Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday Muse (16)

Hey fam! Happy Monday! Or something - are Mondays ever really happy? Let's change that! Today I'm sharing another Monday Muse post, which features my hobbies other than reading.

Happy MLKJ Day! Martin Luther King, Jr. was (and still is) such an important figure in United States history, and I'm honored to celebrate the day in his honor. We are still fighting hard for equal rights, but the fight would be nowhere without Dr. King.

In coloring news, I haven't colored in my new Johanna Basford planner at all! I'm not sure what's wrong with me, but it hasn't been a great start to the year in terms of coloring. Hopefully this week!

In book news, I am SO EXCITED to tell you all that I have read my first book of 2019! And I loved it! Wrong Bed, Right Roommate by Rebecca Brooks was fantastic.

You can check out my review HERE, and a steamy excerpt HERE.

I'm working on this one right now:

Pan (a Neverland novel Book 1)

Also in book news - I finally posted something new on my bookish Instagram, theeaterofbooks!

Preorder Bloodwitch! Read Bloodwitch! I still need to read it, but I've preordered it. I want those buttons (in addition to getting a hardcover for more collection)!

In photography news, I've bought that photography class on Udemy! It's a lot to take in, so I'll be slowly working my way through that over the next few weeks. 

Here are some of my recent sunrise photos!

Baltimore; January 16th, 2019.

Baltimore; January 17th, 2019.

And in vacation news, I was in southwest Florida from January 12th to January 14th! Here are some very brief highlights. Go to my personal Instagram - @alyssasadventuresinwonderland - for more gorgeous photos!

Centennial Park

Manatee Park

Manatee Park

Siesta Key

Longboat Key

Sanibel Island

Finally, I have to share this song I've been introduced to. I loooove this song. I'm obsessed!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Science in Fiction (#46): The Wild Lands by Paul Greci

Welcome to this month's Science in Fiction feature! Science in Fiction is a meme I created to showcase the wonderful aspects of science in Young Adult fiction novels. For more information and previous feature, check out the "Science in Fiction" tag!

This month, I'm featuring The Wild Lands by Paul Greci!

The Wild Lands
(Click on the cover to go to Goodreads!)

Full disclaimer: I have not read this book. However, I can tell from the summary that there are some hardcore environmental aspects within the story. In this book, Alaska has been cut off from the rest of the world, due to natural disasters. Hence the title - the state has "regressed" to the wild. It's full of wild animals and the destitute survivors looking for a better life. Travis and Jess are two survivors in search of civilization.

This got me thinking about the USA's current political situation, and how it is affecting our national parks. If you weren't aware, the USA government is partially shut down, and has been for almost a month. This partial shutdown affects many sectors of the government, and many federal workers have been without pay for weeks. 

The national parks are heavily affected. The national parks have been very understaffed due to the partial shutdown, and because of this, the national parks are left more unsupervised than usual. Trash isn't taken out of the parks, bathrooms aren't cleaned, security isn't maintained... the national parks could take years to recover.

Want an example? Look at the plight of the Joshua Tree National Park in southern California. Photos have made their way around the internet, showing a cut tree, and illegal campsites. Now, illegal campsites might not seem like a big deal, but national parks have designated camping areas for a reason. And cutting down the Joshua trees? That's definitely a big deal. Vandalism has no place anywhere, and certainly not in a national park. 

A group of people set up camp on an illegal camp site, David Smith told National Parks Traveler.
Photo from the National Park Service, found on CNN.

Obviously this situation is not as extreme as what is described in The Wild Lands. But it makes you think, right? One large natural disaster could destroy an area forever. One big political decision could do that too. Perhaps my takeaway from this is: support national parks. Appreciate all federal workers and they do. Be kind to nature. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Stacking the Shelves (#317)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, January 13th to Saturday, January 19th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

The Wicked King preorder incentive pin & bookmark
IceyDesigns "Duty First Unto Death" pin
The Wicked King Owlcrate pin

So much awesome swag! I got my preorder swag from Little, Brown, a "Duty First Unto Death" pin from a very nice trader, and the Owlcrate pin from Brooke! Thank you! I do love pins

That was it in terms of books for me! I actually read and reviewed a book, y'all! Wrong Bed, Right Roommate was fantastic. 

Some of you may know that I went to Florida last weekend. it was beautiful and fun and SO WARM. Conveniently enough, it snowed here in Baltimore on Saturday night, hours before my flight to Florida. I got lucky! I had a great mini vacation. =)

Friday, January 18, 2019

Review: Wrong Bed, Right Roommate by Rebecca Brooks

Wrong Bed, Right Roommate by Rebecca Brooks
Book One of the Accidental Love series
Publisher: Entangled
Publication Date: January 14, 2019
Rating: 5 stars
Source: eARC from the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

It's not every day you wake up to a stranger getting into your bed.
Only, he isn't a stranger at all, he's my best friend's hot older brother…and apparently my new roommate.
Having him in my space, driving me crazy, isn't a problem at all. Nope.
All I need to do is keep control of the situation…
But that's easier said than done.

Shawn Lassiter is the kind of distraction I don't need.
First he accidentally gets into my bed, half-naked, the night before my first day at my new job.
Hello, muscles and tattoos!
Then he's there, in nothing but a towel, making me coffee in the morning.
It's more than any girl can resist. Right?
But Shawn is off-limits, even if his eyes are saying differently.

Years ago, back when I still had my crush, he destroyed friendships with his reckless playboy antics.
There's no way I'm touching those perfectly formed abs now. I don't care how nice and responsible he's acting.
I don't want a boyfriend anyway. That's what my trusty vibrator is for.
I'm the smart girl—the glasses-wearing, book-reading workaholic. I can totally do this.
After all, it's only for two and a half months.
I'll be on my best behavior...even if Shawn isn't.

