Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2020

In all honesty there are SO many Book Freak Out tags out there and this has been done for years now so I am not sure where the original one came from! And of course I have read and watched several! So…jumpin’ on the bandwagon here!
FreakOut Tag

1. Best book you’ve read so far
Out of 24 books read so far in 2020, I have rated 24 with 5 ⭐️’s. Of these, my favorite was Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I absolutely loved this book and cannot wait for the next book in this series to come out!

423690642. Best sequel you’ve read so far
I have read two sequels and one third-in-series. Of these, my favorite has been The Tea Dragon Festival! Unfortunately I haven’t read the first book but I just know that these books are so good, and obviously I loved this second book so the first book had to be great, right?

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
These are starting to gang up on me. It was my goal to read primarily backlist books this year but as the year goes on, I want to read 2020 releases! At this moment, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and Girl, Serpent, Thorn are most calling to me!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
I am looking forward to seeing what Naomi Novik has in store for us in her upcoming school-set book A Deadly Education, which releases September 29th. And then almost exactly a month later on October 27th Kerri Maniscalo’s new series releases and it looks so good–its called Kingdom of the Wicked.

5. Biggest disappointment.
For sure – Catherine House. I wanted to love it but it just wasn’t for me.

51qnk75gkhl6. Biggest surprise.
I have read two really great indie books so far this year, but of the two I will shout out Curse of Blood and Shadow by J.M. Kearl here. If you’re ever looking for a YA fantasy book off the beaten path and away from all of the hype, here is one to try. This book is set in a boarding school that unites four kingdoms and teaches the students magic and battle skills. In their midst is an assassin who is searching for the princess (the main character). There is enemies to very slow-burn to-be-continued love. There is wit and humor. The world building was great. This book really has everything, which is why I really enjoyed it and was very surprised by how great it was. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)
Ehh, I don’t know if I’ve really found a new favorite yet this year. I’m still working on that.

52198857._sx318_sy475_8. Newest fictional crush.
Darlington in Ninth House. I miss him so!

9. Newest favourite character.
Galaxy Stern in Ninth House! Plus her name is Galaxy. That’s pretty epic.

10. Book that made you cry.
A Constellation of Roses did get me thinking a bit but no actual tears were shed. Because of all the things going on in the world at this time, I have stayed away from the tear jerkers and the really rough content intentionally.

11. Book that made you happy.
This is an easy one. Despite the title, Only Mostly Devastated made me so happy (overall). The cast of characters was really great and even when Ollie (the main character) was a bit of a downer, he had his family or someone around him to help pick him up.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
Just got it in the mail yesterday: Mexican Gothic. I don’t know what it is, but man, the colors just POP! The magenta and the green are lovely! Its a relatively simple cover and I just love it! Can’t wait to dive in!

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Ha! All of them? Seriously though, I do want to continue on in a couple of the series that I resolved that I would. For example, read on to Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi and Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab. The first books to those were two of my favorites last year.

14. Favourite Book Community Member
First, Destiny @howlinglibraries. This woman reads SO much and I love consulting her platforms for recommendations across any genre and any diversity. Then there’s  Kim @booksontheknightbus. This girl works hard, reads hard, reps hard, and takes beautiful photos. She was my rep when I first started out with my book sleeves and now she is juggling a couple different bookish merch companies with active duty and she is just fabulous. My final pick is one I more recently started following and that is Kayla @booksandlala. I can’t help but choose her overall because she uses her huge platform for so much good. Also because I enjoy her content, but also, she posts activism and educational links and info every.single.day. on her social media. I posted her YouTube link, but she is so worth the IG follow as well.

And that’s the end! Please feel free to do this tag and tag me back if you do. I would love to see your responses!

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The Sunday Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

24957546Title: Dumplin’
Author: Julie Murphy
Page Count: 384 pages
Release Date: September 15, 2015

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From Goodreads: Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

~

Knowing that this is a book about a big girl getting up on stage and finding her courage, I thought I was going to connect with this book a lot more than I did. I did enjoy it at times, and then it was a little frustrating in some parts. Dumplin’/Will/Willowdean is hyped up to be such a confident character and apparently other people see it in her?? But I must be the only one who doesn’t. She really is not. I kept waiting for it and she has her big moment at the VERY END but that is it.

cb853daf-2ee7-465b-bc0e-80f44a4cac73._sl220__One of my pet peeves in books when there is a “fat” character is that the book typically revolves around the specific size number (and usually) it is isn’t really that big of a size to begin with. I’ve read size 8 fat books and size 14 fat books….yeah, there’s a little extra meat but not really fat. And granted, its body image and perception. But to get to my point, this book does not call numbers. As far as I remember, we never hear exactly how big Will is…nor Lucy nor Mollie. There are a couple fat analogies throughout the book but never anything exact. I liked that. Thank you, Julie!

