Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2019

February 2

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be doing my monthly wrap-up for February. I read 17 books. Click on the title to see my reviews. Either from WordPress or GR mini reviews. I’ll mention which of the two. If I haven’t reviewed a book I will include the book GR link. Author links not included. Let me know in the comments what you read in February!

Book(s) that I DNFed (0-2 stars):

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  1. King of Scars by: Leigh Bardugo-Mini review
  2. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by: Christina Lauren-Mini review
  3. Dark of the West by: Joanna Hathaway-Mini review
  4. Beyond the Veil by: Pippa DaCosta and Hollie Jackson (Narrator)
  5. The Winner’s Curse by: Marie Rutkoski and Justine Eyre (Narrator)-Wordpress review
  6. A People’s History of Heaven by: Mathangi Subramanian-Mini review
  7. Hurricane Season by: Nicole Melleby-Mini review
  8. The Women’s War by: Jenna Glass-Mini review
  9. Wicked Saints by: Emily A. Duncan-Mini review
  10. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by: Nina Moreno-Mini review

Book(s) that I Enjoyed (3-4 stars):

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  1. Blackbird Chapter 5 by: Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel (Artist)
  2. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 34.5 by: Jun Mochizuki
  3. Edens Zero Chapters 30-33 by: Hiro Mashima-Series link

Favourite Book(s) of the Month (4-5 stars):

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  1. Famous in a Small Town by: Emma Mills-Wordpress review

 

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Book Haul: February 2019

February 1

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be doing my book haul for February. Book Haul is when you share books that you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, books you won through giveaways, and books for review purposes. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you hauled in February!

Library: 

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  1. Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by: Christina Lauren

Ebook/Kubo/Kindle/Audible:

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  1. Vardaesia by: Lynette Noni
  2. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 34.5 by: Jun Mochizuki
  3. Hidden Legacy 2-3.5 by: Ilona Andrews and Renée Raudman (Narrator)-Series link

Netgalley/Publisher:

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  1. Don’t Date Rosa Santos by: Nina Moreno

Bookstore:

43468356 February books

  1. King of Scars by: Leigh Bardugo-Not included in image
  2. Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-, Vol. 9 by: Tappei Nagatsuki and Shinichirou Otsuka (Ilustrator)
  3. A Sprinkle of Spirits by: Anna Meriano
  4. Watch Us Rise by: Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan 

Review: Famous in a Small Town

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Famous in a Small Town by: Emma Mills

My Rating: 4 Stars

For Sophie, small town life has never felt small. With her four best friends—loving, infuriating, and all she could ever ask for—she can weather any storm. But when Sophie’s beloved Acadia High School marching band is selected to march in the upcoming Rose Parade, it’s her job to get them all the way to LA. Her plan? To persuade country singer Megan Pleasant, their Midwestern town’s only claim to fame, to come back to Acadia to headline a fundraising festival.

The only problem is that Megan has very publicly sworn never to return.

What ensues is a journey filled with long-kept secrets, hidden heartbreaks, and revelations that could change everything—along with a possible fifth best friend: a new guy with a magnetic smile and secrets of his own.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Mention of car accident, mention of prison, mention of fatal accident, and taking credit for someone else’s work.

Sophie and her friends are preparing to enjoy their summer break. Much to the group’s surprise a new boy August moves in. August is the brother of Sophie’s neighbor. While working Sophie overhears her band teacher talking about the upcoming fundraiser. The teacher mentions that they will likely not be able raise enough money to participate in The Rose Parade. Sophie takes action into her own hands and decides to get Megan Pleasant to come back and perform. Only Megan has sworn never to return home. 

Emma Mills has been on my radar since I enjoyed This Adventure Ends. I was hesitant when I heard about Famous in a Small Town. Ultimately I gave in to my curiosity. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it! This book is written in first person following Sophie’s point of view. There are flashbacks, text messages, online articles, and social media posts.

There’s something about reading an Emma Mills book. It’s like hugging a blanket. You know it’ll be fluffy and have a huge emphasis on friendship. It’s comforting. And no surprise this is what was present in Famous in a Small Town. 

I absolutely adored the friendship! Sophie has a large friend group and all of them get along with each other. Their conversations were also so funny! As well as relatable. Each character was unique and original. It was even better when August joined the friend group. 

I really enjoyed reading about Sophie’s growth! And her character in general. She wasn’t perfect and she knew that. Sophie genuinely wanted to work on herself and become a better person. She was sweet and caring. It’s a nice change to read about those kinds of characters.

I also really liked August’s nieces! They were so cute! And a delight to read about. I particularly enjoyed it when Sophie babysat them. Sophie would do anything to keep them happy. And wasn’t afraid to act a bit goofy in the process.

I found Famous in a Small Town to be the more romance oriented than This Adventure Ends. Early on Sophie realizes she has a crush on August and asks him out. He politely refuses and asks that the two remain friends. I really enjoyed reading about their relationship!

August was such a sweet character. I actually expected him to be brooding. And in a way he was. But not exactly. Through Sophie and her friend group, as well as his brother August came out of his shell. I really enjoyed reading about his character development!

