Book Review | The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

Title: The Spanish Love Deception
Author: Elena Armas
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: November 23rd, 2021
Publisher: Atria Books
Rating: ⭐⭐

“Catalina Martín desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding. Especially since her little white lie about her American boyfriend has spiralled out of control. Now everyone she knows—including her ex and his fiancée—will be there and eager to meet him.
She only has four weeks to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic and aid in her deception. New York to Spain is no short flight and her raucous family won’t be easy to fool.
Enter Aaron Blackford—her tall, handsome, condescending colleague—who surprisingly offers to step in. She’d rather refuse; never has there been a more aggravating, blood-boiling, and insufferable man.
But Catalina is desperate, and as the wedding draws nearer, Aaron looks like her best option. And she begins to realize he might not be as terrible in the real world as he is at the office.” (Goodreads)

I tried to like this one I really did….I even liked it a lot in the beginning but then things started slowing down and it felt like the book was longer than it needed to be. It was just hard to pick up and continue on with.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Catalina. She is a fine character and I don’t think that there was anything wrong with her. She did what a lot of people do which is lie. Who wants to go to a wedding and see their ex happy? It would be infuriating. Her love interest, Aaron Blackford, was a decent guy. He was always helpful even when Catalina would shoo him away. I feel like this is one of those one-sided enemies-to-lovers where its all due to miscommunication which is something I have a hard time with when I have seen it done in other books.

There are cute moments between them but still not enough for me to care or want to root for them.

Overall, it was okay but just not for me. The hype got me on this one.

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Goodreads Monday | To Have and to Heist by Sara Desai

Hello Readers!

Goodreads Monday was hosted and created by Lauren’s Page Turners and has now been taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.

Title: To Have and to Heist
Author: Sara Desai
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: July 18th, 2023
Publisher: Berkley Books

To exonerate her best friend, one woman must mastermind a jewelry heist during the wedding of the season in this hilarious romantic-comedy caper from the author of The Dating Plan.

Simi Chopra is on a bad-luck streak. She’s lost yet another job, her student loan debt won’t stop growing, her basement apartment is a certifiable flood zone, and now her best friend has been accused of stealing a multimillion-dollar diamond necklace. To put it lightly, she’s desperate for a break—that’s right when Jack waltzes out of the bushes and into her life.

Jack is just as charming as he is mysterious. When he offers to help her find the missing necklace and steal it back, Simi jumps at the chance to clear her friend’s name and collect the substantial reward. But every good heist needs a crew. All she needs to do is transform a ragtag group of strangers into an elite heist crew, infiltrate a high-society wedding and steal the necklace from a dangerous criminal before the happy couple say “I do.” Meanwhile the bride is keeping secrets, a detective with a slow-burn smile keeps showing up at her door, and the ultimate robbery might not be the wedding con, but the way Jack is stealing her heart.” (Goodreads)

DOES THIS ONE SOUND LIKE SOMETHING YOU WOULD READ?

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Book Review | Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim

Title: Spice Road (Spice Road Trilogy #1)
Author: Maiya Ibrahim
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: January 24th, 2023
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“In the hidden desert city of Qalia, secret spice magic awakens affinities in those who drink the misra tea. With an affinity for iron, seventeen-year-old Imani wields a dagger like no other warrior, garnering her the reputation as the next greatest Shield for battling the dangerous djinn, ghouls, and other monsters that lurk in the sands beyond city limits.
Her reputation has been overshadowed, however, by her brother who tarnished the family name after he was discovered stealing their nation’s coveted spice – a tell-tale sign of magical obsession. He disappeared soon after, believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes, and leaving Imani reeling with both betrayal and grief.

But when Imani uncovers evidence her brother may be alive and spreading their nation’s magic beyond the desert, she strikes a deal with the Council to find him and bring him back to Qalia before he can reveal the city’s location. Accompanied by Qayn, a roguish but handsome djinni, and Taha, a powerful beastseer whose magical talents are matched only by his arrogance, they set out on their mission.
Imani will soon discover there are many secrets that lie beyond the Forbidden Wastes – and in her own heart – but will she find her brother before his betrayals endanger the fate of all of Qalia?” (Goodreads)

This is the start of a new trilogy and one that I was excited to be approved for through Netgalley! I feel like I have read books similar to this, like The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah, but it still managed to be unique and surprising read!

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Imani. She is a dedicated Shield that helps take care of her home city from monsters such as the djinn. They know her well as the Djinn Slayer. The one thing that made me impartial to Imani is that she can very much fall into the “I can do everything and survive”. Don’t get me wrong, I did like seeing her come out on top and even stick up for those that couldn’t on their own but I would have liked a bit more struggle on her end as it seems everything comes naturally to her. She still is a great character though since she family is a number one priority and that will give any character brownie points from me.

