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5 best beach reads of 2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

15 comments




Summer for me means extended weekends with long walks on the beach and plenty of time to relax on the hammock while reading a book.  Sadly, summer goes by too quickly, and before we know it, it's Labor Day!
The good news is that there's still time to catch up on your reading, so go ahead and enjoy these last weeks of summer, take another vacation (or relax in your backyard), go to the beach, but whatever you do, take time to read these page-turners!


RECURSION by Blake Crouch
I’m a sci-fi fan and even though the whole concept of time-travel has been explored in a lot of books and movies, Crouch was able to explore a new angle, one that merged actual scientific advances into a fictitious reality that might not be too far from the near future.
His narrative is fast-paced, leaving the reader with no time to think twice when turning the pages.  To make it even more interesting, there’s also a love story ♥.

SUMMER HOURS by Amy Mason Doan
This book has everything that you want in a summer read. The perfect California coast, a love triangle, best friends, college life and the choices we all have to make while growing up.  A real coming of age story about the choices we make and the dreams we forget along the way. A beautiful story. Very well written. Impossible to put down.

THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL by Abbi Waxman
A refreshing, often hilarious tale of a geeky book addict that at first seems socially awkward, but really could use some TLC.  It's easy to fall in love with Nina, her book buddies and kick-ass trivia team.  Life couldn't be more perfect! Until she meets Tom, inherits a family, and has to learn to deal with life’s surprises.

MEET CUTE by Helena Hunting
Don't be fooled by the cute cover.  This book has all the feels.  It's loaded with a roller coaster of emotions, from tragedy and family-drama to humor and swoon-worthy scenes (and OMG, talk about passionate)! It’s also full of charm and you can’t help but fall in love with the main characters as well.

STORM & FURY by Jennifer L Armentrout
With her typical snarky and swooning characters, Armentrout delivered yet another action-packed fantasy! A world of demons, ghosts and shape-shifting GARGOYLES, plus one kick-ass heroine with a small disability, just made this storyline SO unique!!!
Shhh! It's ok to be impatiently waiting for book 2 to come out...


Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. 
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5 Magical Trilogies Worth Binge Reading

Thursday, July 25, 2019

7 comments

#ACOTAR


As I was taking pictures for the #Bookstagram challenge #throwbackthursday, I came up with the idea of a blog post about my favorite trilogies!

Do you have a favorite one?

There are a lot of great trilogies (seriously, a LOT) out there, and the best part about reading a series that all volumes have already been published is you can find them in the library, and don't have to wait for the next book to come out.

So go ahead, step onto the magical carpet and binge read them all!

My Top 5 MAGICAL TRILOGIES worth BINGE READING are:


A brilliant plot of epic proportions!
One girl gets dragged into a magical world.  She doesn't know yet, but the High Lord is hoping she will break the curse (no, this is not a Beauty & The Beast re-telling).  
I love how the story includes friendship, PTSD, diversity, emotional abuse, shame and monsters...yes so many monsters. And how some monsters only want to be seen, to be shown kindness...And in the midst of all the fighting and betrayals, the most beautiful love story unfolds.  I know it might sound cheesy, but this series put SJM on the auto buying shelf.
There's a particular  scene in the last book that will stay with me for a while.
And the speech the High Lord of the Night Court gave his inner circle before the final battle needs to be framed in order to be remembered forever.


The world of Shadowhunters goes back to the Victorian age in London.  Evil forces are descending into London and one young lady has the power to stop it all.  Oh, and there's a love triangle. 
This is not your usual love triangle. This is a beautifully crafted tale of love+friendship+respect. A masterpiece. The writing is easy to follow and the characters developed seamlessly. The added sarcasm is a gift also. I have to admit that I didn't expect to love this trilogy so much and even if you never really got into the Shadowhunter mania, go ahead and try this series!




