First Lines Friday | 6-2-23

Hello Lovely Readers!

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

“The stars are absolutely in your favor.”
A smile twisted Arjun Mehta’s lips, his cosmic black eyes twinkling at middle-aged woman sitting with her legs crossed in front of him.


The book is….

In this charming YA debut, a girl who’s determined to prove her star chart wrong ropes her longtime best friend into an experimental relationship—not knowing that he has been in love with her for years.

Is it possible to change your fate?

Madhuri Iyer is doomed. Doomed for her upcoming senior year to be a total failure, according to her astrology-obsessed mother, and doomed to a happily ever after with her first boyfriend, according to her family curse.

Determined to prove the existence of her free will, Madhuri devises an experimental relationship with the one boy she knows she’ll never fall for: her childhood best friend, Arjun Mehta. But Arjun’s feelings for her are a variable she didn’t account for.

As Madhuri starts to fall for her experimental boyfriend, she’ll have to decide if charting her own destiny is worth breaking Arjun’s heart—and her own.” (Goodreads)


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Book Review | Midnight Strikes by Zeba Shahnaz

Title: Midnight Strikes
Author: Zeba Shahnaz
Genre: YA Fantasy / Romance
Publication Date: March 14th, 2023
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: ⭐⭐

“Seventeen-year-old Anaïs just wants tonight to end. As an outsider at the kingdom’s glittering anniversary ball, she has no desire to rub shoulders with the nation’s most eligible (and pompous) bachelors—especially not the notoriously roguish Prince Leo. But at the stroke of midnight, an explosion rips through the palace, killing everyone in its path. Including her.

The last thing Anaïs sees is fire, smoke, chaos . . . and then she wakes up in her bedroom, hours before the ball. No one else remembers the deadly attack or believes her warnings of disaster.

Not even when it happens again. And again. And again.

If she’s going to escape this nightmarish time loop, Anaïs must take control of her own fate and stop the attack before it happens. But the court’s gilded surface belies a rotten core, full of restless nobles grabbing at power, discontented commoners itching for revolution, and even royals who secretly dream of taking the throne. It’s up to Anaïs to untangle these knots of deadly deceptions . . . if she can survive past midnight.” (Goodreads)

I thought this would be an interesting book due to the blurb. There were some fascinating things about it but the whole time loop thing just didn’t work for me and it’s probably because it is my least favorite thing to see in a book.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Anaïs. She becomes stuck in a loop due and feels that it is her job to undo the revolution that is starting and save the royal family. For this reason I thought she was a strong character. It would honestly be exhausting to keep waking up over and over again to live out the same events and see people die each time. She tried her best each time to find new information and through that start putting the pieces together.

The other characters that Anaïs interacts with are very flat in my opinion. It’s hard to get to know them when the day keeps repeating and with Anaïs trying to solve the mystery its not like we are really getting to know them personally. The romance was okay but it also falls into the being flat category. I just didn’t feel it.

Books with a time loop can be cool but it’s just really hard for me to get into them and that’s definitely on me and not the book!

Overall, this was okay. I just didn’t fall in love with the characters and thought that some of the things fell flat for me.

WWW Wednesday | 5-31-23

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 Running Mate by Leah Brunner. It was a spur of the moment pick from the library! It’s been good so far and it has the marriage of convenience trope.

Other books I am reading are The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang and Thief Liar Lady by D.L. Soria. The first I am about 70% done and would like to finish it today. The other has been started yet but will be today!

  • The Endless War (The Bridge Kingdom #4) by Danielle L. Jensen (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Role Playing by Cathy Yardley (arc) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Call Me Maybe by Cara Bastone (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The next audiobook hasn’t been picked yet!

I will be reading As Long As The Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh and You, with a View by Jessica Joyce (arc).


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Top Ten Tuesday | Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book

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 Things That Make Me Instantly NOT Want to Read a Book. There are definitely things I decide not to read or just turn me off once in a book. This should be fun to compile!

1.) Open Endings – This is pretty self explanatory. I just want to know how everything worked out and where their lives took them in a year or two! Give me all of the details!

2.) Friends-to-Lovers – I do still try these every now and again, but most of the time they end up being a dud. I will say that if I see it advertised as this trope I do tend to steer clear and pick up something else ha.

3.) Reverse Harems – I am pretty simple and just want one romantic partner.

4.) Dark Romances / Bully Romances – I just don’t find myself interested in these and feel like I would get angry while reading because I don’t think I would like the characters.

5.) Horror – It’s a genre I don’t like haha. I know some books I have read have this as a sub-category but the horror part is usually quite minimal.

7.) Problematic Content / Authors – Another self explanatory one!

8.) Writing Style – Sometimes I just end up DNFing base on this factor alone. It can be very hard to get into a book because of it.

