Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Hidden Gems With Less Than 2,000 Goodreads Ratings

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One of my favorite things about blogging is that it has helped me find so many new books that I probably would have missed out on.  This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads.  So here are 10 of the hidden gems that I have fallen in love with and hope more people will find just as magical as I did.


The Haunting of Hattie Hastings by Audrey Davis

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Hattie Hastings is happily married to lifelong sweetheart Gary, until a terrible tragedy leaves her widowed and heartbroken. Struggling to cope, she is left reeling when her deceased other half returns, popping up at the most inappropriate moments.

As Hattie tries to convince others – including brother Jack, and best friend Cat – that Gary has returned, he finds himself under the care of spirit guide Clarence, and also befriends another inhabitant of the place called The Present.
Meanwhile, Hattie’s mum Rachel is facing a daunting battle, and Cat’s ex-husband Stewart is determined to prove he deserves a second chance.


Practicing Normal by Cara Sue Achterberg32565146

Meet the Turners – a socially awkward genius child, an adolescent cat burglar, a philandering husband, and a doormat wife in desperate need of a backbone. The Turners are doing their best to craft a happy life and face down a history they have no control over in a neighborhood where only the houses are similar. And when relationships sprout from seemingly nowhere and secrets begin to unravel, practicing normal becomes harder than it’s ever been.


Prism by Nina Walker

35999390What if color held the secrets to powerful magic? 

Forced to move into the palace, Jessa begins training as a Color Alchemist under the direction of the kingdom’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Lucas. As an alchemist, Jessa must capture and harness the color of living things. Every color has a unique purpose, except red. Red is the untapped magic no one can access—until Jessa.

Prince Lucas is running out of time. His mother is deathly ill and healing magic hasn’t worked. When Lucas suspects someone is using alchemy to control her, he sets out to discover the truth, no matter the cost.


Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

39863269Jesse Lachlin is cursed.

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…


The Royal Runaway by Lindsay Emory

38532225Princess Theodora Isabella Victoria of Drieden of the Royal House Laurent is so over this princess thing.

After her fiancé jilted her on their wedding day, she’s finally back home after spending four months in exile—aka it’s back to press conferences, public appearances, and putting on a show for the Driedish nation as the perfect princess they expect her to be. But Thea’s sick of duty. After all, that’s what got her into this mess in the first place.

So when she sneaks out of the palace and meets a sexy Scot named Nick in a local bar, she relishes the chance to be a normal woman for a change. But just as she thinks she’s found her Prince Charming for the night, he reveals his intentions are less than honorable: he’s the brother of her former fiancé, a British spy, and he’s not above blackmail. As Thea reluctantly joins forces with Nick to find out what happened the day her fiancé disappeared, together they discover a secret that could destroy a centuries-old monarchy and change life as they know it.


Pop Princess by Rachel Cohn

28108“This is not a school musical, this is millions of people seeing you, recognizing you, criticizing you. This is “it.” Public person — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Are you ready?”When fifteen-year-old Wonder Blake is plucked from her job at the Dairy Queen and given the chance to become a teen idol, it seems like a dream come true — even if it wasn’t her dream, but her older sister Lucky’s. Lucky was on her way to becoming a pop star when she died, and Wonder and her family are still trying to recover from their loss. Offered a recording contract, Wonder jumps at the chance to escape from a dead-end town, her fractured family, and worst of all, high school. Suddenly she has it all: a hot new look, a chart-busting hit single, a tour opening for superstar Kayla. But stardom isn’t all glamour — it’s also lots of work. And maybe what Wonder really wants is as simple as a guy who likes her for herself.

With spark and humor Rachel Cohn captures the struggles and glories of an ordinary teenage girl’s climb to celebrity. As Wonder rises through the pop-princess star-making machine, she also learns the price — and that maybe being an ordinary teenage girl isn’t so bad after all.


Starswept by Mary Fan

34377743In 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.