A world with magical creatures: Witches, Vampires and Daemons. 
An enchanted manuscript.
Diana Bishop, a descendant of the Salem Bishop Clan, is about to find out that she is the most powerful witch alive. Her parents were murdered when Diana was young and she has decided to live her life without using magic. 
Here comes Matthew Clairmont, a jaw-dropping good looking vampire who is also a geneticist.
Daemons are abnormalities. They are geniuses that can be born from humans, have different powers and are everywhere. 
Anyway, when Diana somehow calls the enchanted manuscript, she unknowingly sends out an universal alarm that makes all magical creatures (good and evil) aware of who she is. She can no longer hide. Matthew decides to protect Diana (well, she doesn’t know how to use her powers yet). 
To make matters worse, it is forbidden for a witch to fall in love with a vampire. 
Guess what happens next…


Alina, an orphaned girl who lives in the Kingdom of Ravka, finds out she has magical powers, Grisha.   Grisha are citizens of Ravka who are able to use magical abilities. Each Grisha is able to perform one specific power.
The leader of the Grisha, the Darkling, convinces Alina to train with other Grisha and learn to control her abilities.  As Alina struggles to fit into her new life, a threat to the kingdom of Ravka grows—one that will test old alliances and challenge the very limits of magic, one that will take a frightened girl and forge her into a leader.



THE FOLK OF AIR by Holly Black 

(book 3 is coming out at the end of this year, so by the time you're finished reading all of the above, you won't have to wait at all).
The world of Faerie is magical, rich and colorful, but its residents are untrustworthy. For Jude and her twin sister Taryn, growing up in Faerie was no small task. Both sisters want very much to belong, yet, each one has a very specific idea of what kind of life they want to live in the Courts of Faerie.  
Faerie can't lie but they can twist their words in a special way that makes the reader's mind spin. There are enemies everywhere. The amount of political intrigue and attention to detail is phenomenal.  Be ready to enter a world of bullies, betrayals, jealousy and one girl that will defy it all.


*Note: The links above are affiliate links and if you purchase any of these books, I may get something in return.
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Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

Sunday, June 30, 2019

17 comments


End of June already?  How in the world did we get here so fast? I guess it's time to take a deep look at the books I read so far (without freaking out)!   I was here thinking of what the best way to write this post when I came across the Mid-Year-Freak-Out-Book-Tag! No, I wasn't tagged, but hey, I was never shy and I'm not about to start now...

As far as I can tell, the #midyearfreakoutbooktag was originally created by booktubers "Read Like Wildfire" and Earl Grey Books , but I was not able to locate one of them on YouTube.


BEST BOOK you've read so far in 2019?

This was the first book I read from Blake Crouch and it blew my mind away!
You can read my full review here .


🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

BEST SEQUEL you've read so far in 2019?

 Without a doubt that would be #ACOMAF by Sarah J. Maas!  If you haven't read this series, I suggest you run (don't walk) to the nearest library to grab it!  You're still here?


🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

NEW RELEASE you haven't read yet but want to?

I loved The Night Circus so I'm really looking forward to reading The Starless Sea!
Ok, I know that this book won't be released till later in the year, but if I could only get an Advance Review Copy...


🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

Most ANTICIPATED RELEASE for the second half of 2019?

I already pre-ordered Leigh Bardugo's new book, Ninth House and I have a feeling I will be waiting by my door on the day of the delivery 🖤


🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤


BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT?

Ok, I'm probably the only person that might think that, but I DNF Caraval 😟
It just didn't do it for me.



BIGGEST SURPRISE?

The Hype is real! If you ever wished you could combine Star Trek with a sparkle of Guardians of the Galaxy, look no further.  Aurora Rising has it all! 


🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

Favorite NEW to you AUTHOR?

I just recently read Pachinko for my Book Club and it was, quite simply, one the most memorable books I have ever read!  Min Jin Lee became a favorite!

🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤


Newest FICTIONAL CRUSH?

Daxton Hughes from Meet Cute by Helena Hunting.  I'd love to be the girl sharing that milkshake with him (among other things)...


🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤


Newest FAVORITE CHARACTER?

Sixteen-year-old Bri! She turns her anger into lyrics and uses her voice to tell everyone about the injustices of the world we all live in...That's what  I call #GIRLPOWER !


🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤


Book that made you CRY?

When I finished reading Speak No Evil, I wanted to shout, or maybe go out for a walk, or get drunk, but instead, I just sobbed on the couch.  How can such a short novel (215 pages) pack such an emotional punch?  You need to read it yourself and let me know what you think...


🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤


Book that made you HAPPY?

The Music Shop is an irresistible love story about two very different people and the music that brings them together.  A treasure to be cherished by all music and book lovers! 


🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

Favorite Book-To-Movie ADAPTATION you saw this year?

Written with the funny & intelligent lines that are common in all Gaiman’s novels, except this one was written with Terry Pratchett, and the result is a satirical novel that makes you keep thinking how crazy some of the lines sound, because they actually make sense...


🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤


Favorite REVIEW you've written this year?

That's a tough question.  I like every review I write.  I do it because I enjoy it, so it's not an obligation, it's my opinion.  I'm not sure I can choose an all-time favorite, but maybe the one that touched me the most, which was Recursion by Blake Crouch.

🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤



Most BEAUTIFUL BOOK you've bought so far this year?


🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

What BOOKS do you need to READ by the end of this year?

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black and Storm and Fury by Jennifer L Armentrout and
SO many others that I find difficult to name all!



🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

There you have it.  I'm not going to tag anyone so feel free to #TAG yourself, and let me know if any of these books made to your list as well! 
✌🏼
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Recursion by Blake Crouch

Friday, June 21, 2019

9 comments

#AudiobookReview

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Recursion by Blake Crouch

Release date: June 11th, 2019
Genre:  Sci-Fi / Thriller
Published by Penguin Random House Audio
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ My Goodreads Rating

BOOK BLURB:

Barry Sutton is driving home from another long shift as an NYPD detective when the call comes in. A woman is threatening to commit suicide, and someone’s got to try to talk her down. Only as he stands on the rooftop, mere inches away from her, does he realize that the woman is infected with False Memory Syndrome, a mysterious disease that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. When Barry is unable to save her, he’s rocked to his core–not only by her death but the fear that he’s been exposed to this devastating illness.

Helena Smith is a brilliant but frustrated neuroscientist. If she could only get the funding, she’s sure she could build the ambitious device she’s long imagined–one that would allow people to preserve their most intense memories and relive them whenever they want. So when a billionaire entrepreneur offers to bankroll her project, she jumps at the opportunity–even if there are some strange conditions attached.

As Helena’s efforts yield stunning results, Barry investigates the mystery behind the woman he failed to save. He finds himself on a journey as astonishing as it is terrifying, ultimately revealing the true danger posed by Helena’s invention–and a plot that could bring about the end of reality as we know it.

Weaving together Barry’s story and Helena’s in ways even the savviest reader will never guess, Recurson is a brilliant science fiction thriller about time, memory, and the illusion of the present, built on our inability to escape the flashbulb moments that define us.


MY THOUGHTS:

If you haven’t read Blake Crouch’s latest book yet, I have no doubt that once you do, it will be the only thing you’ll want to talk about for DAYS!!!
The book synopsis makes you believe that there’s a new disease, FMS (False Memory Syndrome), except, FMS doesn’t even scratch the surface of everything this story throws at you.  It’s mind-twisting and it left me doubting reality as I know it.  I remember feeling this way when I watched Inception, except I was never quite satisfied at the end of that movie…but Recursion was EXCEPTIONAL!!!

Sorry, I’m rambling...

  I’m a sci-fi fan and even though the whole concept of time-travel has been explored in a lot of books and movies, Crouch was able to explore a new angle, one that merged actual scientific advances into a fictitious reality that might not be too far from the near future.
His narrative is fast-paced, leaving the reader with no time to think twice when turning the pages.  To make it even more interesting, there’s also a love story ♥.

“Time is an illusion, a construct made out of human memory. 
There’s no such thing as the past, the present, or the future. 
It’s all happening now.”