There is also more to Imani than her job as well. She has lived a sheltered life and through the disappearance of her brother she finally starts to understand the rest of the world that has been kept a secret from her. It isn’t easy for her to understand either as it just brings on more questions about the colonizers and the Council that protects her city. I feel like politics was just surface level and I am sure there will be a lot more in the sequel.

The other characters in this book have been very interesting so far. Qayn is the one I am most intrigued by! He is a djinn who is suave and hides many secrets. What is not to love about that? Haha. I think that Taha and his friends have also been secretive but some of theirs due come to light by the end of the book. I am very conflicted when it comes to Taha though. It’s hard to tell if he is just a good manipulator or cares deep down. I do think that some of the characters will get more page time and I am looking forward to learning more about them and their cause.

Although this book did take me a bit to get into, I did eventually find myself wanting to sit down and pick it up. I thought that it was very adventurous and even with some down times it didn’t discourage me. There are some thrilling plot twists and I can’t wait to see how the story continues in the sequel.

Overall, this was a solid debut!

Blog Tour | A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School by Carlotta Walls LaNier & Lisa Frazier Page

Title: A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School
Author: Carlotta Walls LaNier, Lisa Frazier Page
Genre: Nonfiction / Memoir / Social Justice
Publication Date: January 17th, 2023
Publisher: Delacorte Press

—>Click Here For Tour Dates!<—

Thank you to the publisher and TBR and Beyond Tours for a complimentary earc and a chance to help promote this book!

Follow the story of Carlotta Walls LaNier, who in 1957 at the age of fourteen was one of nine black students who integrated the all-white Little Rock Central High School and became known as the Little Rock Nine.

At fourteen years old, Carlotta Walls was the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine. The journey to integration in a place deeply against it would not be not easy. Yet Carlotta, her family, and the other eight students and their families answered the call to be part of the desegregation order issued by the US Supreme Court in its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case.
As angry mobs protested, the students were escorted into Little Rock Central High School by escorts from the 101st Airborne Division, which had been called in by then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower to ensure their safety. The effort needed to get through that first year in high school was monumental, but Carlotta held strong. Ultimately, she became the first Black female ever to walk across the Central High stage and receive a diploma.
The Little Rock Nine experienced traumatic and life-changing events not only as a group but also as individuals, each with a distinct personality and a different story. This is Carlotta’s courageous story.”

Content Warning: racism, violence, segregation in education

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

Carlotta Walls LaNier attended Michigan State University and graduated from Colorado State College–now the University of Northern Colorado, on whose board of trustees she sits. After working for the YWCA, she founded her own real estate brokerage firm, LaNier and Company. A sought-after lecturer, LaNier speaks across the country, and she has received the Congressional Medal of Honor and two honorary doctorate degrees. She is the mother of two children, Whitney and Brooke, and lives in Englewood, Colorado, with her husband, Ira.

Carlotta Walls LaNier is available for select readings and lectures. To inquire about a possible appearance, please contact Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau at speakers@penguinrandomhouse.com or visit http://www.prhspeakers.com.

Website | Goodreads

Lisa Frazier Page, an editor and award-winning reporter at The Washington Post, is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream. A graduate of New Orleans’s Dillard University, Page holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She grew up in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband. They have four children.

Website | Twitter |Goodreads

This is a very important read and one I don’t know much about besides what was taught in school. It will be one I can share with my daughter as well since I homeschool her.

What do you think about this one?

Blog Tour | Cookie Monsters by Erika J Kendrick (Promo)

Title: Cookie Monsters
Author: Erika J. Kendrick
Genre: Middle Grade / Contemporary
Publication Date: January 17th, 2023
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

—>Click Here For Tour Dates!<—

Thank you to the publisher and TBR and Beyond Tours for a complimentary earc and a chance to help promote this book!

A fun, fast-paced novel about friendship, family, fighting for what’s right, and standing out from the crowd while standing up for yourself. 
 
Twelve-year-old Brooklyn Ace is ready to take the Valentine World Scouts by storm and build her own cookie empire. She nearly won the top cookie selling spot last year and is determined to make her mom—who recently passed away—proud by coming in first this time around. With her fabulous best friends by her side, Brooklyn knows she’ll become Santa Monica’s District Cookie Queen. The crown is practically in the bag. 
 
Then Piper Parker arrives. 
 
Piper has a rich dad, a fancy hotel, and a drive to steal the cookie crown right off Brooklyn’s head. Before long, most of the seventh grade is under Piper’s spell. But Brooklyn is in it to win the biggest cookie war the school has ever seen. With the help of her cookie squad, her rockstar grandmother, her super cool therapist, and a lot of self-love and inner growth, maybe—just maybe—Brooklyn can end up a winner after all.” (Goodreads)

Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

Erika J. Kendrick is an acclaimed writer, a national speaker, and a mental fitness expert. She earned a psychology degree from Stanford University and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Erika was an NBA cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls before writing her novels, Confessions of a Rookie Cheerleader (Random House) and Appetite (Random House). She is currently touring her debut middle grade novel, Squad Goals, with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. The spinoff, Cookie Monsters, is set for a summer 2022 release.