So back to the book. I hated how Will treated the guys in this book. And how she thought about herself in terms of dating or not dating the guys. Come to think of it, I mostly hated how Will treated everyone in this book. Her “best friend,” the other girls in the book…Will was unfortunately a pretty shallow character. I completely understand that she has steeled herself due to past bullying but from how I view her, she is also hardening herself toward other people as well. I really wanted and expected more from her. To this day, I haven’t watched the Netflix movie, though I have heard its a big different. I have gone on to read Puddin‘, and I actually enjoyed it much more than Dumplin‘.

Have you read this book? Or seen the movie on Netflix? What did you think?

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April & May Wrap-up

Hey book fam! Time for another wrap up! I won’t spend time on the small talk. Let’s get right to the good stuff!

AprilMayWrapUp

– BOOKS READ –
🎧 No Judgements by Meg Cabot | 🌟🌟🌟
🎧 House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig | 🌟🌟🌟🌟
📚 Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert | 🌟🌟
📝 Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill | 🌟🌟🌟
🎧 A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson | 🌟🌟🌟🌟
📚 Magic Bound (Ravencrest Academy #1) by Teresa Kay | 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
📝 Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman | 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
🎧 Damsel by Elana K. Arnold | 🌟🌟🌟
📚 Curse of Blood and Shadow by J.M. Kearl | 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

– BOOKS HAULED –
Frozen: Conceal, Don’t Feel: A Twisted Tale
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

As for upcoming goals, with June being pride month, I definitely want to check out at least 2-3 LGBTQIAP+ reads. I haven’t determined what those will be, though I have at least one queer ARC to read. Also, I know I will be reading a couple BLM reads as well to support POC authors and educate myself on the current conversations. So this month will be very colorful and I am looking forward to it!

How was your reading last month? What are you looking forward to reading in June?

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A Few Diverse Recs

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Photo created by @_thebookcase

Hello book friend! I just wanted to put up a quick post expressing my support for black authors. This is just a very small sampling of YA books by black authors that come highly recommended. Several I have read, a couple are just on my shelves waiting to be read. I admit that I did not made the graphic myself, though I will link the artist’s IG page beneath the photo. I encourage you to check them out if you haven’t–use Goodreads, use Google, check your library. In light of everything that has been going on in the world, I recognize that I am not a great writer and I am nowhere near perfect. However, I also recognize that it is up to each of us to work to dismantle our internal biases and work to end racism in our social circles, our workplaces, in the books we buy and read, and in our countries. Please do your best do support POC authors now and always.

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Stay at Home Tag

home tag

Laying in Bed – book you could/have read in a day
My pick for this is Only Mostly Devastated. While I didn’t read this in a day, I could have. It was funny, relatable, and overall easy to read because it was so relatable. I couldn’t help but want to know what would happen next and I was rooting for all of the characters.

Snacking – guilty pleasure book
I recently participated in a big Twitter/blog conversation about not believing in ‘guilty pleasure’ books because, hell, we should all read what we want without feeling guilty. But if I have to answer for the sake of a tag, I do enjoy a good paranormal romance every now and again.

Netflix – series you want to start
The weather has been a little ominous  and dreary as of late so I have been craving some London. As such, the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy is calling to me. I have been wanting to read this for forever and just haven’t gotten to it but everyone raves about it and there’s so much merch to collect (just what I need, right?? lol).

Deep Clean – been on your TBR for ages
I have finally started reading Glass Sword (book 2 in the Red Queen series…I read book 1 about two years ago), and I am thinking of finally picking up This Savage Song or Illuminae. I know, I know…I am so behind on the times!

Animal Crossing – book you recently bought because of hype
I mean, books get hype because they are ‘good,’ right? Maybe? No? Okay. I just bought a copy of Shatter Me. Not that I don’t want to read it of my own volition, but I have SO many other thing on my TBR, I am overwhelmed and this is another series with a TON of hype so….there was a daily deal on it and I already have a hard copy and I snatched up the ebook version copy for cheap as well.

Productivity – book you learnt or had an impact on you
The Hunger Games trilogy is one that has always resonated with me. I have always loved Katniss as a character and the rebellion of the districts is so powerful. Honestly, I have a hard time putting into words everything that I feel about this trilogy, I feel so strongly about it.

Facetime – A book you were gifted
So far this round I have been gifted two great books by my ‘Secret Sister,’ alias Luna Lovegood: Well Met by Jen DeLuca and Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. Well Met was a 4.5-star read for me and RW&RB was a solid 5-star read!! Two great books!

sub-buzz-689-1590635315-1Self Care – what is one thing you have done recently to look after yourself
I’ve started taking my pup on short walks in the morning and it has been so nice! First, it is good for Obi because he has so much energy I like starting to burn that out early in the day (HA! I wish!). Then for me I move so much less in my work from home environment I just have to start getting out more. The little bit of fresh air in the morning is great for my attitude and energy so I’m proud of this accomplishment!

