Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Friends, I am sick. Or have ridiculously epic allergies. I honestly can't tell the difference anymore. *laughs maniacally before descending into coughing fit*

I've been reading, but I haven't really been writing reviews. I'm in this state where, if someone would let me, I would happily just lay in bed and read in between naps. If only. I think this is why we as adults get sick so often and stay sick so long. We don't have the luxury of downtime to let our bodies heal.

Bright side though, is that I've been powering through audio books! Nothing helps me wake up on a groggy morning more than being interested in a good book. Silver lining and all that.

What are you reading? Anything amazing? Have any recommendations, especially for audio? Help a sick girl out.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Book Review: The Window by Amelia Brunskill

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: The Window
Author: Amelia Brunskill
Publisher: Delacorte
Pages: Hardcover; 352
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Source: Publisher
Content Screening: Nothing of note.

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy mysteries with a slow burn, and a big finish.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside--it's hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought.

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess's life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn't add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it's a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she's looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn't the only one with secrets.

Well now, this was a pleasant surprise! I don't think I've read too many YA mystery novels, or if I have I don't quite remember them, so this was a nice place to settle in. My first thought is that Amelia Brunskill has quite a talent for pacing, which I'll expand on in a bit. The Window drew me in, and I ran through it so quickly that it actually surprised me. I love effortless reads, and this book definitely fits that bill.

Jess and Anna. Anna and Jess. The twin angle was a beautiful addition to this story, because of the even sharper contrast between their two personalities. The same on the outside, but so very different in all other aspects. I loved how Brunskill slowly unveiled Anna's thoughts and feelings, as Jess slowly dove further and further into her sister's life. I think it's such a truth that we never really know someone, even an identical sibling, as much as we think we did. For Jess, Anna's life is this enigma. It takes her death to change to that at all.

I usually hesitate to the use the phrase "compulsively readable", because it's one of those phrases that's tossed casually around the book world and shows up endlessly on covers. However, I can honestly say that this phrase applies to this book. Reading The Window is effortless. Maybe not content wise, since Jess' hurt is palpable and tough to read at times. Plot wise though, this book pulls you along in its wake. I found myself having to forcefully put this book down at bedtime, because I just kept wanting to know what would happen next. Brunskill has this beautiful slow burn going through this story. It gives you just enough to tempt you to the next chapter, and then does it all over again. I didn't mind one bit.

My only complaint, and the reason I gave this book 4 stars rather than 5, is the fact that it felt a bit anti-climactic to me. Now, again, I'm used to reading this genre in the more adult section of things. So I had to step back and remind myself that this book is written for a younger set of readers, and features a much younger protagonist. I had to point out to myself that many of the scenarios in other books I've read wouldn't play out in the life of a high school student. So, just take this as my personal preference more than anything. I enjoyed this book immensely. I powered through it like a madwoman. It just didn't hit that unforgettable mark that I look for in a 5 star book, and that's totally okay.

Long story short, read this. It's excellent.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Thoughts on a rainy Thursday.

In Southern California, rain is a major weather event.

Seriously, it makes me laugh out loud every single time. We get wind of a "major" storm headed our way, everyone panics, it rains far less than we expected, and people are disappointed. I, for one, just go with the flow. Ever since I bought one of those plastic bubble umbrellas that people carry around in Japan, my mass transit commute is much more fun in the rain! Although I can't deny, and I think we all agree, the best place to be on a rainy day is in bed with a book.

The good part about all this rain, is that it's happily prepping the spot I'm eagerly waiting to put my new garden. I've been nurturing seedlings indoors since the end of January, and I expected to be able to put them in the ground already. Well, the weather didn't agree with me. So I'm waiting, rather impatiently, for the weekend. I bought little pop-up greenhouses, so I can finally get these babies outside!

My little tomato plant babies. *blows kisses* I can't wait for them to give some amazing tomatoes that I can devour, can, and freeze. It seems so far away, but I know that time is going to fly by and I'll be posting a picture of full grown plants before you know it!

Last thought this Thursday, is that we're coming up on our 8 year blogoversary here on HDB! I actually have plans for a giveaway, and a few fun posts, so keep an eye out. That'll be coming at you in a few weeks :).

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I hope your day is fabulous! Thanks for reading my ramblings.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Dirty Blue by N. E. Henderson

Happy Tuesday lovely readers! What better way to kick off your day than a steamy new romance to dive into? I mean, check out that cover. This hot new release is out today so don't wait to grab it.

Dirty Blue 
N.E. Henderson
Publication date: March 20th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
I’ve known his name a long time. You’d have to live under a rock not to know of the heartless and cruel reputation the Acerbi family has established. They are monsters cloaked in suits and ties, or so my colleagues in blue have said. Being on the job, you quickly learn to watch your back, trust no one, and as much as I hate to admit this, sometimes that includes a fellow badge.
But to want to kill your own child for being born? Now that’s monstrous. Unjust. And something I will not stand for. I’ll take him down before I allow an innocent to be harmed.
Even if that means not only taking on the most dangerous family in Southern California but bringing down the drug lord they’re in bed with too.