After battling her brain pain, Erika founded Mental Fitness For Life where she launched her latest Mental Fitness book tour, “Who Moved My Happy?” While talking to audiences of all backgrounds and ages, Erika shares her story of brain pain and inspires hope by creating safe spaces for life-saving conversations. She has presented and guest lectured at colleges and universities as well as the US Army and US Air Force, national sororities and fraternities, middle and high schools, conferences, retreats, and national organizations, large and small. Erika has toured with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and is a speaker with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) where she has been inducted into their Hall of Fame.

Erika is a recipient of several “Who’s Who” honors, a Rising Icon honor, and several Awards of Excellence. Erika has taken the stage for TEDx, appeared on Good Morning America – The Third Hour (GMA3), NBC News, CBS News, The Wendy Williams Experience, national television and radio segments, and a host of other media outlets. She has been featured in several publications, including Page Six of The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and various other magazines and digital media.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook

I never was a Girl Scout but I feel like this would be a cute read and give me a glimpse at that life! It’s definitely a book I’d love to share with my daughter.

What Do you think about this one?

WWW Wednesday | 1-18-23

Hello, My Lovely Bookworms!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and is now hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

It consists of answering these three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

My audiobook is The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray. It’s a retelling of Pride and Prejudice but with a cozy mystery twist! I will say that it is unique but I am starting to think that P & P retellings just aren’t for me, ha. They end up not working.

I am reading 3 other books The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (a buddy read), Containment (Sanctuary #2) by Caryn Lix, and The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi by S.A. Chakraborty (arc). The first is a reread which I am enjoying once again! The second is continuing on with a series and it is getting real good. The third is one that I decided to request on a whim as it is a spin-off series of one I haven’t read yet haha. It took me a bit to get into how it was being narrated at first but I am quite curious now!

The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden (🎧)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sanctuary by Caryn Lix ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨

I will be listening to The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz. It’s a middle grade and on the lighter side which is something I need in the midst of all of my long reads recently!

My other reads will be This Is Not a Personal Statement by Tracy Badua and The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway by Ashley Schumacher (arc).

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT READ? ARE YOU LOVING IT? HAVE YOU READ OR WANT TO READ ANY THAT I HAVE LISTED? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!

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Tope Ten Tuesday | Bookish Goals for 2023

Hello Bookworms!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Today’s prompt is Bookish Goals for 2023! I am definitely going to try to stick to all of these and will also try to have updates throughout the year for them as well!

Participate in Readathons

I usually do one or two a year, but I would like to do at least five! If I do more then it’s all the better. I feel like readathons help me finish books because I want to make sure I finish all prompts and be an overachiever, haha.

Do More Buddy Reads

I’m starting off with one so far which is more than I did last year. 😅 I feel like it’s a good way to connect with those in the book community.

Read 100 Books

Obviously I will read more than this but I just don’t like the pressure of the goal on Goodreads. I just like going with the flow!

Catch Up on Arcs

I have 20 to read on Netgalley and 2 physical arcs. I got real behind when I moved last year and haven’t caught up. I am not behind in any when it comes to reviewing so that is good at least and my percentage is at 96. I also have been requesting less. I plan to keep it that way and not just request everything that has a pretty cover or good blurb.

Continue to DNF

I’ve been doing well with this and will continue on!

Post on Boosktagram

I would be okay with two posts a week! I just need to be more consistent.

Do we have similar goals? Let me know in the comments below!

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Book Review | The Fraud Squad by Kyla Zhao

Title: The Fraud Squad
Author: Kyla Zhao
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: January 17th, 2023
Publisher: Berkley Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“For as long as she can remember, Samantha Song has dreamed of writing for a high-society magazine—and she’d do anything to get there. But the constant struggle to help her mom make ends meet and her low social status cause her dream to feel like a distant fantasy.

Now Samantha finds herself working at a drab PR firm. Living vicariously through her wealthy coworker and friend, Anya Chen, is the closest she’ll get to her ideal life. Until she meets Timothy Kingston: the disillusioned son of one of Singapore’s elite families—and Samantha’s one chance at infiltrating the high-society world to which she desperately wants to belong.