✨BONUS✨ – name a book coming out soon
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson. I just found this one today and it sounds super spooky-cool. It releases July 21st and went straight to my TBR.

So there you have it! If you are interested in this tag, please feel free to borrow and tag me in your post so I can read your answers! And definitely refer back to Princess of Paperback for the original tag!

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Sunday Review: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Author: Holly Jackson
Page Count: 400 pages
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
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From Goodreads: Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.

~

It feels like I have been seeing this YA thriller around everywhere lately, and I am a sucker for thrillers. They are my candy between fantasy reads and I just enjoy a good thriller now and again! So in this book, a girl named Andie Bell went missing five years ago and is presumed dead, murdered by Sal Singh only moments before he texted a confession to the crime along with a final suicidal farewell. The case was considered closed, but Andie’s body has never been found. Current day: Pippa Fitz-Amobi is determined to convince the police to re-open the case by starting her own investigation process as part of her Senior Capstone Project. The first place she goes is to Sal’s younger brother, Ravi, who soon becomes her partner. The interview and investigation list grows from there, as does the danger. The book is extremely plot-driven, and not much focused on character building. While we do see that our main character is very smart but quick to place names on her list of accused, and our sidekick is supportive and cheesy at times, there is not much more than that. Those who are interviewed are just all over the map in terms in individual personality and we are never drawn in to any of them really, but they are almost all people Pippa has known and been in contact with over the five years since the murder has taken place. This tragedy has just been idle for so long?

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is pretty much just that: a “guide.” I listened to the audiobook and the first quarter of the book (approximately) is interviews for main character Pippa’s Senior capstone project–casting doubt on the original murder investigation of her classmate. These interviews are recorded by different voice actors and are made to sound like actual evidential recordings. In the physical book, however, the story is told in different formats such as text messages and production logs. Basically whichever format you read, you are getting a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat “guide” to murder that really keeps you guessing!

I definitely have to award props for some great twists and turns. When I thought the book was going to be over, something new would happen. Or there would be something else that I would think “Wait, he said what now??” and we would be thrown for another loop. There certainly are a couple of potentially disturbing triggers in this book so if you have sensitivities, check out the trigger warnings at the end of the post. Overall though, I thought this was pretty darn good for a YA mystery/thriller. I’m going to leaf through a hard copy sometime, just to compare it to the audiobook and see what I missed out on. I like mixed media books so I’ll be checking that out. Until next time! 🙂

Potential trigger warnings: Mentions of verbal abuse, kidnapping, date rape drugs, selling drugs, murder, death–human and animal. 

Book soundtrack: Big Love by She Wants Revenge

Cover Reveal: Lyrics & Curses by Candace Robinson

I am excited to bring you today the cover reveal for an upcoming YA Fantasy Romance  described as Stranger Things meets Pretty in Pink. I am looking forward to this one, not only because of the description, but because I have followed this author for a while! Here are the details:

Lyrics & CursesTitle: Lyrics & Curses
Author: Candace Robinson
Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing
Release Date: November 10th 2020
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis: Lark Espinoza could get lost in her music—and she’s not so sure anyone in her family would even care to find her. Her trendy, party-loving twin sister and her mother-come-lately Beth, who’s suddenly sworn off men and onto homemaking, don’t understand her love of cassette tapes, her loathing of the pop scene, or her standoffish personality. For outcast Lark, nothing feels as much like a real home as working at Bubble’s Oddities store and trying to attract the attention of the cute guy who works at the Vinyl shop next door—the same one she traded lyrical notes with in class.

INSTA_LyricsAuden Ellis silences the incessant questions in his own head with a steady stream of beats. Despite the unconditional love of his aunt-turned-mother, he can’t quit thinking about the loss of his parents—or the possibility he might end up afflicted with his father’s issues. Despite his connection with lyric-loving Lark, Auden keeps her at arm’s length because letting her in might mean giving her a peek into something dangerous.

When two strangers arrive in town, one carrying a mysterious, dark object and the other playing an eerie flute tune, Lark and Auden find that their painful pasts have enmeshed them in a cursed future. Now, they must come to terms with their budding attraction while helping each other challenge the reflection they see in the mirror. If they fail, they’ll be trapped for eternity in a place beyond reality.

CandaceHere’s some info about the author, Candace Robinson

Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words and hoping to one day find her own DeLorean time machine. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, watching classic movies, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas–where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next!

| WordPress | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Bookbub |

And last but not least, Candace is hosting a GIVEAWAY! To participate, check out the https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Rafflecopter link right here!