9.) Cheating (to an extent!) – I’m fine with the MC getting cheated on as a plotline but when the MC is in a relationship and finds themself as the cheater is a no-go. I’ve also DNFed a book where the husband said “Hey, let’s give each other free passes to do whatever with another person.” It was to strengthen their relationship and I passed. It’s just not something I like.

10.) Too Many Nods to Social Media, Actual Companies, Etc – It reminds me of all of the closeup in movies for brands lol. I think it can become too much at times.

Do we have any in common? Would some of these turn you off from reading a book?

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Book Review | In the Tunnel by Julie Lee

Title: In the Tunnel
Author: Julie Lee
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication Date: May 30th, 2023
Publisher: Holiday House
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

Trapped in an enemy tunnel, a young refugee experiences the Korean War firsthand in this searing story of survival, loss, and hope, a companion to the Freeman Award-winning novel Brother’s Keeper.

Myung-gi knows war is coming: War between North and South Korea. Life in communist North Korea has become more and more unbearable—there is no freedom of speech, movement, association, or thought—and his parents have been carefully planning the family’s escape.

But when his father is abducted by the secret police, all those plans fall apart. How can Myung-gi leave North Korea without his dad? Especially when he believes that the abduction was his fault?

Set during a cataclysmic war which shaped the world we know today, this is the story of one boy’s coming-of-age during a time when inhumanity, lawlessness, and terror reigned supreme. With only each other, Myung-gi, his mother, and his twelve-year-old sister Yoomee do everything they can to protect one another. But gentle, quiet, bookish Myung-gi has plans to find his father at any cost—even if it means joining the army and being sent to the front lines, where his deepest fears await him.” (Goodreads)

This was another good historical fiction book by this author. I am glad I got the chance to read it.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Myung-gi and it does have a dual timeline. It follows Myung-gi from the time before he joins the war to him having to enlist at the age of 16. It’s really sad to read about since he was such a young character and having to go through harrowing events for his family to survive. He had a lot of strength and did a lot to even find his father. I wouldn’t be able to do the things he did.

This author always does a great job of getting the reader emotionally invested in the story. You get invested in the characters lives even if they are around for a short time. The dual timeline does a great job of showing the past and present and how it has effected Myung-gi.

Overall, this was another solid read from this author. I’d recommend it if you like historical fiction.

Weekly Wrap-Up | 5-28-23

Hello Lovely Bookworms!

This week has been pretty chill. I did some errands on Monday and from then on haven’t really done much. We did go to the lake a couple of times this week to walk around it which was nice. The weather has been beautiful! Yesterday we had a catfish lunch for an early Memorial Day get together with family. It was nice to see some of my husband’s family that we haven’t seen in a bit.

This week and the following will be hectic as we try to get everything ready for our trip to MN. I need to start making a list so I don’t forget anything haha.

I hope you all have been having a great weekend. ❤️

  • Sing Me to Sleep by Gabi Burton (arc) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Bodyguard by Katherine Center ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Drowning Faith (The Poppy War #2.5) by R.F. Kuang ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Long Lost by Jacqueline West (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Since WWW Wednesday)

  • The Endless War (The Bridge Kingdom #4) by Danielle L. Jensen (🎧)
  • Role Playing by Cathy Yardley (arc)
  • The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang



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Book Review | Threads That Bind by Kika Hatzopoulou

Title: Threads That Bind
Author: Kika Hatzopoulou
Genre: YA Fantasy / Greek Mythology
Publication Date: May 30th, 2023
Publisher: Razorbill
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

In a world where the children of the gods inherit their powers, a descendant of the Greek Fates must solve a series of impossible murders to save her sisters, her soulmate, and her city.

Descendants of the Fates are always born in threes: one to weave, one to draw, and one to cut the threads that connect people to the things they love and to life itself. The Ora sisters are no exception. Io, the youngest, uses her Fate-born abilities as a private investigator in the half-sunken city of Alante.

But her latest job leads her to a horrific discovery: somebody is abducting women, maiming their life-threads, and setting the resulting wraiths loose in the city to kill. To find the culprit, she must work alongside Edei Rhuna, the right hand of the infamous Mob Queen—and the boy with whom she shares a rare fate-thread linking them as soul mates before they’ve even met.

But the investigation turns personal when Io’s estranged oldest sister turns up on the arm of her best suspect. Amid unveiled secrets from her past and her growing feelings for Edei, Io must follow clues through the city’s darkest corners and unearth a conspiracy that involves some of the city’s most powerful players—before destruction comes to her own doorstep.” (Goodreads)

This was a solid debut and has a fresh take on Greek Mythology!