The Daughter of the River Valley by Victoria Cornwall

TDORV_FRONT_RGB150dpi (1)Cornwall, 1861

Beth Jago appears to have the idyllic life, she has a trade to earn a living and a cottage of her own in Cornwall’s beautiful River Valley. Yet appearances can be deceptive …

Beth has a secret. Since inheriting her isolated cottage she’s been receiving threats, so when she finds a man in her home she acts on her instincts. One frying pan to the head and she has robbed the handsome stranger of his memory and almost killed him.

Fearful he may die, she reluctantly nurses the intruder back to health. Yet can she trust the man with no name who has entered her life, or is he as dangerous as his nightmares suggest? As they learn to trust one another, the outside threats worsen. Are they linked to the man with no past? Or is the real danger still outside waiting … and watching them both?


When We Caught Fire by Anna Godbersen

36501779It’s 1871 and Emmeline Carter is poised to take Chicago’s high society by storm. Between her father’s sudden rise to wealth, and her recent engagement to Chicago’s most eligible bachelor, Emmeline has it all. But she can’t stop thinking about the life she left behind, including her childhood sweetheart, Anders Magnuson. Fiona Byrne, Emmeline’s childhood best friend, is delighted by her friend’s sudden rise to prominence, especially since it means Fiona is free to pursue Anders herself. But when Emmeline risks everything for one final fling with Anders, Fiona feels completely betrayed.

As the summer turns to fall, the city is at a tipping point: friendships are tested, hearts are broken, and the tiniest spark might set everything ablaze. Sweeping, soapy, and romantic, this is a story about an epic love triangle—one that will literally set the city ablaze, and change the lives of three childhood friends forever.


 The Nature of the Witch by Helen T. Norwood

Nature Of The Witch AMAZON LARGEMany years ago, magic prevailed in Britain. It was a time when chosen women followed a path forged by Mother Nature herself; a time of witchcraft, of the brotherhood of the Gwithiaz and of the terrifying Creatures. 

This has all passed from memory a long time ago, but now, magic has returned. Kiera is the first witch the world has seen in centuries, while Jack must learn the ways of the Gwithiaz. They must not only master their crafts, but also overcome their differences and work together if they are to survive the dark enemy that lurks in the shadows. 

In the rugged Cornish landscape where it first began, the two face the dreaded Kasadow: an ancient evil that has awakened and is ready to destroy them, and their magic, once and for all.


 

What hidden gems have you guys found? Please send over some recommendations cuz I can never get enough! 🙂
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Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick

39973246Summary: London, 1765

Lady Isabella Gerard, a respectable member of Georgian society, orders her maid to take her new golden gown and destroy it, its shimmering beauty tainted by the actions of her brutal husband the night before.

Three months later, Lord Gerard stands at the shoreline of the lake, looking down at a woman wearing the golden gown. As the body slowly rolls over to reveal her face, it’s clear this was not his intended victim…

250 Years Later…

When a gown she stole from a historic home as a child is mysteriously returned to Fenella Brightwell, it begins to possess her in exactly the same way that it did as a girl. Soon the fragile new life Fen has created for herself away from her abusive ex-husband is threatened at its foundations by the gown’s power over her until she can’t tell what is real and what is imaginary.

As Fen uncovers more about the gown and Isabella’s story, she begins to see the parallels with her own life. When each piece of history is revealed, the gown—and its past—seems to possess her more and more, culminating in a dramatic revelation set to destroy her sanity.

*I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley and HARLEQUIN- Graydon House Books in return for an honest review*

RELEASE DATE: Febuary 26th, 2019


My Thoughts: This book caught my eye on Netgalley right away, as I am a sucker for historical fiction- especially with interwoven timelines.  It did not disappoint.  It had a mysterious gothic fiction vibe, which I loved, and a gripping plot.  I couldn’t put it down because the pacing was spectacular.  The mysteries slowly unraveled and kept me guessing the entire time with some great twists and reveals.  The supernatural elements were subtle and unexplained, which only added to the tension.  There were three different narrators, all with unique and specific points of view, and the way they worked to flesh out different parts of the story was super compelling and addicting.  Fenella’s storyline was my favorite, and I really loved her chemistry with her love interest.  The parallels between Isabella in the past and Fen in the present were interesting, but I wish there would have been a stronger a connection between them and that they would have been a bit more entwined.  The writing, while not super elegant, was entertaining and painted nice pictures of both the characters and the world.  Overall, this book isn’t a game changer, but it is a great quick and consuming read for any historical fiction fan.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: My Favorite Book Couples from 2018

