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!

Rating:

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!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday Muse (15)

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.

I can't believe it's 2019 already! This is my first Monday Muse post of 2019. It has been a busy couple of weeks already!

I've bought my new Johanna Basford planner! It's for September 2018 to December 2019, so I have a few months of 2018 to color. I've not started coloring yet, but I'm excited about it!

Johanna Basford 2018-2019 16-Month Coloring Weekly Planner Calendar

In book news, I'm excited to tell you all that I'm not participating in a Goodreads challenge this year. Exciting, right? Surprising is more like it. I failed dismally in 2018 and I don't think my results will be much better this year. So I'm not going to be joining the 2019 reading challenge. Whomp whomp!

Somewhat book-related - from the holidays - my #TBTBSanta gift! There's a little bit of everything that I love. It's perfect - thank you, Tzivi!


In photography news, I've been getting really into photography. I especially love taking photos on sunrises. Typically I'll reach work just as the sun is rising, so it's a perfect time to take some photos before starting my work day. Here are some from this past week:


What's cool is that Udemy was having a sale - $9.99 for many classes - so I just signed up for a Photography Masterclass one! I haven't started taking the classes yet, but I'm excited. I can't wait to expand my knowledge in photography!

In fact, I bought some lenses for my phone - yes, you can get lenses to adjust the angle of your phone's camera! Check out a fisheye view:

(It's not my best shot, but I'm working on it!)


I'll leave you all by telling you that I'm currently in Florida! I scheduled this post ahead of time. I'll be back tomorrow. On my next Monday Muse post, I will post some photos of lovely southwest Florida. But if you want to follow my trip, check out my personal Instagram, @alyssasadventuresinwonderland!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

I'm on Vacation!

Hello, beautiful bookworms!

I'm writing this post ahead of time (just like my STS post, and Monday's post, and Tuesday's post), because I'm on vacation! I'm in southwest Florida at the moment. I flew out early on Saturday morning and will be back on Monday night/Tuesday morning. 

That being said, I tried to set up posts for Friday-Tuesday, but neglected to have something for Sunday! I'm hoping to have a new Science in Fiction post up next Sunday.

Anyway, I'm enjoying sunny Florida while it snows in Baltimore! On my flight, I'm hoping to read this bad boy:

Pan (a Neverland novel Book 1)


Until next time! Have a lovely weekend, bibliovores!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Stacking the Shelves (#316)


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 6th to Saturday, January 12th?


(all links to Goodreads are provided!)


In the mail:



I LOVE this anthology! If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. I won this copy from Rich in Color. Thank you!


That's it from me this week! I'm actually in FLORIDA right now! I scheduled this post ahead of time. I'll be back on Monday. If you want to follow my trip, check out my personal Instagram - @alyssasadventuresinwonderland!

Friday, January 11, 2019

January 2019 New Release Giveaway!


Welcome to the January New Release Giveaway Hop! The January New Release Giveaway hop is hosted by It Starts At Midnight and FLYLēF


This month, I'm giving a January '19 book of your choice! Here are some examples:

(You are not limited to these below!)

(Click on the covers to go to Goodreads!)


The Giveaway:

Win a January book of your choice! Winner has 48 hours to respond to my email. The usual Giveaways rules apply.

Open INTERNATIONALLY! Good luck!








Thursday, January 10, 2019

Swoon Thursday (#311): Stain by A.G. Howard


- 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 Stain by A.G. Howard!


He bowed his head to kiss her - his mouth coaxing hers to open slightly - engaging her in a gentle, slow dance of lips and tongue. When he pulled back with a tantalizing smile on his stubbled chin, she quivered in anticipation of more. His ascent started again, though this time much faster.

- ARC, page 513



This is a cute swoon! This book publishes next week - so if you're going to preorder, do it soon! You can get all kinds of neat goodies if you preorder. Don't miss out!

