TBR Thursday – January 27

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is How to Survive a Scandal (Rebels With a Cause #1) by Samara Parish.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In this whirlwind Regency romance, a near-death experience leads to a marriage of convenience for two unsuspecting strangers, but will their unusual meeting lead them to true love?

Lady Amelia was raised to be the perfect duchess, accomplished in embroidery, floral arrangement, and managing a massive household. But when an innocent mistake forces her and the uncouth, untitled Benedict Asterly into a marriage of convenience, all her training appears to be for naught. Even worse, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to this man no finishing school could have prepared her for.

Benedict Asterly never dreamed saving Amelia’s life would lead to him being shackled to the hoity Society miss. Benedict was taught to distrust the aristocracy at a young age, so when news of his marriage endangers a business deal, Benedict is wary of Amelia’s offer to help. But his quick-witted, elegant bride defies all his expectations… and if he’s not careful, she’ll break down the walls around his guarded heart.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: The Awakening (Zodiac Academy #1)

Title: The Awakening (Zodiac Academy #1)
Author: Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, New Adult
Publisher: Independently published
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: July 13, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

You have been selected to attend Zodiac Academy, where your star sign defines your destiny. 

If you’re one of the Fae, elemental magic is in your blood. And apparently it’s in ours. As twins born in the month of Gemini, we’re a rare breed even in this academy of supernatural a-holes.

Changelings were outlawed hundreds of years ago but I guess our birth parents didn’t get the memo. Which means we’re totally unprepared for the ruthless world of Fae.

Air. Fire. Water. Earth.

No one has ever harnessed all four of them, until we arrived. And it hasn’t made us any friends so far.

As the rarest Elementals ever known, we’re already a threat to the four celestial heirs; the popular, vindictive bullies who happen to be some of the hottest guys we’ve ever seen. It doesn’t help that they’re the most dangerous beasts in the Academy. And probably on earth too.

Our fates are intertwined, but they want us gone. They’ve only got until the lunar eclipse to force us out and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed.

We never knew we had a birthright to live up to but now that we do, we intend to claim our throne.

We can’t expect any help from the faculty when it comes to defending ourselves. So if the dragon shifters want some target practice, the werewolves want someone to hunt or the vampiresfancy a snack then we have to be ready. But we’ve been looking after each other for a long time and fighting back is in our blood.

Today’s horoscope: totally screwed.

Review:

Darcy and Tory are eighteen-year-old twins from Chicago. Their parents died when they were babies so they went through many foster families who didn’t treat them well. Soon after their eighteenth birthday, a man shows up in their lives to take them to their home world. They are actually fae, and the true heirs to the throne. Darcy and Tory are taken to the Zodiac Academy, and they must pass their Awakening to earn their places as heirs. However, they don’t know anything about this world or their extraordinary magical powers. The sisters have to face bullies, hazing, and potential romances, while also learning about their powers.

I’ve been seeing this book everywhere so I had to read it. I’ve seen it described as Hogwarts as a university, with some spicy romance. It had Hogwarts vibes, since Darcy and Tory had to go to a magical school and learn about the world, like Harry Potter. However, these girls didn’t seem to have any allies in the other students, so it was more difficult for them to navigate this world.

This was my first time reading “bully romance.” I didn’t even know what that was before reading this. The men in this book were very toxic. They treated the women terribly. Yet they were physically attractive and from powerful families, so people were drawn to them. There were some moments that I thought the guys were going to redeem themselves, but it didn’t last very long.

The Awakening is a great start to this series!

Ruthless Fae by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

Have you read The Awakening? What did you think of it?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – January 26

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is Edgewood by Kristen Ciccarelli. The expected publication date is March 1, 2022.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

No matter how far she runs, the forest of Edgewood always comes for Emeline Lark. The scent of damp earth curls into her nose when she sings and moss creeps across the stage. It’s as if the woods of her childhood, shrouded in folklore and tall tales, are trying to reclaim her. But Emeline has no patience for silly superstitions.