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Io Ora. She has two sisters and they are all Fate-born which means they have a gift from the gods. Their gifts deal with fates and it’s no wonder there are three because “one to weave, one to draw, and one to cut the threads that connect people to the things they love and to life itself”. I liked learning about their gifts and what they could do with them. Io had to make a lot of hard choices when it came to hers. If you cut the thread then their love for whatever was on the other end would be a meh feeling from then on. I wouldn’t want all of that responsibility!

Io is more than just her gift though. She is also a private detective who tries to help people with their problems and find the truth. This plays a big role in the book since a few of her cases end up being connected in some way. The mystery was very intriguing and once I started reading it was hard to put down. I was guessing all the way up to the big reveal and even then there are still so many questions! I didn’t realize this was going to have a sequel until I got the cliffhanger and I definitely need to know what will happen next.

If you are looking for romance you won’t find it here. Io does find herself wanting someone but it is very complicated and when you think things will get more serious something happens. The minor characters’ relationships have more going on which wasn’t bad but I was rooting for Io.

The minor characters add a lot to the book because of their connections to Io or because of their powers, sometimes it is both. I liked learning about the politics behind their city and what happened during the riots that everyone is hush hush about. In this city it is hard to decide who to trust. In can be very cutthroat.

I have been very wary when it comes to plots with Greek Mythology because they all start to feel the same at some point. The good thing about this one is that it feels fresh and different. I can’t say I have read one like it, especially when dealing with the Fates.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I will be looking forward to the sequel!.

Top Ten Tuesday | Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

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 Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book! This should be a easy one to do because I can already think of quite a lot on the top of my head!

1.) Enemies-to-Lovers: This is my all time favorite trope and I love it so much!

2.) Banter (and lots of it!): I love when this is combined with the first because it just adds to the tension between them.

3.) Gorgeous Cover: I am a sucker for a good cover and it is usually the first thing that catches my attention.

4.) Auto-Buy Author: Here are just a few that I would instantly buy Danielle L. Jensen, Katherine Arden, Joanna Ruth Meyer

5.) Small Town Setting: There is something about a small town and maybe it is because I live in one! Usually a small town creates a great community.

6.) Fantasy: It’s a genre that anything I see in that broad genre I will try haha.

7.) Animal Companions: Whether they are their own character that talks or a small companion that follows them around as the comedic relief just give it all to me!

8.) Hidden Identity: Lost royal or someone pretended to be someone else it’s all so intriguing!

Do we have any in common? Would some of these make you want to read a book?

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Goodreads Monday | The Last Bloodcarver by Vanessa Le

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: The Last Bloodcarver
Author: Vanessa Le
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: March 26th, 2024
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

The tantalizing romance of These Violent Delights meets the mechanical wonders of Cinder in The Last Bloodcarver, the first in a two-book debut – with a riveting medical magic system and lush Vietnam-inspired fantasy world.

Nhika is a bloodcarver. A cold-hearted, ruthless beingwho can alter human biology with just a touch. In the industrial city of Theumas, she is seen not as a healer, but a monster that kills for pleasure.

When Nhika is caught using her bloodcarving abilities during a sham medical appointment, she’s captured by underground thugs and sold to an aristocratic family to heal the last witness of their father’s murder.

But as Nhika delves deeper into their investigation amidst the glitz of Theumas’ wealthiest district, she begins to notice parallels between this job and her own dark past. And when she meets an alluring yet entitled physician’s aide, Ven Kochin, she’s forced to question the true intent behind this murder. In a society that outcasts her, Kochin seems drawn to her…though he takes every chance he gets to push her out of his opulent world.

When Nhika discovers that Kochin is not who he claims to be, and that there is an evil dwelling in Theumas that runs much deeper than the murder of one man, she must decide where her heart, and her allegiance, truly lie. And – if she’s willing to become the dreaded bloodcarver Theumas fears to save herself and the ones she’s vowed to protect.” (Goodreads)


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Weekly Wrap-Up | 5-20-23

Hello Lovely Bookworms!

last week I wasn’t able to write one of these up since we woke up early to drive an hour and a half so my husband could run in a 5k. We stayed in town with his dad and step-mom for the weekend too. It was a nice little break.

Since then this week has moved by quickly. I’ve got some reading done and finally got a 5 star read in which was a reread for me!

It’s less than 3 weeks that we head to Minnesota for my youngest brother’s wedding. It will be an 11 hour drive and I am kind of dreading it although I know it will be fine. We will be gone for a week and a half but I haven’t seen them in a few years so I am excited. The weeks are going to fly by!

I hope you all have been having a great weekend. ❤️

  • XOXO by Axie Oh (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Yellowface by R.F. Kuang (🎧) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Final Offer by Lauren Asher ⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Since WWW Wednesday)

  • Sing Me to Sleep by Gabi Burton (arc)
  • Queen Charlote by Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes (🎧)
  • Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor
  • The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang



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