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It’s Valentines week! I unfortunately don’t get to spend the day with my honey, as we are both on tour with different shows, so I’ll have to spend it with some literary couples instead.  This week’s prompt from That Artsy Reader Girl is Favorite Book Couples, and since I did a similar post last year, I’m keeping it to My Favorite Book Couples from 2018. 

*Spoiler Alert*


1. Emma and Mr. Knightley from Emma by Jane Austen


2. Kady and Ezra from Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman


3. Elloren and Yvan from The Iron Flower by Laurie Forest


4. Anna and St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins


5. Celaena and Chaol from Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas


6. Juliet and Dawsey from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer


7. Jessa and Lucas from The Color Alchemist Series by Nina Walker


8. Hanna and Nik from Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman


9. Leda and Watt from The Towering Sky by Katharine McGee


10. Juliette and Adam from Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi


Who are your favorite book couples? Do you agree or disagree with my picks? Let me know in the comments, and Happy Love Day ❤

Book Reviews

Furyborn by Claire Legrand Review

34323570Summary: When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.


My Thoughts: This book had the makings to be everything I wanted out of a fantasy novel, but unfortunately it fell pretty flat for me.  There were plenty of great things about it- the concept is spectacular, the characters were fairly strong, and it had a bunch of cinematic scenes peppered with some beautiful phrases, but something was missing.  The world, and its history of war with The Angels, was pretty vast, and while I was super interested in it, I never felt like I got enough information to fully grasp everything that was happening (or had happened before the book started) and that took me out of the story.  The weaving time lines were handled really well and kept the pace exciting, but I didn’t understand the concept of the Angels enough.  They were such a huge part of the plot, and were so interesting and unique, but they were not developed enough for me to get completely on board.  I think if I would have had a better grasp of the systems of power and magic in both timelines, I would have been able to engage in the plot more.  There were some pretty nice twists, if a bit predictable, but I wasn’t really invested in any of the characters so they were not as effective as they should have been.  Overall, this book was just okay and while the plot was interesting, I don’t know if I care enough to continue on with the series…

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Cleaning Up My TBR- Down the TBR Hole #8

I joined Goodreads a few years ago, way before I started blogging, so my profile is kind of a mess.  I really want to clean it up so I can make better use of it.  I thought what a better way to do that than to join the Down the TBR Hole meme started by Lia @Lost In a Story! I am going to do it once a month instead of weekly, and hopefully make my Goodreads a pleasant place to be again.

Here is how it works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner

7227174Sometimes all you can do is fly away home . . .

When Sylvie Serfer met Richard Woodruff in law school, she had wild curls, wide hips, and lots of opinions. Decades later, Sylvie has remade herself as the ideal politician’s wife-her hair dyed and straightened, her hippie-chick wardrobe replaced by tailored knit suits. At fifty-seven, she ruefully acknowledges that her job is staying twenty pounds thinner than she was in her twenties and tending to her husband, the senator.

Lizzie, the Woodruffs’ younger daughter, is at twenty-four a recovering addict, whose mantra HALT (Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?) helps her keep her life under control. Still, trouble always seems to find her. Her older sister, Diana, an emergency room physician, has everything Lizzie failed to achieve-a husband, a young son, the perfect home-and yet she’s trapped in a loveless marriage. With temptation waiting in one of the ER’s exam rooms, she finds herself craving more.

After Richard’s extramarital affair makes headlines, the three women are drawn into the painful glare of the national spotlight. Once the press conference is over, each is forced to reconsider her life, who she is and who she is meant to be.