ButtonXBTThis cover reveal brought to you by: XPresso Tours! Thanks for checking out this post!

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The Sunday Review: Curse of Blood and Shadow by J.M. Kearl

51qnk75gkhlTitle: Curse of Blood and Shadow
Author: J.M. Kearl
Page Count: 429 pages
Release Date: April 7, 2020

| Amazon |

From Goodreads: Cursed with visions of death. Cursed to die. Cursed to be a bloodthirsty monster. One thing is clear at the Allied Kingdoms Academy, curses abound and no one is safe.

I was born a cursed princess. A curse that makes me hesitant to touch anyone, afraid I’ll foresee their death and won’t be able to stop it.

As royalty of a warrior kingdom, I’m sent to train in weapons and magic at the new academy where dangerous, deadly, and ferocious could describe any of the students, myself included. It isn’t long before I foresee the death of a student and realize I’m not the only one cursed. Something darker, hungry, and murderous lurks in the shadows, and I must find out what it is.

When the ever pompous, arrogant— gorgeous prince from another kingdom suspects I know something is wrong, he tries to convince me he can help. It doesn’t matter that we hate each other, doesn’t matter that our kingdom’s rivalry is ages old, students could die. Prince Zyacus is one of the strongest and fiercest of us all but his hard heart might have one weakness— me, and I might be a target of the creatures out for blood.

Throne of Glass meets Harry Potter! If you love swoon-worthy enemies-to-lovers romance, fierce ladies, powerful dudes, magic, swords, and talking cats in an academy setting, then this is the series for you!

~

Curse of Blood and Shadow is the first book in Allied Kingdoms Academy by J.M. Kearl. I was drawn in to both the main character and the world from the very beginning and the entire story built up from there and I couldn’t get away.

gift-habeshaw-M6i3JxDn72Q-unsplashPrincess Visteal is part of the first class of students at the new Allied Kingdoms Academy, where the students of the four kingdoms come to study magic, language, and weaponry. She and her group of side characters, Legacy and Taz, make a great group, carrying on their mischief and uncovering new danger at the new school. And of course, what would a new school be without that rival prince who used to pick on you as a kid, now all grown up to torture you some more? Now Prince Zyacus is handsome and after the heart of the princess, but hearts are hard from past heartaches.

Really though, this is not a romance book (although I really enjoyed the three relationships which pop up within the story). Curse of Blood and Shadow is just as equally about the fantasy plot, which I found to be very well laid out. There was a decent mix of politics, lore/species, action, and whodunnit mixed throughout the book. I loved that this was a fairly lengthy book and I was never bored! And let me just say that, as someone who never likes fight scenes of any kind, I honestly read every single duel, battle, training session, etc. I loved everything about this book and I positively can’t wait for the next book!

Note: I received an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Book soundtrack: Youth by Daughter

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Wednesday Books Reader Fest!

So this week, one of my favorite publishing companies–Wednesday Books–is hosting an amazing event called WB Reader Fest. This is a weeklong virtual festival and is completely free for faithful readers and followers like me to join in at any time. Today was day 2 and I can’t contain my excitement anymore–I have to blog about it!

So today WB did a “Page Number Roulette” where they asked for random numbers and from these numbers, they selected page numbers from upcoming YA releases. Well of course, These juicy one-liners just aren’t enough. I needed to look up these books more in-depth (well-played, Wednesday!). Here are just a few of the books we have been talking about so far….

40032339The Mall by Megan McCafferty (releases 7/28/20) – A YA coming of age story set in a New Jersey mall. The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. The Plan: higher education and happily ever after. But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

51179882._sx318_sy475_Lobizona by Romina Garber (releases (8/4/20) – Manuela Azul has been living as an undocumented immigrant on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family. One day her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Manu sets out to investigate her past, which leads her to a secret world buried within our own–a world straight out of Argentine folklore.

40144224Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (releases 8/25/20) – A group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus. As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next. The Star, The Master, and The Magician kick off the first book in a fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

So these are just three of the SEVERAL books being buzzed about by Wednesday Books this week. I’m also checking out (but don’t have time to go into right now) More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn, Mayhem by Estelle Laure, The Lost City by Amanda Hocking, and MORE! Be sure to stop by WB’s Twitter and Insta pages for all of the happenings, and check out the full schedule here so you don’t miss anything!

Current Soundtrack: I’m Ready by Sam Smith & Demi Lovato

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Happy Easter!

93269173_243721913485793_649898680110809088_nHello everyone!

Happy Easter if you celebrate it!

Happy Sunday(or Monday) if you don’t. I hope you can find something to celebrate today either way.

What have you accomplished recently?

Have you finished any books today? This weekend?

Do you have any goals for this week?

You are amazing!