I was really surprised about the mystery aspect! The whole Megan Pleasant situation was a bit bizarre in the beginning. I didn’t think much off it. Then it went in a direction that I wasn’t expecting. There is another mystery aspect that was also quite surprising. I liked how each mystery was handled.

My only problem with Famous in a Small Town was how Sophie’s parents weren’t really present. This isn’t that large off an issue and it didn’t effect my rating. I just would’ve preferred for them to be more present.

Overall I really enjoyed this! Highly recommend.    

Monthly Wrap-Up: January 2019

january 2

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be doing my monthly wrap-up for January. I read 15 books. Click on the title to see my reviews. Either from WordPress or GR mini reviews. I’ll mention which of the two. If I haven’t reviewed a book I will include the book GR link. Author links not included. Let me know in the comments what you read in January!

Book(s) that I DNFed (0-2 stars):

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  1. I Owe You One by: Sophie Kinsella-Mini review
  2. 29 Dates by: Melissa De La Cruz-Mini review
  3. When Summer Ends by: Jessica Pennington-Mini review
  4. Happy Messy Scary Love by: Leah Konen-Mini review
  5. Riverland by: Fran Wilde-Mini review
  6. Blood Heir by: Amélie Wen Zhao

Book(s) that I Enjoyed (3-4 stars):

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  1. Blackbird Chapter 4 by: Sam Humphries and Jen Bartel (Illustrator)
  2. Artemis Fowl by: Eoin Colfer
  3. The Dark Days Deceit by: Alison Goodman-Wordpress review
  4. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 34 by: Jun Mochizuki-Image from Google

Favourite Book(s) of the Month (4-5 stars):

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  1. Eden’s Zero Chapters’ 26-29 by: Hiro Mashima-GR series link
  2. A Dash of Trouble by: Anna Meriano-Wordpress review

Book Haul: January 2019

january 1

Hello everyone! Today I’m going to be doing my book haul for January. Book Haul is when you share books that you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, books you won through giveaways, and books for review purposes. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you hauled in January!

Ebook/Kubo/Kindle/Audible:

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  1. Iron and Magic by: Ilona Andrews
  2. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 34 by: Jun Mochizuki-Image from Google
  3. Beyond the Veil by: Pippa DeCosta and Hollie Jackson (Narrator)
  4. Burn for Me by: Ilona Andrews and Renée Raudman (Narrator)
  5. Gunmetal Magic by: Ilona Andrews and Renée Raudman (Narrator)
  6. The Winner’s Curse by: Marie Rutkoski and Justine Eyre (Narrator)

Netgalley/Publisher:

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  1. 29 Dates by: Melissa De La Cruz
  2. When Summer Ends by: Jessica Pennington
  3. Happy Messy Scary Love by: Leah Konen
  4. Riverland by: Fran Wilde
  5. Blood Heir by: Amélie Wen Zhao
  6. Hurricane Season by: Nicole Melleby
  7. Dark of the West by: Joanna Hathaway
  8. The Women’s War by: Jenna Glass 

 Bookstore:

januarybooks

  1. Famous in a Small Town by: Emma Mills
  2. Baccano!, Vol. 9 (light novel): 1934 Alice in Jails: Streets by: Ryohgo Narita and Katsumi Enami
  3. My Hero Academia Vol. 17 by: Kohei Horikoshi

Review: The Dark Days Deceit

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The Dark Days Deceit by: Alison Goodmen

My Rating: 4 Stars

The thrilling, genre-bending conclusion to Lady Helen’s demon-hunting adventures, set in the glittering Regency world.

Lady Helen has retreated to a country estate outside Bath to prepare for her wedding to the Duke of Selburn, yet she knows she has unfinished business to complete. She and the dangerously charismatic Lord Carlston have learned they are a dyad, bonded in blood, and only they are strong enough to defeat the Grand Deceiver, who threatens to throw mankind into chaos. But the heinous death-soaked Ligatus Helen has absorbed is tearing a rift in her mind. Its power, if unleashed, will annihilate both Helen and Carlston unless they can find a way to harness its ghastly force and defeat their enemy.

In the final book of the trilogy that began with THE DARK DAYS CLUB and continued with THE DARK DAYS PACT, the intrepid Lady Helen’s story hurtles to a shocking conclusion full of action, heartbreak, and betrayal.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Death, physical violence, drugging someone, manipulation, cheating, sexism, misogynistic society, graphic fight scenes, and abuse of power/authority.

The Dark Days Deceit was read for the theme Reborn Tales. For a book group called The Theme Thieves.

Lady Helen is preparing for her wedding to the Duke of Selburn. She receives a letter from her aunt Lenore saying that she will be visiting soon. This scares Helen as her aunt isn’t aware that she is a Reclaimer. And any of her recent activities.

Lord Carlston meanwhile is looking for Lady Elise. Thus far there have been no findings. Lord Carlston and Lady Helen get into a fight. Lady Helen fears that her marriage to the Duke of Selburn will be put to the test. As her aunt and many other friends start joining the party Lady Helen is having a hard time completing her Reclaimer duties. With Deceivers more prominent Lady Helen and Carlston soon find themselves backed in a corner. Can the two defeat the Grand Deceiver and make it out alive?

