Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (20)


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: 

Popular Books that Lived Up to the Hype



Hype is of course very subjective, but all of these books were very hyped up before publication and even after publication! And I loved them all. I could have easily listed more than ten but ten is good enough! =)

Monday, July 30, 2018

Monday Muse (2)

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.

Last week I shared my coloring progress in my Johanna Basford 17-18 planner. I've started a few additional pages, and I finished one!


Isn't it gorgeous? I love hot-air balloons.

This next one is almost finished - I just need to add the last touches:


And then I started another one, and I adore this one. So much detail!


I color while on the metro going to and from work. It's very relaxing! I was hesitant about coloring in front of strangers but honestly I do not care. =)


Not coloring-related but I added two books to my TBR! One is an adult historical romance...

The Maiden's Defender (The Ladies of Scotland #2)

It has one of my favorite tropes, warrior + maiden! I can't wait to start reading it. It's currently on sale for $0.99, but the sale is ending soon!

The second book I added to my TBR is an adult/YA crossover fantasy novel (second in the series):



I found Magic Study at my local thrift store and honestly the cover is so beautiful, I just had to have it! Apparently there was a limited printing of that cover. I haven't read Poison Study (book one) but I will definitely start the series now.


And another hobby of mine... stalking huskies on Instagram. I love Siberian huskies! This one is a pomsky (husky + Pomeranian):

A post shared by Husky Puppies (@huskymag) on

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Review: Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi


Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Death and Night

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram's new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?

What I Liked:

I'll be the first to admit that I don't typically like short stories or novellas, and so I avoid them most of the time. I hate feeling like a story was cut short or could have been longer. Usually that's the feeling that most short stories and novellas leave. However, I will say that the three star-touched stories in this book are 100% worth the print bind-up that the publisher is publishing. 

Roshani Chokshi's storytelling and masterful prose are on full display in these stories. If you've read any of her books, you know how creative and colorful her writing is. She likes comparisons and imagery and a good amount of detail, and she ties everything together so neatly and with a flourish. I really enjoy her prose, and I know some won't, but majority will.

And per her usual, her storytelling was wonderful. I did NOT feel like any of the stories were too short or ended with a sense of lacking. Perhaps it was because she had the room/page space to write freely? Regardless, each story felt full and complete. This is what short stories and novellas should feel like. No reader should feel like what they read wasn't enough, from that story.

There are three stories in this novella bind-up, and while I won't talk about each of them (that would take too long and this review would be entirely too boring), I will state that each story is unique and engaging in its own way. Each story has a lovely tale, a sweeping romance, and a wonderful, complete ending. 

I love the Indian rep! These stories are written with so many dashes and dips of Indian culture. From the food to the lore, Chokshi has woven Indian culture into her stories seamlessly. These stories are great #ownvoices rep and just plain great

Can I talk about the amount of food references? Each story had multiple mention of some sort of Indian food and well, yum. I'm Indian and am familiar with most of the dishes and it was gratifying to see Indian food in the stories. I couldn't help but feel a little hungry!

Definitely pick up this book if you want to experience more from Roshani Chokshi. The stories are so wonderful and engrossing. You won't regret it!

What I Did Not Like:

I have no complaints! This book is gorgeous, inside and out.

Would I Recommend It:

If you've read Chokshi's debut and sophomore novels, you'll want to pick up this one. Regardless of your feelings on short stories/novellas - remember, I don't usually read them. (I find that they are a waste of time.) I do recommend you read this book after you read The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes. You'll appreciate the short stories so much more. Especially Poison & Gold! So many Vikram and Gauri appearances.

Rating:

4 stars. This is a masterpiece! The world, the writing, the storytelling, the romances. Roshani Chokshi is talented and deserves the success she has received and will receive. I can't wait to read more from her. Might I also recommend A Thousand Beginnings and Endings? Chokshi wrote an #ownvoices Filipino-inspired tale in that anthology. I loved it!


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

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#292)


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, July 22nd to Saturday, July 28th?


(all links to Goodreads are provided!)


In the mail:

Nothing this week!


From NetGalley:

  


Thank you, HMH and Harlequin! I love the His Fair Assassins series, so I'm excited about Courting Darkness. I have been on a warrior/healer romance kick so this new book by Terri Brisbin seems right up my alley, even with the kid involved!


