WTF moments. Khai isn’t a bad guy but he is hard to connect with.

He’s also innocent though. There is a scene where he really pisses Esme off:

“He would always be leaving her. Because she wasn’t what he wanted. She’d known this, but she’d thrown herself at him anyway. Foolish, foolish girl. As the water washed over her and heat sank into her skin, she swore everything stopped here. No more. No more secret hoping, no more seducing, no more caring about him. She was done. She wasn’t rich, classy or smart, but she wasn’t something you could use once and toss away. She had value. You couldn’t see it in the clothes she wore or the abbreviations after her name or hear it in the way she spoke, but she felt it, even if she didn’t entirely understand where it came from. It pounded inside her chest, big and strong and bright. She deserved better than this.”

My favorite scene happens after this. Khai goes to his older brother and cousin to figure out how he made her mad. He truly didn’t understand. The scene is hilarious and adorable at the same time.

Another reason Esme agreed to come to America is to search for her father. She had it pretty rough growing up mixed race and wants that connection. The point in the book I am, she has reached out to a few men she believes is her dad but has turned up unsuccessful. She has also yet to inform Khai about her daughter back home.

I have less than 100 pages left and am anxious to see how all of these open loops are closed and what happened between these two. The big secret I’m wanting to see revealed is Jade, Esme’s daughter and how Khai takes it.

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May 13, 2019:

“And she had nowhere to go. There was a great big world all around, and none of it was hers. Where did you go when you had nowhere?”

I finished The Bride Test today and have a lot of thoughts. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. I just couldn’t give it 5 simply because although I enjoyed Esme and Khai, there was still a lack of connection there that I wanted to feel. I don’t know if Hoang wanted this to be intentional but it frustrated me a bit.

The saving grace for me with this book is Esme. Friends, it is 2019 and Esme is the heroine we need. Esme represents what it looks like to leave everything you are familiar with, literally leave everyone and everything you love behind to take an opportunity. Regardless of what the opportunity looks like, she went for it. Unsure. Afraid. She traveled across the world. She falls in love. She gets disappointed..and she gets her shit together. Esme is the 2019 female. It was she, who made this story for me.

Everyone deserved to love and be loved back. Everyone. Even her.”

A lot of friends have already hit me up and called dibs on Quan..and I must say, my fingers are crossed that he gets a romance of his own. That would just be perfect. I loved how well he took care of Khai. How he had his back but would also call him out on his crap.

If you’re looking for a fun, spring time romance..I wouldn’t say this is it, but if you were a fan of The Kiss Quotient and want to continue on with the series for the sake of it, go for it. It was a good read but it is totally different from its predecessor. And I will add, before I go..I listened to this on audiobook and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the narrator, so tread carefully.

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Summer Romance Bingo *plans*

As soon as last year’s Summer Romance Bingo ended, I anxiously began waiting for the next go around. If you’re unaware, the Summer Romance Bingo I’m participating in is hosted by Sarah, from Steeped in Books on Youtube. I am so excited it is that time of the year again and with this go around Sarah has switched things up a bit in ways I think make it even more fun than last years.

Summer Romance Bingo

Important information you’ll need:

The Goodreads group can be found here.

To get a Bingo Card, click here.

Google Docs Folder can be found here.

Now, if you want a Bingo Card with prompts loaded in for you, be sure to click the link for the Bingo Card up above..but if you want to do things more your way, under the Google Docs Folder, Sarah has provided a blank Bingo card with 80 prompts to choose from.

I will drive myself crazy if I pick prompts and aim to stick with them. You know your girl is a mood reader..so I am going to just do my thing and read whatever I’m in the mood for and just casually knock prompts off that way. Obviously I want my blank bingo card to be full with 25 reads but the only real challenge I am setting for myself is to see if I can read 40 books. That’s alot of books to shoot for in three months, but I think it’ll be a lot of fun to try..especially in June because there are quite a few romance readathons taking place this month that may give me the boost I need to get stuff knocked out.

I will keep you all posted with my progress as things go. Maybe I’ll do an every 10 books read wrap up or something..we shall see. Wish me luck..and if you’re participating I hope you kick butt!! You can do this!!

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#SmutAThon TBR

Round 3 of #SmutAThon is kicking off tomorrow and your girl is excited. This has become one of my favorite readathons, so shoutout to Ginger from GingerReadsLainey and Riley from Riley Marie on Youtube for making it happen!

SmutAthon

This go around the ladies created a Bingo card to utilize throughout the week..

Bingo Card

Being that I work all week I’m not going to stress myself out even more and focus on the actual Bingo card or necessarily any of the prompts but I do have a few books Id like to get read and we’ll just kind of see how it goes.

First, on audio I’ll be listening to Imperfect Match by Corinne Michaels and Melanie Harlow.

Imperfect Match

I am a total Melanie Harlow fan and have yet to read a Corinne Michaels romance so I’m excited to see what together these ladies will do. I also have this on ebook so I’ll be able to follow along.