Written with an irresistible blend of heartbreak and hilarity, Fly Away Home is an unforgettable story of a mother and two daughters who after a lifetime of distance finally learn to find refuge in one another. 

My thoughts: I’m pretty sure I added this because I was obsessed with the movie Fly Away Home when I was a kid…. definitely not the same story.  I really like Jennifer Weiner’s writing, and while I don’t tend to read much women’s fiction any more, this one sounds really intriguing still. VERDICT: KEEP


The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Seventeen-year-old Veronica ‘Ronnie’ Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her 6400090parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father . . . until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie’s father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church.

The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms – first love, the love between parents and children – that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that deeply felt relationships can break our hearts . . . and heal them. 

My Thoughts: I went through a Nicholas Sparks phase, once upon a time, and I didn’t get to all of his books.  I’ve realized that I like the movies better *GASP* and don’t feel the need to read them anymore. VERDICT: TOSS


Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Karus

6487537In the highly anticipated follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller, Nan returns to New York City after 10 years away. Discover how she–and the city–has changed in her absence.

My thoughts: I liked The Nanny Diaries, but I wasn’t crazy about it.  Seeing as it has a 2.91 Star rating on Goodreads, this one is easy.  VERDICT: TOSS

 

 

 


Insatiable by Meg Cabot

6953500Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper. 

But her bosses are making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn’t believe in them. 

Not that Meena isn’t familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you’re going to die. (Not that you’re going to believe her; no one ever does.)

But not even Meena’s precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side. It’s a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire-hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.

The problem is, Lucien’s already dead. Maybe that’s why he’s the first guy Meena’s ever met that she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena’s always been able to see everyone else’s future, she’s never been able look into her own. 

And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare. 

Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future . . . 

If she even has one.

My thoughts: I love everything Meg Cabot has ever written, and I honestly can’t believe this is on my TBR and I haven’t read it yet.  VERDICT: A resounding KEEP


How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls by Zoey Dean

1022411Recent Yale graduate Megan Smith comes to Manhattan with big plans for a career in journalism and even bigger student loan debt: $75,000. When she flails at her trashy tabloid job, she’s given an escape hatch: tutor seventeen-year-old identical twins Rose and Sage Baker–yes, the infamous Baker heiresses of Palm Beach, Florida, best known for their massive fortunes and their penchant for drunkenly flashing the paparazzi — and get their SAT scores up enough to get into Duke. Impossible job — yes. But if she succeeds, her student debts are history. Unfortunately for Megan, the Baker twins aren’t about to curtail their busy social schedules for basic algebra. And they certainly aren’t thrilled to have to sit down for a study session with dowdy Megan. Megan quickly discovers that if she’s going to get her money, she’ll have to learn her Pucci from her Prada. And if she can look the part, maybe, just maybe, she can teach the girls something along the way.

My thoughts: I was in love with Zoey Dean’s The A-List series, and I really enjoyed the short-lived TV show that they made from this book.  I think this one will be low on my priority list, and I don’t know if I’ll seek it out, but if I come across it at the library… VERDICT: KEEP


What do you think of my decisions?  Did I make any mistakes? Let me know in the comments 🙂
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Top 10 Tuesday: New Releases I’m On The Fence About

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There are so many new releases coming out, and as hard as I try I can barely keep up.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed and feel a little guilty that I can’t get to them all right away, but it is such a great problem to have.  Among all of these exciting new stories, there are a couple that I am on the fence about.  This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is all about getting help with deciding whether or not to add these new books to our TBR’s!


Kingsbane (Empirium #2) by Claire Legrand — May 21st

40523458Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien — but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist. Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption — fear of becoming another Rielle — keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted — by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.


The Cerulean by Amy Ewing — January 29th

Sera has always felt as if she didn’t belong among her people, the Cerulean. She is 29751998curious about everything and can’t stop questioning her three mothers, her best friend, Leela, and even the High Priestess. Sera has longed for the day when the tether that connects her City Above the Sky to the earthly world below finally severs and sends the Cerulean to a new planet.