Reviews from this week:

 
(Click on the cover to go to my review!)


My week was fairly uneventful! It rained and rained and rained and it's probably raining right now. But this type of weather is good for making me want to stay home in a blanket and read!

Friday, July 27, 2018

My Favorite Bodyguard Romances

Happy Friday, bibliovores! Today is another day in which I didn't feel like writing/posting a review, but did feel like posting something... so I'm doing another favorites post! You can check out my other favorites posts in a previous posts (for example). 

Here are some of my favorite bodyguard romances! There is something particularly yummy about a forbidden romance, and bodyguard romances are usually just that.


Young Adult

Velvet (Velvet, #1)  The Secret Diamond Sisters (The Secret Diamond Sisters, #1)

Adult

The Protector  Obsession  Mine (Holton Woods #3)
Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane, #8)  Blood Guard (Mission, #1)


I need more adult recs! I'm fine with YA as well, but the adult bodyguard romance novels are usually really good. I've heard Booty Call is really good. Tell me your favorites!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Swoon Thursday (#287): Dream On by Kerstin Gier


- 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 Dream On by Kerstin Gier!


... Grayson, Florence, and Lottie.

And someone with bright-gray eyes and dark-blond hair standing out in all directions. I almost burst into tears of sheer relief.

Henry.

He simply pushed Emily aside and took me in his arms.

"Hey, there are you are again, my cheese girl," he murmured into my hair. "I've missed you so much."

I wound my arms around Henry's neck and held him much closer than was strictly necessary.

"You smell nice," I whispered. It wasn't precisely what I wanted to say, but it was the first thing to come into my head.

- Page 39



I adore this series! I'm rereading this book before starting Just Dreaming for the first time. This scene isn't technically a kissy scene but it's a really sweet reunion scene and I love it. =)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#291): The Triumphant by Lesley Livingston


"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:


The Triumphant by Lesley Livingston
Book Three of The Valiant series
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: February 12, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

The final book in the Valiant series takes Fallon and her warrior sisters on an epic journey from the corrupt Roman Republic to the wonder of the ancient world: Alexandria, Egypt.

In the wake of their victorious fight to win back the Ludus Achillea, Fallon and her gladiatrix sisters have become the toast of the Republic. However, as a consequence of his actions during the Ludus uprising, Fallon's love, Cai, has been stripped of his Decurion rank and cast down to serve as one of Caesar's gladiators. 

Amid fighting for Cai's freedom, Fallon soon learns that Caesar's enemies are plotting against him and planning to get revenge on his fearsome gladiatrices. When Caesar is murdered by these conspirators, Fallon and the girls lose any sort of protection they once had. Fallon also realizes that the foreign queen Cleopatra is now in grave danger. 

Fallon rallies her war band and Cai's friends to get Cleopatra out of the city, and the group heads to the safety of Cleo's homeland, Alexandria, Egypt. Once there, the gladiatrices are promised a place of honor in the queen's elite guard, but is that what any of them really want?



I. Cannot. WAIT! I actually haven't read The Defiant - I started reading it but put it off when I heard that there would be a book three. I am so excited now that it is announced!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (19)


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: 

Books with Sensory Reading Memories


Love, Lies and Spies - I remember reading this one and thinking, this is the YA version of an adult historical romance novel! Genius!


The Night Circus - I owned the hardcover of this book long before I read it. I got it for Christmas from a friend from high school! I remember feeling tickled pink.


Fire - true story, years ago I wanted to read this book so badly and saw that it was checked in, at my local public library. I should have put a hold on it but didn't. When we got to the library, I couldn't find the copy that was checked in. I almost cried. I had a tiny, quiet meltdown in front of my sister. She was annoyed. And then like a minute later, she finds the book and hands it to me. Best day ever!


Brightly Woven - I remember checking this book out from the library. Bracken didn't have any other books published at the time, so she was a bit of an unknown. I remember thinking that the cover was so pretty and the story sounded amazing.