Details can be found HERE.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday (#315): Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer


"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:

Call It What You Want

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: June 25, 2019

Summary (from Goodreads):

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship...

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?



I love Brigid's books! I'm not usually a fan of YA contemporary, but I'll always make an exception for Brigid's books. =)

Excerpt Reveal: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry


Hello, fellow bookworms! Today I get to share an exclusive excerpt from Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry. This book publishes in two weeks and you don't want to miss it!


About the Book:


Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 22, 2019

Official Summary:

Jesse dreams of working the land that’s been in his family forever. But he’s cursed to lose everything he loves most.

Scarlett is desperate to escape her “charmed” life. But leaving a small town is easier said than done.

Despite their history of heartbreak, when Jesse sees a way they can work together to each get what they want, Scarlett can’t say no.Each midnight meeting between Jesse and Scarlett will push them to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other.



About the Author:


Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine's 2012 Reviewer's Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.



The Excerpt:

SCARLETT

I’m defying my parents by attending a funeral. Reckless and adventurous teenage behavior, I know. Most seventeen-year-olds lie to their parents so they can go on a date with a forbidden boy or attend a party where there will be questionable behavior. Me? I’m outright lying to my dad, and it’s because Jesse Lachlin’s grandmother died.

The entire way here I’ve questioned my sanity, but I don’t know how I’d live with myself if I stayed home. Jesse Lachlin used to be my childhood best friend. We were inseparable. We had the type of friendship people strive to have, and then, a few years ago, he cut me so deeply that I still bleed. But ten-year-old me would have never abandoned a hurting Jesse. So today I’m not only honoring the memory of Jesse’s grandmother, but also the memory of our dead friendship.

On my way to the funeral, the high grass of the field swats at my legs, but I don’t mind the sting. I love walking barefoot in grass, I love the smell of the earth and I love that brief feeling of freedom open spaces can provide.

It’s the dog days of August. The type of hot that starts when the sun rises and makes you sweat through your clothes within minutes. While my skin and palms are on fire, the pads of my feet are cool against the dirt. The heat is unwelcome, but the sky is deep blue and the sun is bright, and for that, I can be grateful.

Walking out of the field, I stop short of crossing the one-lane road to slip on the flats that dangle from my fingertips. My mother would be mortified if she knew I was entering a church in a cotton daisy-print sundress. It’s not one of the dresses with stiff fabric and impossible back zippers she would have picked for me at an overpriced department store. It’s the type that’s machine-washable and breathable. The type of dress Jesse’s grandmother would have given her stamp of approval.

I can practically hear my mother heavily sigh and mumble my name, Scarlett, as if it were her personal, private curse word. Mom believes there’s a certain way to dress and behave, and I’m breaking all sorts of her rules today. Watch out, world. I’m officially rebellious.

I smile to myself because I’m the opposite of rebellious. For the last few years, I’ve followed every rule. I’m the teacher’s pet and the girl with straight A’s. I’m the poster child of perfection, and have earned every snarky ice princess comment Jesse’s friends whisper about me in the school hallways because he and I no longer speak.

There are only six cars in the parking lot of the white church, and that makes me frown. I thought more people would have wanted to attend. Jesse’s mud-covered pickup is there, and so is an unnaturally clean black Mercedes that belongs to his uncle. This ought to be interesting. Jesse and his uncle have a mutual hate for each other that runs deeper than any root of any tree.

Movement to my right and I slowly turn my head. Shivers run down my spine at the sight of Glory Gardner. Even though I’m seventeen and too old for ghost stories, I still can’t shake the ones regarding this woman. Girls would whisper over lunch boxes that Glory was a witch. As I grew older, I understood that witch meant con artist. She claims she can read palms, tarot cards and “sees” spirits from beyond the dead. All for a glorious fee.

She’s a beautiful woman—long dirty blond hair that’s untamed, even in a bun, and she has an eclectic taste in clothing. Today she wears a white peasant shirt and a flowing skirt made of material that shimmers in the sun.