But when Sera is chosen as the sacrifice to break the tether, she doesn’t know what to feel. To save her City, Sera must throw herself from its edge and end her own life. But something goes wrong and she survives the fall, landing in a place called Kaolin. She has heard tales about the humans there, and soon learns that the dangers her mothers warned her of are real. If Sera has any hope to return to her City, she’ll have to find the magic within herself to survive.


The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman — April 2nd

36535913On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?


If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broke — April 23rd

40087230High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: bitch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school—she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her cutting and brutal honesty. So when she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, Andrew, she fears she may have lost him for good. 

In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…

But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy she doesn’t even want.


Dream Keeper by Amber R. Duell — January 29th

The Sandman is seventeen-year-old Nora’s closest friend and best-kept secret. He has to37534266 be, if she doesn’t want a one-way ticket back to the psychiatrist. It took her too long to learn not to mention the hooded figure in her dreams to her mother, who still watches Nora as if she’ll crack. So when Nora’s friends start mysteriously dying gruesome deaths in their sleep, she isn’t altogether surprised when the police direct their suspicion at her. The Sandman is the only one she can turn to for answers. But the truth might be more than she bargained for…

For the last five years, the Sandman has spent every night protecting Nora. When he hid the secret to the Nightmare Lord’s escape inside her dreams, he never expected to fall in love with her. Neither did he think his nemesis would find her so quickly, but there’s no mistaking his cruel handiwork. The Nightmare Lord is tired of playing by the rules and will do anything to release his deadly nightmares into the world, even if that means tormenting Nora until she breaks.

When the Nightmare Lord kidnaps Nora’s sister, Nora must enter enemy territory to save her. The Sandman is determined to help, but if Nora isn’t careful, she could lose even more than her family to the darkness.


Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers — February 5th

37569347Death wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning…

Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.

Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.

As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?


The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh — October 8th

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine 42265183Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as Le Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of Le Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.


Romanov by Nadine Brandes — May 7th

40590407The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.


We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia — February 26th

At the Medio School for Girls, distinguished young women are trained for one of two 37868569roles in their polarized society. Depending on her specialization, a graduate will one day run a husband’s household or raise his children, but both are promised a life of comfort and luxury, far from the frequent political uprisings of the lower class. Daniela Vargas is the school’s top student, but her bright future depends upon no one discovering her darkest secret—that her pedigree is a lie. Her parents sacrificed everything to obtain forged identification papers so Dani could rise above her station. Now that her marriage to an important politico’s son is fast approaching, she must keep the truth hidden or be sent back to the fringes of society, where famine and poverty rule supreme.

On her graduation night, Dani seems to be in the clear, despite the surprises that unfold. But nothing prepares her for all the difficult choices she must make, especially when she is asked to spy for a resistance group desperately fighting to bring equality to Medio. Will Dani cling to the privilege her parents fought to win for her, or to give up everything she’s strived for in pursuit of a free Medio—and a chance at a forbidden love?


Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith — March 5th

35707080Aurelia is the first princess born to the Renalten crown in two hundred years, destined to fulfill a treaty by journeying to marry Valentin, the prince of Achelva – Renalt’s greatest enemy. Rumors of an unwell, cruel prince abound, and the only thing that eclipses Aurelia’s apprehension of her impending marriage is her fear of those who’d kill her to prevent it.

When an assassination attempt forces Aurelia to use forbidden magic to save a stranger, she is driven from Renalt by the witch-hunting Tribunal and a mob out for blood. But before she can claim asylum in the court of her betrothed, her travel party turns on her, forcing her to trade places with her treacherous lady-in-waiting, Lisette.

Now penniless in Achleva and bereft of her identity, Aurelia must decide if she wants to surrender to her new life or fight for her old one, all while navigating the complicated ties binding her to the enigmatic prince, the unquiet ghost of an ancient queen, and a poisonous plant called bloodleaf.

Aurelia is a pawn in a centuries-long game of love, power, and war— and if she can’t extricate herself from it before Lisette marries Valentin in her stead, she may face losses far more devastating than her crown.