I have been a longtime fan of this series! So I was really looking forward to this installment. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it! As per usual this is book is written in third person limited following Helen. There are chapter numbers and letters. There are dates and the year. Plus there is a lace like pattern on the tips of the pages. 

The Dark Days Deceit was so tense! The beginning from the end was tense. With maybe a few nice and peaceful moments. And a hilarious scene. There was even tension between Helen and Carlston. At first it was just that they were mad at each other. But then it shifted to romantic tension. Which I think was done very well.

Some new characters are introduced. Lord Henry and Lady Georgina who are going to be Helen’s in-laws soon. Aunt Lenore and Andrew come back in this book. A few new Reclaimers come in as well.

There was some more world building present. Particularly with the Grand Deceiver. The Ligatus also comes into play. And how it’s effecting Lord Carlston, Lady Helen, and Darby. I really enjoyed all the information and how it fit in with the plot. The plot twists and reveals were so good!

As always I loved reading about the relationship Lady Helen has with those around her! I was surprised at the friendship with Lady Georgina. I assumed that we weren’t supposed to like her. The author instead chose to add more layers. Which I really appreciated. Her mentoring with Sprat was also sweet to read about! I really like Sprat. And was so happy that she played a huge role in the story.

It was nice to read about Helen’s aunt and brother. I was happy when they came back in. They provide a good support for her. Really great family dynamics. The author also surprised me by adding some layers to Helen’s uncle. While he is awful and sexist, he cared about them. In his own way. He set up Helen’s bank account as he did with his wife.

The romance was pretty good to! I enjoyed reading about the love triangle. And the back and forth that Helen went through. I wasn’t happy with how the love triangle ended. But I commend Helen’s strength.

I did have a few problems. I’m kind of upset about Selburn being the Grand Deceiver. I think that there was a better way to end the love triangle. Also about Lady Margret and Delia’s deaths. It felt like all Helen wasn’t left with too many female friends.

Overall I enjoyed this installment! I highly recommend this series.          

Review: A Dash of Trouble

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A Dash of Trouble by: Anna Meriano

My Rating: 5 Stars

Leonora Logroño’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.

Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration—but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas—witches of Mexican ancestry—who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.

Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business—even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet.

And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possibly go wrong?

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Death mentioned, mention of cancer, bullying, physical violence, and abuse of magic powers.

A Dash of Trouble was read for the theme January Jam Jar. For a book group called Devour Your TBR on GR.

Leo’s family runs a bakery. As she is too young Leo isn’t allowed to partake in the bakery activities. Leo soon realizes that there might in fact be another reason to it. With the help of her best friend Caroline, Leo discovers that her family are practicing magic!

Behind her families back Leo begins to practice magic on her own. Leo decides to use her first spell to help Caroline. Rather than doing any good Leo instead creates a big mess. Can Leo right her mistakes with the help of her family and Caroline?

I heard about A Dash of Trouble through Twitter. The cover and the synopsis was cute so I decided to purchase myself a copy. I am happy to say that I loved it! The book is written in third person limited following Leo. There are chapter titles, and chapter numbers along with an illustration. There are poems. The spells were mostly in Spanish. At the end of the book there’s a section labeled Leo’s Lucky Recipes. And lastly baking similes.

This was such a cute book! While also being unique. I loved the magic system and how the baking was involved. All the baking terminology and process was accurate. I also liked how present the culture was even in the spells!

I loved the family aspect! Leo is very close with her family. I liked how unique all the sisters’ were. Isabel the kind oldest and calm one. Marisol the second oldest while a bit rude still caring in her own way. Alma and Belen the twins who are the closest in age to Leo. Thus are a bit closer. I also liked Leo’s parents and aunt Paloma.

Leo and Caroline’s friendship was also well done! Caroline’s mother passed away due to cancer prior to the book. Sometime after that Caroline and her father moved. The family returns back home. And it’s like no time has passed at all between the girl’s. There’s also Brent whom I took some time to warm up to. Regardless he grew on me.

I absolutely loved the diversity! Leo’s family are Spanish. There culture is present in their magic, as the women are Bruja’s. Caroline is half Colombian. She helps Leo translate some spells. The book actually begins with The Day of the Dead festival.

I felt that the author wrote realistic middle graders. All the social problems even felt so. Especially with Brent and the peer pressure he felt in leaving Caroline. Which also ties in to the magic mishaps. Leo decides to put a love spell on Brent so he would go back to being friends with Caroline. Of course this doesn’t end well. And it effects the social hierarchy system.

I really liked Leo’s growth! Throughout the book Leo believes she can solve the problem on her own. In doing so she lies to her family and Caroline. Even to herself. All under the assumption that if her family found out rather than helping her they would stop her from using magic. Leo sees the error in her ways and confesses to everyone. While also owning up to her mistakes.

Overall I loved A Dash of Trouble! I highly recommend this series.