My next pick, is Wrong To Need You by Alisha Rai.

Wrong to Need You

Currently I have the audiobook for this downloaded on Scribd, but I’m not getting my hopes up. I’m already listening to a book on Scribd so I have a very big feeling that in their usual douchebaggery..this one will disappear as soon as I’m finished with my current read. If so, I do own a physical copy and checked out the ebook from the library to tag team it.

Also from the library, I have the audiobook of A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole.

A Duke by Default

Between having the physical copy along with the audiobook, I’m pretty sure I can finish reading this one during the readathon. I have been completely reading this series out of order. I recently finished Can’t Escape Love, which is from Reggie’s perspective and Reggie is the sister of Portia..who is the heroine in A Duke By Default. Portia was kind of a hot mess in A Princess in Theory so I’m excited to read her story.

I needed some Emma Hart on this list!

the roommate agreement

I for real want to read everything by Emma Hart at some point, but The Roommate Agreement seems like it’ll be the perfect mixture of fun and sexy which if this next week is anything like last week..I’ll need.

Lastly, some Sierra Simone.

a lesson in thorns

I wish so badly that there was an audiobook to A Lesson In Thorns by Sierra Simone. I have read a few pages into it and it seems very dark, and atmospheric and all around the kind of story I could get swept away by while listening. I do though, own both the physical copy and ebook and if I had to pick a main book for the week to accomplish, this would be it. It has been sitting on my nightstand for over a month now.

To everyone reading this and participating in the readathon, good luck to you! Let me know what you’re reading.

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May in Review

May was a blur.

may in review

Reading really came through for me this May. This May was full of crazy hot, long, stressful days and I really tailored my reading to escape. I wanted fun reads. I wanted light romances. I wanted sexy romances and in the end it turned out to be a good reading month.

Overall, I managed to read 11 books in May and will share a few favorites.

I loved The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren.

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The Unhoneymooners was a fun enemies to lovers romance with a fake marriage plot entangled into the story that I couldn’t put down. I haven’t read this author duo’s entire back list but I’d definitely recommend starting with this one to anyone new to their writing.

Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole was a quick read that will stay with me for a long time!

 

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I want to be besties with Reggie (our heroine) from this book. She doesn’t allow her circumstances to define who she is. She is self made. She’s a proud nerd. She blogs. It was so refreshing to see a woman of color as the heroine of her own story, fall in love and she was so damn relatable and so normal.

My third favorite from May was Unbroken Cowboy by Maisey Yates.

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I seriously need to go back and read the prior Gold Valley books but I’m kind of nervous to. I kind of feel like I know enough and need to just keep on reading whatever else comes out next. Unbroken Cowboy was so damn good. This is Dane and Bea’s romance. Dane is a hard headed, stubborn bull rider who was recently hurt and is being looked after by family friend Bea..whose been in love with him secretly for years. I’m sure you can see where this is going. I couldn’t get enough of these two!

bye may

In May, a co-worker of mine left to go to another base. It honestly never gets easier to see people leave but I am so excited for this new journey, new phase of her life. I am trying not to be selfish and dwell on how much it sucks without her around but it can be hard.

The four day weekend for Memorial Day was so very needed and I am so appreciative that it came. Sometimes I think it’s absolutely necessary to have nothing on the agenda to do but spend time lying on the couch doing nothing.

I am excited for June. My son turns 9 years old *can’t believe it* and my Granny turns 80. June 21st will also mark 14 years in the Air Force for me. I still remember the day I left home like it was yesterday. What I wish for myself in June is to practice patience with myself. To give myself a break. To set realistic expectations but also get ahead in areas that I need to. Use time management and get things done. We’ll see..

hello june

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

It is a gloomy Friday evening as I’m lounging on my sofa typing this post and I deserve this chill! Life is great at the moment, and my Friday mood was made even better because I finished A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole which I have been reading for the past few days..

A Princess in Theory is Book 1 in Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series

Published February 27, 2018 by Avon

Average Goodreads Rating of 3.84 Stars on Goodreads

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

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Synopsis:

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

 

My Thoughts:

“I feel like my entire life has been me trying to keep everything together, but right now I want to fall apart. And I want you to be the guy that makes me.”

Read This Book! I totally understand now why this book has been so hyped up. The hype this book receives is a huge part of the reason it took me so long to read it (finally)! I was nervous. I was a bit intimidated.

I honestly just want to share a few reasons why I think you should jump on the bandwagon like I finally did, and pick A Princess In Theory up.