What do you think about these books? Has anyone read them? Let me know your thoughts in the comments- I need your help on this one!

Monthly Wrap-Ups

January 2019 Wrap-Up

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January was a crazy whirl-wind of getting Cats up and running! I didn’t have much time to read or blog as I was in rehearsal non-stop and I missed a few posts, but the show is finally open and we have begun touring the country!  I managed to get in a few books while soaking my sore muscles in the bath, and found some amazing bookstores in our first city, Providence, RI.  I can’t wait to see the stores all over the country! 🙂

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Books Read:

Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry★★★★

Furyborn by Claire Legrand★★★

Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway★★★

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han★★


Favorite Book of the Month:

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Currently Reading:

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Challenges:

Goodreads Challenge: 4 of 100

Classics Club Challenge: 4 of 50- I swear I WILL make progress on this one this year!


Broadway Book Chat: Kaylee Olson

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January Reviews

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann• ARC Review: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry • ARC Review: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

January Posts

Top 10 Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2019Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #7 • Top 10 Tuesday: Authors I Found in 2018 • Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read in 2018 • Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List •

 

Book Reviews

ARC Review: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

32949202Summary: He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Curse in Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut.

Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and killed, his father is convinced it’s the work of his old rival, the Queen of Etania—Aurelia’s mother. Determined to avenge his wife’s murder, he devises a plot to overthrow the Queen, a plot which sends Athan undercover to Etania to gain intel from her children.

Athan’s mission becomes complicated when he finds himself falling for the girl he’s been tasked with spying upon. Aurelia feels the same attraction, all the while desperately seeking to stop the war threatening to break between the Southern territory and the old Northern kingdoms that control it—a war in which Athan’s father is determined to play a role. As diplomatic ties manage to just barely hold, the two teens struggle to remain loyal to their families and each other as they learn that war is not as black and white as they’ve been raised to believe.

*I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge! Thank you for the opportunity!*

Release Date: February 5th, 2019


My Thoughts:  This book was different than I had expected.  It is billed as a fantasy novel, but other than being set in a fictional world, there were no fantasy elements whatsoever.  It read more like a historical fiction war story- which is cool, but I kept waiting for the fantasy aspect to emerge and it never did.  The fictional world is really in depth with complicated politics, which was amazing, but I found myself floundering without enough knowledge to fully grasp it all (I didn’t have the map in my ARC, and I think that would have helped me to understand it all better.  There will be map in the official release.) In addition to the fully developed world, the characters were also pretty well formed and interesting- Athan especially.  He was really likable and I empathized with him a lot.  There was a great contrast between him and Aurelia and their relationship was sweet, however; I didn’t feel like it progressed enough.  I loved their star-crossed lovers scenario, but I just wish there would have been a little more heat.  In fact, the whole book was pretty slow and there wasn’t a lot of action.  It was very politically focused, with intricate schemes and plans, and it felt like a set up for later action that didn’t come in this book.  The last few chapters were a bit more exciting as things came to a head, and I did enjoy the twists, but I didn’t feel like there was enough plot driven action for the first book in a series.  Overall, it was beautifully written with an interesting premise and characters, but it was a bit too slow for me to get fully on board.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

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My TBR, both physical and mental, is constantly growing.  I should be better about actually getting to the books that are high on my list, but sometimes I just find a random one in an independent bookstore and I can’t help myself.  This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is 10 Most Recent Additions to my TBR!

What books have you guys added to your lists? Please send me more recommendations because I am an addict and can’t get enough books 🙂
Broadway Book Chat

Broadway Book Chat: Kaylee Olson

Broadway Book Chat

As an actor, every job you do, you make a new family.  There is something special about theatre and it’s ability to bring people together in a way that is unlike any other.  I have made so many amazing friends throughout my career, and many of them share my love of books and literature.  Since theatre brings stories to life, I thought I would feature some of my favorite performers (my fabulous friends and cast mates) and see what their bookshelves look like! Welcome to my Broadway Book Chat!