  It was a bit hard to keep track of the dates and timelines from the audiobook, but once I started writing down a few important dates, it got a lot easier to follow.  There’s really nothing that I disliked in this book.

“Life with a cheat code isn't life. Our existence isn't something to be engineered or optimized for the avoidance of pain. That's what it is to be human - the beauty and the pain, each meaningless without the other.”

I’m waiting for Recursion to be adapted from book-to-movie so I can place it with the TOP 5 “time-travel” movies :
1. Dr. Who (the original Time Lord)
2. Back to the Future
3. Looper
4. Terminator
5. Inception

CONCLUSION:
If you could go back in time to change an old memory, even though the impact to the timelines might be impossible to predict, would you do it?

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Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Thursday, May 23, 2019

7 comments

Book Review

BOOK REVIEW: Meet Cute by Helena Hunting

Release Date: April 9th, 2019
Genre: Romance / Rom-Com
Published by Forever
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  My Goodreads Rating


BOOK BLURB:

Talk about an embarrassing introduction. On her first day of law school, Kailyn ran - quite literally - into the actor she crushed on as a teenager, ending with him sprawled on top of her. Mortified to discover the Daxton Hughes was also a student in her class, her embarrassment over their meet-cute quickly turned into a friendship she never expected. Of course, she never saw his betrayal coming either...

Now, eight years later, Dax is in her office asking for legal advice. Despite her anger, Kailyn can't help feeling sorry for the devastated man who just became sole guardian to his thirteen-year-old sister. But when her boss gets wind of Kailyn's new celebrity client, there's even more at stake than Dax's custody issues: if she gets Dax to work at their firm, she'll be promoted to partner.

The more time Kailyn spends with Dax and his sister, the more she starts to feel like a family, and the more she realizes the chemistry they had all those years ago is as fresh as ever. But will they be able to forgive the mistakes of the past, or will one betrayal lead to another?

MY THOUGHTS:

What would you do if you stumbled into your TV crush? (Taylor Kinney, I'm talking to you)!  
I'm very clumsy and I can just picture myself saying all the wrong things and totally acting like a fool... 

#MeetCute is a SUPER Cute, romantic story, that was impossible to put down. I started reading it in the middle of Saturday afternoon and only stopped it because I needed to go to bed. I finished it first thing on Sunday morning ☕️.

Don't be fooled by the cute cover.  This book has all the feels.  It's loaded with a roller coaster of emotions from tragedy and family-drama to humor and swoon-worthy scenes (and OMG, talk about passionate)! It’s also full of charm and you can’t help but fall in love with the main characters as well. It totally surpassed my expectations and now I want to read Helena Hunting’s other books 📚

If you're looking for a great book to read this summer, pick this one up! You won't regret it. 😉

Needless to say, I'm a fan now!!!♥

“I think it’s interesting that you have a thing for the teenage version of me 
but you’re not all that fond of the real, adult version.” 

#MeetCute left me with such a happy feeling in the end, that I just had to create a playlist 🎧:

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Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

10 comments


#AuroraRising #Squad312

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Aurora Rising

by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Release date: May 7th, 2019
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi
Published by Penguin Random House Audio
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ My Goodreads Rating

BOOK BLURB:
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy's biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger-management issues
A tomboy pilot who's totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty's squad isn't even his biggest problem--that'd be Aurora Jie-Lin O'Malley, the girl he's just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler's squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.


MY THOUGHTS:
A squad of misfits. A girl frozen in space over 200 years.  An ordinary mission turned into an intergalactic heist, filled with action, sarcasm, and the possibility of inter-species love…

If you ever wished you could combine Star Trek with a sparkle of Guardians of the Galaxy, look no further.
Aurora Rising has it all!

“They're not the heroes we deserve. They're just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.”