When her grandfather disappears, leaving only a mysterious orb in his wake, the stories Emeline has always scoffed at suddenly seem less foolish. She enters the forest she has spent years trying to escape, only to have Hawthorne Fell, a handsome and brooding tithe collector, try to dissuade her from searching.

Refusing to be deterred, Emeline finds herself drawn to the court of the fabled Wood King himself. She makes a deal—her voice for her grandfather’s freedom. Little does she know, she’s stumbled into the middle of a curse much bigger than herself, one that threatens the existence of this eerie world she’s trapped in, along with the devastating boy who feels so familiar.

With the help of Hawthorne—an enemy turned reluctant ally who she grows closer to each day—Emeline sets out to not only save her grandfather’s life, but to right past wrongs, and in the process, discover her true voice.

Haunting and romantic, Kristen Ciccarelli’s Edgewood is an exciting novel from a bold, unforgettable voice in fantasy.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Happy Pub Day – January 25

Happy Pub Day to all of these new books!

The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall

The Red Palace by June Hur

The Temperature of Me and You by Brian Zepka

Loveboat Reunion by Abigail Hing Wen

Into the Midnight Void by Mara Fitzgerald

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler by Ibi Zoboi

The Overnight Guest by Heather Gudenkauf

Light Years From Home by Mike Chen

The Broken Tower by Kelly Braffet

Violeta by Isabel Allende

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner

At the End of Everything by Marieke Nijkamp

Notes on an Execution by Dana Kukafka

Her Hidden Genius by Marie Benedict

The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi

Survivor’s Guilt by Robyn Gigl

Running Wild by K.A. Tucker

Seven Mercies by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

What books are you most excited for this week?

Top Ten Tuesday – New-To-Me-Authors in 2021

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and it is now hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is New-To-Me-Authors in 2021. These are authors I read for the first time in 2021. Here’s my list:

1. I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas by Tiffany Schmidt

2. Verity by Colleen Hoover

3. A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli

4. The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo

5. Frankie and Bug by Gayle Forman

6. White Smoke by Tiffany D. Jackson

7. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

8. Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

9. Tell Me When You Feel Something by Vicki Grant

10. Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell

(All book covers from Goodreads)

What’s your list of books on your Top Ten Tuesday?

Review: Something Fabulous (Something Fabulous #1)

Title: Something Fabulous
Author: Alexis Hall
Genre: Romance, LGBTQ, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Montlake
Source: Thomas Allen and Son
Format: Paperback
Release Date: January 25, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of Boyfriend Material comes a delightfully witty romance featuring a reserved duke who’s betrothed to one twin and hopelessly enamoured of the other.

Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern, has twin problems: literally.

It was always his father’s hope that Valentine would marry Miss Arabella Tarleton. But, unfortunately, too many novels at an impressionable age have caused her to grow up…romantic. So romantic that a marriage of convenience will not do and after Valentine’s proposal she flees into the night determined never to set eyes on him again.

Arabella’s twin brother, Mr. Bonaventure “Bonny” Tarleton, has also grown up…romantic. And fully expects Valentine to ride out after Arabella and prove to her that he’s not the cold-hearted cad he seems to be.

Despite copious misgivings, Valentine finds himself on a pell-mell chase to Dover with Bonny by his side. Bonny is unreasonable, overdramatic, annoying, and…beautiful? And being with him makes Valentine question everything he thought he knew. About himself. About love. Even about which Tarleton he should be pursuing.

Review:

Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern, has always known he must marry Arabella Tarleton. Their fathers were friends, and they decided before they died that their children would marry. However, Arabella doesn’t accept Valentine’s proposal as expected because he doesn’t love or even care for her. After the proposal, Arabella runs away with her friend, so her twin brother, Bonaventure “Bonny” Tarleton, insists that Valentine go with him across the country to bring her home. Valentine soon learns that Bonny likes men, which is something that Valentine had never considered. As they travel around, trying to track down Arabella, Valentine starts to question everything he’s ever thought about love.

This story started out with an author’s note that said some of the linguistic choices are modern and almost all of the characters are queer. The modern language was quite funny at times, especially for a book set in the 1800s. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where almost every character, except for one or two, are queer. This made for some tense situations during a time period where it wasn’t accepted. This story also had quite a steamy romance!