What I Liked:

It has been a minute since I read a book, and a longer minute since I reviewed one! I've been in a bit of a slump for months. But I decided to try and read something while on the plane to Florida, and this book got my attention. As soon as I started reading, I was pulled right in and didn't stop reading until I was finished. I finished this book in the two-hour flight to Florida and I have no regrets. This was exactly what I needed to remind myself of how much I love reading.

Jessie and her best friend Talia are roommates in NYC. Jessie recently got a new job in the publishing industry. Everything seems to be perfect - her first day is coming up - when she finds out that Talia's subletter backed out of the arrangement. Enter Talia's older brother - literally. Jessie wakes up to find him in her bed (by accident!). Talia gives Shawn her room in the apartment for the summer, which Jessie finds out the hard way. Talk about a surprise! What ensues is some undeniable chemistry, forbidden love, and a little drama that no one expected or wanted. But it's just for the summer... right?

I love forbidden romance, so that premise got me hooked right away. It's a forbidden romance because Jessie would never want to hurt her best friend in any way - like hooking up with Talia's manwhore brother. Growing up, Jessie saw exactly how Shawn operated when it came to girls; she always had a crush on him, but knew better. Years later, after finding him in her apartment, Jessie can't deny that she is very much attracted to him. And Shawn - well, he knows better to sleep with one of Talia's friends. He never really noticed Jessie when they were younger, but a grown Jessie? He can't not notice her.

Jessie is a sweetheart! She works really hard and worries a lot, so I could easily relate to her. She brings work home and tries to do above and beyond all the time, leaving little time for anything else. I felt for her! She needed someone easygoing in her life. Shawn is very easygoing and laid back, but he is also a hard worker and a creative thinker. He is trying to show everyone that he is taking life seriously and making positive changes in his life. Both of these characters have a lot of depth to them - they're relatable in many ways.

The chemistry between Shawn and Jessie is sizzling! There is some really well-written tension, and then things get really heated between them. I love the whole "we-can't" aspect - they can't deny themselves, and it's fun to watch that unfold. The sexy times are very sexy!

There is no love triangle, or anything shady like cheating or alpha-hole-ness or anything like that.

I also loved how Shawn and Jessie grew as adults, in this story. Both of them were dealing with brand-new jobs, fresh starts, navigating new lives. They both had to focus on their careers, and they encouraged each other along the way. It was really cool to see two young twenty-somethings struggle with adulting, but they struggled together.

There is a tiny bit of drama at the climax of the story, when Talia (inevitably) finds out about Shawn and Jessie. But it is resolved very quickly, and the happily-ever-after is perfect. I usually don't like drama in romance novels, but this drama felt minimal and almost necessary. 

I loved this book! I will definitely be looking for more books in the series.

What I Did Not Like:

There wasn't anything specific that I can say I didn't like? Maybe more juicy scenes!

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend this book, if you're looking for steamy contemporary romance. This book took me out of a months-long reading slump. It was so light and enjoyable, but also sexy and thought-provoking. Maybe as a twenty-something who is looking for her own romance, I saw a lot of myself in this book and in Jessie. This was a great story for me!


5 stars. I'm so glad I loved this book because I was really hoping that I would! It had so many elements that I love - forbidden romance, sexy alpha (but not alpha-hole) hero, hard-working smart heroine, roommates to something more... this was fantastic. I can't wait to read more!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Swoon Thursday (#312): Wrong Bed, Right Roommate by Rebecca Brooks

- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting

This week, my swoon is from Wrong Bed, Right Roommate by Rebecca Brooks!

Wrong Bed, Right Roommate

"We can't do this," she said, looking up at him, trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

"I know."

"Talia would freak."

"I know."

"And we're living together."

"I know."

"Then what are we - "

He kissed her again. The question fizzled inside her as soon as his lips were on hers, replaced with the champagne bubbles she felt just from being around him. She kissed him back, touching him, tasting him, his mouth warm and searching, her tongue moving with his.

- eARC, 33%

I loved this book! This is one of my favorite scenes. The forbidden romance aspect is superbly written. Also, for context, Talia is the hero's sister (and best friend of the heroine).

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday (#316): Hungry Hearts

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

Hungry Hearts, edited by Caroline Tung Richmond and Elsie Chapman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: June 11, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

From some of your favorite bestselling and critically acclaimed authors—including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco—comes a collection of interconnected short stories that explore the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of thirteen teens.

A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the confections she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that could cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.

Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.

Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home. 

Food! Love! Two of my favorite things. This anthology sounds awesome!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday (36)

Happy Tuesday! Today I've decided to participate in Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today's topic is:

New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

E. Elizabeth Watson - author of The Maiden's Defender

The Maiden's Defender

Chantal Fernando - author of Ace of Hearts, Knuckle Down, and Going Rogue

Ace of Hearts (The Cursed Ravens MC, #1)  Knuckle Down (The Cursed Ravens MC, #2)  Going Rogue (The Cursed Ravens MC, #3)

Amy Jarecki - author of Beauty and the Barbarian

Beauty and the Barbarian (Highland Force, #3)

Shannon Klare - author of Surviving Adam Meade

Surviving Adam Meade

Adrienne Young - author of Sky in the Deep

Sky in the Deep

K.A. Linde - author of Blood Type

Blood Type (Blood Type, #1)

Jaime Questell - author of By a Charm and a Curse

By a Charm and a Curse

C.V. Wyk - author of Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand (Blood and Sand, #1)

Alexandra Christo - author of To Kill a Kingdom

To Kill a Kingdom

I almost made it to ten authors! Here are nine, who were new to me last year. I can't wait to read more by all of these authors!