Aurora Rising is told from seven POVs.  We’ve got:

Ty - the Alpha
Scarlet - the Face
Cat - the Ace
Kal - the Tank
Zila - the Brain
Fin - the Gearhead
Auri - the Mystery Girl

As the team plots their mission (heist) to break into an impenetrable space fortress , we start learning about these characters and their strengths.  They might not belong anywhere else, but they do belong together…

What impressed me the most was how Kaufman/Kristoff duo developed the characters and this futuristic world.  Honestly, the character development in this book blew my mind away.  Each character was given enough background, vivid details and unique personality traits, that I was stunned to realize the audiobook was only 14hrs long.

And while I don’t usually read sci-fi, I really enjoyed Aurora Rising.  I was rooting for Squad 312 and hoping they would all make it to the other side, mainly because I am super curious to find out what else is in store for them.
Are they going to save the galaxy?
Will a romance (or two) develop as well?
Is it a mere coincidence that they are graduates of The Aurora Academy and the girl they found frozen in space is called Aurora?

I’ll leave you with the Aurora Academy quote:

“We, The Legion
We, The Light
Burning Bright Against the Night”.

Note: The audiobook narrators did a Terrific job in this one! There are as many narrators as main characters, which makes it super easy to follow the story when the POV changes

Thank you @PRHaudio for the free #audiobook copy in exchange for an honest review.
All opinions are my own.

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Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

Monday, April 29, 2019

14 comments


#speaknoevil

BOOK REVIEW: Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

Release Date: March 6, 2018
Genre: Fiction / LGBT / Contemporary
215 Pages
Published by Harper
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ My Goodreads Rating


BOOK BLURB:

In the long-anticipated novel from the author of the critically acclaimed Beasts of No Nation, a revelation shared between two privileged teenagers from very different backgrounds sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences.

On the surface, Niru leads a charmed life. Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., he’s a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer—an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, his best friend, the daughter of prominent Washington insiders—and the one person who seems not to judge him.

When his father accidentally discovers Niru is gay, the fallout is brutal and swift. Coping with troubles of her own, however, Meredith finds that she has little left emotionally to offer him. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed.

In the tradition of Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, Speak No Evil explores what it means to be different in a fundamentally conformist society and how that difference plays out in our inner and outer struggles. It is a novel about the power of words and self-identification, about who gets to speak and who has the power to speak for other people. As heart-wrenching and timely as his breakout debut, Beasts of No Nation, Uzodinma Iweala’s second novel cuts to the core of our humanity and leaves us reeling in its wake.


MY THOUGHTS:

Some book reviews are really easy to write...others, not so much.
Why is that? You might ask.
Because every now and then you encounter a book so extraordinary, with such a powerful message, that all of a sudden you lose the ability to form words.
Speak No Evil is one of these books.

When I finished reading it, I wanted to shout, or maybe go out for a walk, or get drunk, but instead, I just sobbed on the couch.  How can such a short novel (215 pages) pack such an emotional punch?
This book covers so many different issues (race, sexuality, religion, culture tradition, privilege), that I'm certain I won't be able to even give all the kudos it deserves.

“On the bad days, there is no color. I know there are colors. I can see the colors, but the world looks gray. The sounds are muffled by a crackling web of static that sits behind my eyes and buzzes in my ears.” 

Through this heartbreaking story about coming of age in a conservative immigrant family, Iweala takes us on a journey of self-discovery with Niru, who is torn between the guilt of not being the son his parents expect him to be and the freedom to accept (and love) who he truly is.  His brother OJ, advises him to not pick fights he can't win, when it comes to their parents, but Niru finds it hard to believe his brother would suffer the same judgement from their father.     

“I'm late, the kind of late that suggest I have no regard for the emotional health of my Nigerian parents who probably think I've been kidnapped by the enemies of progress.”

The story was beautifully written, with a natural flow and page-turning effect.  The characters felt realistic, specially with the recent prejudice events we watch on the news.  As we follow Niru and his friend Meredith through the differences in family values and culture, we see how easy it is for the human race to hate one another simply because of being different.

“I'm still me, I want to say to him, your son, but that would hardly help if I am currently everything wrong with the world.”

My final take is that this book should be a requirement in high school.
All teenagers should read it.
All parents should read it.
Everyone. Should. Read. This. Book.







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