To Samantha’s surprise, Timothy and Anya both agree to help her make a name for herself on Singapore’s socialite scene. But the borrowed designer clothes and plus-ones to every glamorous event can only get her so far. The rest is on Samantha, and she’s determined to impress the editor in chief of Singapore’s poshest magazine. But the deeper Samantha wades into this fraud, the more she fears being exposed—especially with a mysterious gossip columnist on the prowl for dirt—forcing her to reconcile her pretense with who she really is before she loses it all.” (Goodreads)

This was a fun read and even though I have read books with a similar plot, I thought this one really shined on its own.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Samantha Song. She has watched the high-society world from the outside for a long time, mostly through a magazine she wishes she could work for. Through her job at a PR agency, she meets Anya and through her Timothy. Both have connections to that world and they make a plan to turn her into a socialite.

Samantha is an interesting character. Sometimes I disliked her and other times I felt for her situation. I understand why and how she could act the way she did because fame and popularity can definitely cause a big head. I just felt so bad for those she mistreated, especially her friend who was also on the lower side of society. Samantha did have good qualities though. She cares for her mother and wants to see everyone be able to mingle. I also like that she is opinionated.

The other characters were decent but I feel like they didn’t get the same attention and felt a bit one-dimensional at times. This is also why the romance was on the meh side.

Where this book shines is the plot! I couldn’t put it down when it came to her becoming a socialite. It was cool to see her shine in a place outside of her own. She did it with such grace. I wish I had her confidence.

Overall, this was a good read. I am looking forward to what she writes next.

Goodreads Monday | You, with a View by Jessica Joyce

Hello Readers!

Goodreads Monday was hosted and created by Lauren’s Page Turners and has now been taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.

Title: You, with a View
Author: Jessica Joyce
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: July 11th, 2023
Publisher: Berkley

Two high school enemies must reunite for a road trip inspired by their grandparents’ broken engagement in this electric debut romance.

Noelle Shepherd is unemployed, living with her parents, and grieving the loss of her beloved grandmother when she discovers decades-old photos of Gram and a smitten man, tucked alongside a love letter. She creates a TikTok to search for the mystery man, which goes viral, and she’s shocked when his grandson responds—a man who happens to be her high school nemesis, Theo Spencer.

Noelle refuses to let Theo’s annoying accomplishments in adulthood—or his sexy smirk—stand in the way of meeting his grandfather and unlocking the secrets he knew about her gram as a young woman. When she learns that their plans to elope were thwarted, Noelle decides to take the honeymoon road trip they planned but never got to carry out. There’s a catch, though: Paul, Theo’s grandfather, asks to come with her, and he insists that Theo join them.

It’ll be a miracle if they make it through the trip without Noelle throwing Theo out of the moving car—or the bed they end up sharing. As the miles tick by, the tension simmers hotter between them…until she discovers that Theo’s hiding a secret that could cause their tenuous relationship to end before it can restart.” (Goodreads)

DOES THIS ONE SOUND LIKE SOMETHING YOU WOULD READ?

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Book Review | Mysteries of Thorn Manor (Sorcery of Thorns #1.5) by Margaret Rogerson

Title: Mysteries of Thorn Manor (Sorcery of Thorns #1.5)
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Genre: YA Fantasy / Novella
Publication Date: January 17th, 2023
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“Elisabeth Scrivener is finally settling into her new life with sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn. Now that their demon companion Silas has returned, so has scrutiny from nosy reporters hungry for gossip about the city’s most powerful sorcerer and the librarian who stole his heart. But something strange is afoot at Thorn Manor: the estate’s wards, which are meant to keep their home safe, are acting up and forcibly trapping the Manor’s occupants inside. Surely it must be a coincidence that this happened just as Nathaniel and Elisabeth started getting closer to one another…
With no access to the outside world, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas – along with their new maid Mercy – will have to work together to discover the source of the magic behind the malfunctioning wards before they’re due to host the city’s Midwinter Ball. Not an easy task when the house is filled with unexpected secrets, and all Elisabeth can think about is kissing Nathaniel in peace. But when it becomes clear that the house, influenced by the magic of Nathaniel’s ancestors, requires a price for its obedience, Elisabeth and Nathaniel will have to lean on their connection like never before to set things right.” (Goodreads)

This was a cute and lighthearted novella to continue on the story of Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas.

The book follows the point-of-view of Elisabeth in third person narrative. Her mind definitely has a lot of thoughts when it comes to Nathaniel and Silas. She is trying to figure out what her life will be like now that everything has settled down. I can understand her feelings towards love and long term relationships. She always tries to understand Silas a lot more, even if he doesn’t see himself as she does.

There are cute moments between Elisabeth and Nathaniel. I liked the adventure they are set on to make things right at the manor. It all culminates to a surprise at the end which is what I was hoping would happen. I do think that it could have been drawn out a bit more and probably not done at that moment when someone is asking Nathaniel about something but maybe that is just me.

Overall, this was good and it did give me some answers that I had about their futures. I just wish it would have been just a bit longer.