Sanctum - I remember reading a fellow blogger's review of this one, and thinking that the book sounded so good. Soon after, I went to the library to browse, and this book was there, in the New Teen Fiction section! It was a lucky coincidence! I checked out the book - and loved it.


Across a Star-Swept Sea - I remember seeing this cover reveal on Epic Reads' blog, and loving her explanation of the cover. Diana talked about how the cover model and cover composition was perfect for the main character.  


I think that's all I've got! This was a difficult topic. Most of my selections were based on my first memory of the book. It was a neat exercise!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Monday Muse (1)

Hey fam! Happy Monday! Or something - are Mondays ever really happy? Let's change that! By now you must have noticed that my reading has slowed down a looooooot. I'm going to be honest: I love reading, always will, but nothing current in the publishing world seems to be really grabbing my attention. Maybe current trends don't suit my tastes; I keep wanting to reread old favorites or read unread backlist novels that I've had for forever. Maybe it's a part of getting older - I started this blog in 2012 when I was 17 - but it's just not the same.

In any case, I've been branching out my hobbies and interests. In January I joined a gym, and I really love the power of running, lifting, stretching, and sweating - I feel so much stronger than I have in my entire life.

I also picked up knitting again, in January, but I've fallen off the wagon with that one. I bought a pound of red yarn recently, and I want to participate in the Little Hats, Big Hearts program in the coming February.

I'm teaching myself Icelandic! I checked out a Beginner's Icelandic book by Helga Hilmisd├│ttir and Jacek Kozlowski from my local public library, and I'm going to use the Icelandic Online course that the University of Iceland has available. Wish me luck!

I've finally started to get into coloring, which is something I've been meaning to do. You'd think I was a coloring addict, given the sheer number of adult coloring books that I own. But NOPE. I've barely colored in any of the books. That is going to change.

So for my first Monday Muse post, I'm going to share a little of my recent coloring! For every Monday Muse post that I do, I will share an update on a hobby of mine, whether it be coloring, or Icelandic, or knitting, or whatever. My goal this year is to try more new things, even if it means I'll be shifting away from reading like an addict.*

*Note: I still love reading. I always will.

So, the coloring!

I got this gorgeous Joanna Basford planner from my #TBTBSanta (thank you!).


I love this planner, not only because it is so pretty and detailed, but also because of the amount of space I have to write details for each day of the week. Here is one week in November:


Isn't that tree amazing? I love it. It's almost too hard to write up and color the book, because the illustrations are so beautiful.

I use three planners; one as a gym log, one for work, and this Joanna Basford one, for personal use. I admit I use this one least of the three, mostly because I pretty much go to work, go to the gym, come home and sleep. I'm trying to be better about it through! 

Here is a peek at this week's coloring:



I'll be taking this on the metro with me this week. Let's see how far I get! These designs are so complicated.


That's my muse for the week! This weekend I reread Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier (love love love), and I'll be rereading book two, Dream On. In addition to the Icelandic book, I checked out Just Dreaming (book three) from the library, so I'm hoping to read that by Thursday. It's been a while since I had a proper review on a Friday. But those are my goals for the week!

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Review: One Night of Trouble by Elle Kennedy


One Night of Trouble by Elle Kennedy
Book Three of the After Hours series
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Publication Date: January 5, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased Kindle copy

Summary (from Goodreads):

No More Mr. Nice Guy…

The moment AJ Walsh sees the sexy, tattooed pixie walk up to his bar, it's lust at first sight. He's always been labeled the "nice" guy―opening doors, buying flowers, and never, ever having one-night stands. But with this wicked little angel with red lips and unfathomably dark eyes? Oh, yeah. Tonight, "nice" has nothing to do with it...

Brett Conlon is trying to convince her family that she's put away her reckless wild girl side for good. Nothing―and no one―could be better for her reputation than golden boy AJ Walsh. So they make a deal: if he plays The Good Boyfriend for her family, he can be a very, very bad boy with her. Now their one naughty night is about to turn into a whole lot of trouble...

What I Liked:

I bought this book for $0.99 a really long time ago and never read it! A shame, because I loved the first book in this series. Gage and Skylar are super cute today, very opposites-attract. This is the third and final book in the series, featuring Gage's friend and business partner AJ Walsh. I haven't read book two but I probably will at some point. In any case, this book was awesome!