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Kaylee Olson

Currently in Chicago at The Fulton Theatre

Instagram: @kaylee.is.the.olson


What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading- well, I am one chapter away from finishing- Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, I just picked up Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica at the supermarket, and I was in the middle of The Power by Naomi Alderman when I had to give it back to the library before leaving town for a contract. I like to read one book at a time, but occasionally I get caught up in a couple different stories.

What is your favorite book series?

My favorite book series would probably align with my favorite authors growing up. I adore everything that Tamora Pierce has ever written. But two of my favorites would be the Trickster’s Duet, and the Beka Cooper Series.  Which happen to be outliers from Tamora Pierce’s very first fantasy series (Song of the Lioness), which makes the interweaving story lines all the more fun! I was also impacted by the Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer. As the swashbuckling historical fiction greatly attracted my adventurous spirit.

What book inspires you and why?

When I need some inspiration, I turn to the book Terrier by Tamora Pierce. The story of a girl moving out of her family home to a rough city to pursue her dream and overcome her weaknesses to be the best she can- is a tale that I find highly relatable. Plus I love a little magic and crime thrown in the mix as well!

Which literary character would you like to play?

If I could play any literary character, I would play Delilah Bard from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. She is a badass thief with a mysterious past and an even more mysterious future. She’s cool, tough, resourceful and ambitious. Besides, if this book was on stage it would probably have some super cool combat-dancing musical numbers.

If you could be friends with any of the characters you have played who would it be and why?

As a strong member of the ensemble, I tend to play a multitude of characters in a single show. If I could befriend any of those characters, I think I’d like to hang out with “Daisy” my show girl character from the show Bullets over Broadway. She seems like a sassy, flirty kind of gal, who would know all the good speakeasies in the 1920’s.

What book would you like to see made into a movie/musical/play?50452730_241543356599567_4665375377370120192_n

If I could see a book brought to life, then I think Ink Mage from the Fire beneath the Skin Trilogy by Victor Gischler would be a fascinating movie. The visible element of tattoos providing magical power to help a deposed duchess regain her throne… sounds like I need some popcorn. Or, if I could see a book turned into a musical- that I could perform in, of course- I think that the book Caraval by Stephanie Garber would be fabulous. Two sisters swept away to the biggest most elaborate carnival-like performance, inlaid with a game where reality is challenged but the stakes are exceedingly high. I think they might need some showgirls in a musical like that. I’m pretty good at being a showgirl…

What is the next book on your reading list?

The next book on my hit list will be book 2 of the Kushiel’s Legacy trilogy by Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Chosen. Because one cannot start a trilogy and not complete it!

Have you ever thought about writing yourself?

Once upon a time I had a thought in my head of being a writer. Then I realized, that it’s wicked hard; plots and story arcs and the proper use of semicolons was a bit more of a challenge then I knew how to tackle. If I ever find a story to tell, I may reconsider, but for now I’ll stick to book reading instead of book writing.

What show are you currently working on?

Tonight is opening night for me! I will be performing in a production of Chicago at the Fulton Theatre, dancing in the ensemble as well as playing Liz (one of the “Cellblock Tango” girls). Which will be my first speaking part EVER, so wish me luck!!

What is your favorite show you have been a part of and why?

This production of Chicago is turning out to be quite spectacular! This glitzy, vaudeville version has been uniquely original and supremely enjoyable. But other than this most recent credit, the most gratifying show I have ever been a part of was Susan Stroman’s Crazy for You. I was honored to be a part of the 25th anniversary concert performance at Lincoln Center. To have the chance to work with the strong, incredibly brilliant, and legendary Susan Stroman, was an experience I will treasure for the rest of my days. The pinnacle of my career thus far, but only the beginning of my hopes and dreams for the future.


Happy Opening to Kaylee and the rest of the cast of Chicago at The Fulton Theatre! ❤


I feature a new performer every month! I would love some suggestions for questions you would like to ask, or things you want to know!  Leave them in the comments and I will add them to future interviews! Thank you to my dear friend, Kaylee, for sharing with us! I love you so much!