  • Royalty romances are a pretty big deal, but when was the last time you picked one up where the Princess was a woman of color betrothed to an African Prince? I’ll wait. If royalty romances are your jam, I dare you to read this one that steps away from the norm and features two people of color. *triple dog dare*
  • Naledi, our heroine in A Princess in Theory grew up an orphan in New York City. Alyssa Cole wrote Naledi’s character so well. She is such a complex woman. There are so many layers to her. One minute she frustrated the hell out of me, the next I wanted to be her best friend and the next she had me totally confused. The big issue with Naledi is all of her life she was passed from one family to the next. She never felt as though anyone *chose* her. Alyssa Cole really captured the repercussions of that and showcased what life as an adult who experienced that can be like. Because of this Naledi doesn’t expect any of the relationships she has with people to be anything long term. She always has the mentality basically of, “why would they choose you?”
  • Thabiso! Prince Thabiso finds himself humbled real quick during his visit to NYC. I enjoyed the fake identity trope while it lasted. Seeing how much Thabiso enjoyed his time as Jamal really made me put into perspective how much work being a royal must be.
  • Likotsi. Okay, had I not already read Once Ghosted, Twice Shy I’d be begging for Likotsi to have a novel of her own but as I do..I read her novella before even reading this book. Likotsi is Thabiso’s assistance and I love her. She is so much more technologically advanced than basically everyone and I was here for it.
  • I think this romance did a fantastic job of looking at identity from the perspective of a woman of color who basically had no idea who she was thanks to her crappy upbringing. Naledi grew up the way she did, then finds herself on the complete opposite of the spectrum.
  • It shows what greed and hatred can push people to do.
  • Naledi is so smart and hustles her butt off. Even she, as smart as she is though, takes one co-workers crap one too many times before finally standing up for herself. And when she did, she got a Hell Yeah from me as I read it.
  • The romance was also very complicated. Naledi is Thabiso’s betrothed which he has known all of his life since they were kids. So it is literally them meeting as adults and rather than convincing her to marry him because she is supposed to, he has to do things her way. And I think the icing on the cake for me with this one is that Naledi didn’t have to leave her life behind because of Thabiso. She worked very hard to get where she is so seeing her not have to leave everything she worked for behind was great to see.

 

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Advice From a Jilted Bride by Piper Rayne

Advice From A Jilted Bride by Piper Rayne

Published March 18, 2019 by Piper Rayne, Inc

Average Goodreads Rating: 4.39 Stars

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Synopsis:

What’s a girl to do after being ditched at the altar by text message? That’s right. Text. Message.

How does she pick up the pieces and move on? I’m no Dear Abby but here’s a little free advice…

Advice #1 – First, purge your apartment of all things him—by tossing his belongings off the balcony.

Advice #2 – Do not, I repeat do not, throw anything out into the hallway because you’ll injure your hot new neighbor.

Advice #3 – When said neighbor brings over Chinese Food do not let him stay and keep you company. It’s awkward when you realize he’s your boss.

Advice #4 – Accept his offer to help you with your side business but think twice before using a date to his sister’s wedding as collateral.

Advice #5 – Investigate who your mystery neighbor really is. Don’t trust his word even if he’s the world’s best kisser.

If you listen to nothing else, pay attention to that last one. It’s the most important and will save you a lot of heartache.

Xo,
LOVESICK IN LAKE STARLIGHT

 

My Thoughts:

“I inch forward in the line, smiling at the little boy in front of me. I was hoping to have one of you in a couple years. Now I’ll be starting over. The entire process of meeting someone, dating them…I can’t even continue the thought, it sounds exhausting.”

Oooh honey, I can’t even imagine! The beginning of this book is sadly, hilarious. Brooklyn is ditched on her wedding date via text by her supposed to be groom, Jeff. I felt so bad for her but was instantly happy for her thanks to the support of her siblings. The bond between all of the Bailey’s was so strong, I felt it through the page. There is something about their love for each other that has me wanting each of them to have their own story so I can see them all happy and spend more time with them.

I feel like Piper Rayne is an author duo that deserves way more recognition than what I’m seeing. This is my second romance by them, yet I already have the feeling I won’t be disappointed as I make my way through their bibliography.

The romance between Brooklyn and Wyatt had a few things going on which kept me engaged in the story. For quite a few chapters there is the, “I don’t know my hot new neighbor is actually my boss,” storyline. Followed by the, “Fake Identity,” mixed with a little bit of the “Different social classes.” Although there were multiple tropes, the story flowed so well. 

I loved how although Wyatt didn’t know Brooklyn well..after learning about her being ditched and seeing that she’d basically locked herself in her apartment for a week, that he showed up with food and convinced her to watch some true crime rather than a rom-com.

*Brooklyn’s airport scene with Jess is classic* I will patiently wait for another f*ck you scene to top it!

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I think you should read Advice From a Jilted Bride if you’re looking for a fun romance with a lot going on. Obviously the romance is a big deal, but I also couldn’t get enough of Brooklyn’s siblings. Piper Rayne wrote these side characters well enough that you get just enough of them to be interested and wanting more while also allowing Brooklyn to have her own story.

The romance between Brooklyn and Wyatt didn’t feel rushed at all and yes they do come from totally different worlds, but it was nice to see this new world he’s found humble him.

I definitely think it’s worth a read.

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