I was very curious to see how this story would end. Since it’s a romance, it should end with the main couple being in a relationship or getting married. However, a male couple in the 1800s wouldn’t be able to get married, and their romance would be frowned upon public, especially when one of the men was a Duke who must have an heir. I won’t give away the ending, but I was pleasantly surprised. It really made a lot of sense, yet I hadn’t thought it would happen. It was the perfect ending for this story!

Something Fabulous is a great queer historical romance!

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this book.

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Have you read Something Fabulous? What did you think of it?

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – January 24

This blog meme is hosted by Book Date. It is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment, and er… add to that ever growing TBR pile!

What I just finished:

This weekend I finished Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall.

What I’m currently reading:

I’m currently reading The Awakening by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti.

What I’m reading next:

Next I will be reading All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris.

What are you guys reading this week? Have you read any of these books?

Jill’s Weekly Wrap Up – January 23

Here are my reviews for the week with my ratings:

I did 6 weekly blogging memes:

How was your week? What did you guys read?

Sundays in Bed With… Something Fabulous

The meme that dares to ask what book has been in your bed this morning? Come share what book you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed, or which book you wish you had time to read today! This meme is hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

This Sunday I’m reading Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of Boyfriend Material comes a delightfully witty romance featuring a reserved duke who’s betrothed to one twin and hopelessly enamoured of the other.

Valentine Layton, the Duke of Malvern, has twin problems: literally.

It was always his father’s hope that Valentine would marry Miss Arabella Tarleton. But, unfortunately, too many novels at an impressionable age have caused her to grow up…romantic. So romantic that a marriage of convenience will not do and after Valentine’s proposal she flees into the night determined never to set eyes on him again.

Arabella’s twin brother, Mr. Bonaventure “Bonny” Tarleton, has also grown up…romantic. And fully expects Valentine to ride out after Arabella and prove to her that he’s not the cold-hearted cad he seems to be.

Despite copious misgivings, Valentine finds himself on a pell-mell chase to Dover with Bonny by his side. Bonny is unreasonable, overdramatic, annoying, and…beautiful? And being with him makes Valentine question everything he thought he knew. About himself. About love. Even about which Tarleton he should be pursuing.

What book are you in bed with today?

Review: The Maid

Title: The Maid
Author: Nita Prose
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary
Publisher: Viking
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 4, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.

Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. She delights in donning her crisp uniform each morning, stocking her cart with miniature soaps and bottles, and returning guest rooms at the Regency Grand Hotel to a state of perfection.

But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Before she knows what’s happening, Molly’s unusual demeanor has the police targeting her as their lead suspect. She quickly finds herself caught in a web of deception, one she has no idea how to untangle. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?

Clue-like, locked-room mystery and a heartwarming journey of the spirit, The Maid explores what it means to be the same as everyone else and yet entirely different—and reveals that all mysteries can be solved through connection to the human heart.

Review:

Molly Gray is a twenty-five-year-old maid at the Regency Grand Hotel. She often struggles to read social cues, but she is meticulous about cleaning. One morning, she walks into a suite to find the wealthy Charles Black dead. Because of the unusual way that Molly behaves, misreading social cues and taking everything to have a literal meaning, she is targeted as the main suspect in the murder of Mr. Black. Molly must find support in some surprising friends to untangle the mystery that she has become involved in.

I knew this story was going to be great before I read it, and it didn’t disappoint! It is told in an unusual style. Molly is an unreliable narrator because she misunderstands a lot. She doesn’t recognize when other people are sarcastic or lying to her, though it was obvious most of the time. The narrative would go back and forth throughout time, depending on what needed to be told in the moment. This was an unconventional style, but it left clues for the reader and filled in gaps in time where they were needed.

The story was fast paced and very difficult to put down. I was certain that I knew what had happened, but I was still excited to read the story. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I was wrong. This story had a great ending that was surprising yet made sense.

The Maid is an amazing debut mystery!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book.

Lucky by Marissa Stapley

Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey

Have you read The Maid? What did you think of it?