AJ Walsh has been single for a little while, and he doesn't really mind. Not until a tiny girl with a smattering of tattoos walks into his nightclub. Their connection is instant, and AJ knows he can't walk away from her. It's the same for Brett Conlon - she is intoxicated by AJ from the moment she sees him in the nightclub. They come up with a mutually beneficial agreement: AJ and Brett will keep seeing each for the next month, and pretend to be boyfriend/girlfriend. Brett needs her family to think she is taking her life seriously and not sleeping around, because she wants to run her family's newest tattoo shop. But a short-term fake relationship turns into so much...

This book has a lot of tropes that I like: opposites attract, different upbringings, dominant alpha male, strong female, minimal drama. There are a few appearances of exes, but again, minimal drama. Elle Kennedy seems to have writing drama-free romances down to a science. I open her books and I know that I'm going to fall in love with the couple, and not get irritated with over-the-top drama.

On the outside, AJ seems to be a preppy, selfless, charming, golden boy. He tries to please everyone, especially his parents, and he puts on a good mask. But inside, he's a dominating, rough-and-tumble guy who likes control. He isn't as "nice" as he likes people to think he is. I like AJ; he genuinely is a good guy and has a good heart. He puts on a mask for selfless reasons. He's a good guy but he's also very yummy. There's a lot of passion simmering underneath that charming mask.

Brett is trying to be good; she has had some mistakes in her past, and she wants her father and brothers to see past these things. She wants to show them that she has matured, and she is taking the tattoo parlor business seriously. Getting caught with AJ by her brother wasn't part of the plan, so she lied and said that AJ is her boyfriend. I liked Brett's intentions - she loves working as a tattoo artist, and she has a good head for business.

AJ and Brett have instant chemistry. They're both strong individuals, but AJ is clearly the more alpha of the two, and Brett loves to please him. Their dynamic works for them. AJ is more of his alpha self around her (not in a bad way) and less of The Perfect Son that he wants his parents to think he is. AJ is good for Brett; she takes her work seriously, but she makes room in her heart for him. They develop a strong relationship, and yes, they are very steamy together. There are plenty of hot scenes in this book. It's amazing how the author keeps coming up with different, sizzling sexy times in all of her books (and she has a lot of books!). 

The ending is fairly drama-free and it's really sweet! There isn't a huge grand gesture, which I appreciated - but there is some groveling (which was necessary). AJ and Brett are a cute couple and I was happy to see them overcome their inner demons and get together (especially on AJ's side). I wish we could see an extended epilogue with them!

What I Did Not Like:

Nothing in particular to mention! Except maybe that extended epilogue. It was nice to see Gage/Skylar and Reed/Darcy though!

Would I Recommend It:

If you like ~very~ steamy adult contemporary romance, Elle Kennedy's books are for you! I've only read several of her Brazen novels, but I've really enjoyed them. One Night of Sin (book one) is my absolute favorite. I love these books for how hot they are, how well-developed the relationships are, and how drama-free the stories are (or with minimal drama).

Rating:

4 stars. This is book three and I still need to read book two, but I wish there were more books in the series! I love the Entangled Brazen line and I hope Elle Kennedy writes new books with this imprint in the future.


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

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#291)


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, July 15th to Saturday, June 21st?


(all links to Goodreads are provided!)


In the mail:


Hocus Pocus package! Including the book, a t-shirt, cookies, mug, and buttons

Thank you, Disney! Look for this book in stores now!



Thank you, Page Street Publishing!


A Reaper at the Gates preorder goodies

I love this so much! The bag is perfectly book-sized. Thank you, Penguin!


From NetGalley:



Thank you, Disney! This is going to be a great sequel, I'm sure. =)


From Edelweiss:

Beautiful Sinner (Devil's Rock #5)


AHHHHHHH! I can't wait to start reading this one! Perhaps I shall, this weekend. So excited!


Reviews from this week:

Staking His Claim (Line of Duty, #5)  
(Click on the cover to go to my review!)


Favorite Instagram post from this week:

The past few weeks have been pretty dry in terms of book haul, but this week was poppin! I love the mailed goodies especially. Thank you, pubs!