Glory watches me like I watch her, with morbid curiosity. I knew her as a child, back when Jesse and I ran wild in the fields near her home, but we haven’t talked in years.

She stands under the shade of a towering weeping willow. There are lots of those trees around here. Mom says it’s because there is too much water in the ground. I say it’s because the people in this town have cried too many tears. Mom doesn’t like my answer.

I tilt my head toward the church, an unspoken question if Glory will be joining me. She shakes her head no. I’m not shocked. According to rumors, Glory will go up in flames if she enters the house of God. But who knows? Maybe I will, too.

The church is one of those picturesque, historical, one-room school buildings squeezed between a cornfield on one side and a hay field on the other. A huge steeple with a bell attempts to reach the heavens, but like anything created by a human, it falls tragically short.

The foreboding wooden door makes no noise as I open it, and I’m able to slip in without a huge, squeaking announcement. Orange light filters in through the dark stained glass windows, and its struggling beams reveal millions of dancing particles of dust.

On the altar, there’s no casket, but there is an urn. My heart dips—Suzanne is dead. I used to wish she were my grandmother, and many times, she treated me as if I belonged to her. Suzanne was the epitome of love, and the world feels colder now that she’s gone.

Choosing a spot in the back, I drop into a pew, and as I scan the church my stomach churns. How is it possible that this place is so barren?

Besides the Funeral Brigade, or the FB, as I like to refer to them, there aren’t many people here. The FB are the older group of woman who attend every funeral in our small town even if they didn’t know the person. Attending funerals isn’t my idea of fun, but who am I to judge?

The FB sit directly behind the one person the town believes to be the lone sane member of the Lachlin family, probably because he isn’t blood related—Jesse’s uncle.

On the left side of the church is Jesse. Only Jesse. And that causes a painful pang in my chest. Where are his stinking friends? The anarchists in training who follow Jesse wherever he goes? Where is the rest of the town? Yes, Suzanne was polarizing, but still, where is any respect?

Quietly, so I don’t draw attention to myself, I slip from the right set of pews to the left. Someone should be on Jesse’s side, and it’s sad it has to be me.

A door at the front of the church opens, and the pastor walks out from the addition the church build on as a small office ten years ago. I would have thought any pastor assigned to this place would be as ancient as this church. Sort of like an Indiana Jones Knights Templar scenario where he lives forever as long as he stays inside. But no, he’s the youngest pastor from the main, newer church in town. His name is Pastor Hughes, and he’s a thirty-something black man with a fit build who is just cute enough that he should be starring in a movie.

The pastor looks up, and he flinches as if startled. I peek over my shoulder then sigh. Clearly, he’s surprised to see me. Flipping fantastic.

His reaction, and the fact he won’t stop staring, causes every person to turn their heads. Lovely. I’ve had dreams like this where I enter a room and become the center of attention. Only in my dreams it’s at school, it’s my classmates and I’m naked, but still, this is disconcerting.

Eventually, the FB and Jesse’s uncle return their attention to the front, but Jesse doesn’t. He rests his arm on the back of the pew, and it’s hard to ignore that he’s made me his sole focus, but I do my best to act as if I don’t notice.

To help, I concentrate on what my mom taught me as a child—to make sure the skirt of my dress is tucked appropriately so that my thighs don’t show. I then fold my hands in my lap and straighten to a book-on-head posture. I can be the ice princess people claim me to be.

Five pews separate me and Jesse, and it’s not nearly enough. My cheeks burn under his continued inspection. Jesse has done this a handful of times since our freshman year. Glance at me as if I’m someone worth looking at, someone worth laughing with a little too loud and smiling with a little too much. Then he remembers who I am and snaps his gaze to someone else.

But he’s not looking away now.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday (35)


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:

Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019

 


This doesn't even scratch the surface, but here are ten books I'll be reading in the first half of the year!