“Bri?” a deep voice, I easily recognize, calls my name.

I glance over to see Jase Teller standing with his arms crossed over his large chest, with an easy-going Shane Thornton standing next to him. Jase, Nikki’s boyfriend, always looks mad. I’ve come to learn that, and I’m used to it now.

Shane nods, his warm chocolate eyes that match his skin, silently greeting me. He’s one of Jase’s friends, a fellow MMA fighter who I also see regularly at Knocked Out.

“You can come with us.” Jase glances at Drago then back to me.

Drago’s hand wraps firmly around the inside of my leg just above the knee before I’m able to reply, telling Jase I’ll head back there shortly. What I didn’t expect was to clamp down on Drago’s hand due to the current of electricity that his touch sends straight to my vagina.

His eyes snap to mine just briefly then glances down where my legs are squeezing his hand. A smirk forms on his lips as if reading my mind, before turning his head toward Jase.

“Did she say she wanted to go with you?”

“I wasn’t talking to you, Acerbi. Let’s go, Bri.”

Drago turns back to me then leans close to my ear.

“Leave now,” he starts to whisper so only I can hear him, while at the same time running his hand higher up my thigh, “and the only time I’ll willingly meet with you and answer your questions is with my lawyer present.”

I have to bite the inside of my cheek so my breathing doesn’t become labored from his touch and the feel of his breath in my ear.

What the hell is wrong with me and why does this feel so good?

I haven’t had sex or any male attention in a while—that’s all this is, I justify to myself. After all, I’m investigating this man for drug smuggling and conspiracy to commit murder.

Except you don’t believe that girl’s story for a minute.

“Brianna,” Jase’s demanding voice drags me from my thoughts.

“I’ll . . .” Shit, my voice is breathy. “I’ll be back there shortly. Tell Nikki I’m having a drink with a friend . . . friends.” I look at Luca and smile, but it quickly fades.

“Good girl,” he whispers.

What the fuck did he just say to me?

I turn, giving him my best “back the hell off” look. He laughs. So I kick him in the shin with my heel and smile back at him while his jaw locks from the pain.

Jase and Shane don’t stick around. They turn, heading toward the back where Nikki told me they’d be—where I should be. I have no business talking to Drago while not on duty.

I look at him.

“Do I look like a girl to you?” I don’t wait for his answer. Don’t really care what it is. “Maybe you have some type of little girl fantasy, but I can assure you I’m not that little girl. And for the record, I’m a year older than you. If anyone’s the little one in this case, it’d be you.”

Rico has perfect timing. My Whiskey and soda shows up in front of me, so I gladly take it from him before he’s able to set it on the table, and then I take a sip.

Luca throws his head back and starts to pretend bawl.

“Bro, can I keep her? She’s more badass than you.” Luca smiles as he looks back and forth between Drago and me.

I think I like Drago’s brother better than him. He’s light-hearted. That’s easy to tell, and he seems fun.

“Why are you even here?”

Drago finally removes his hand from between my legs, but he’s slow about it, drawing his palm across my bare skin.

“Regretting making me stay, are ya?” I tease.

He shakes his head. “I didn’t make you do anything. You made the choice to stay in that seat.”

“It’s called coerced.”

I watch him as I finish my drink off. Damn, it’s good. And it goes down way too smooth. It’s been far too long since whiskey and I have made friends.

“So, you’re Robert Andrews’ daughter?” Drago cocks his head to the side.

“I’m outta here.”

We both turn to see Luca stand and stretch.

“You heading home?” Drago asks his brother, his voice taking on a softer tone.

“Nah.” He smiles that cute smile of his. “I think I’ll swing by Mia’s first.” His eyebrows dance up and down, telling me exactly what he’s going there to get.

“You sure that’s a good idea, Luca?” he sighs. Drago’s concerned tone makes me sit up a little straighter.

“Yeah, it’s cool.” Luca seems to brush whatever it is they’re talking about off then he looks at me. “You know, he’s really not as bad as you think he is.”

“Whoever said I thought he was bad?” What’s Drago told his brother, I wonder?

Luca shrugs his shoulders then takes off, leaving the two of us alone together.

Eventually, Drago lets out another, yet, larger sigh before finishing off his drink then signaling for the waiter.

“Bring us both another,” he says as Rico passes.

A few minutes pass with me staring at the side of Drago’s face, watching him stare out into the crowd of people around us—or maybe not staring at anything at all. And the weird thing is, I wish I knew what he was thinking right now.

Rico places our drinks down in front of us before quickly making himself scarce.

Eventually, he blows a long breath of air out before turning to face me. His eyes are hiding his thoughts. Not many people can mask their feelings from me but he’s doing a damn good job of it.

“Look, Acerbi,” Nikki’s voice catches us both off guard. “I don’t know why she’s talking to you. I guess maybe it’s none of my business except she’s my friend and you need to know that. My friend. Do anything she doesn’t like—hurt her—I’ll cut off your fucking balls and make you eat them. Are we clear on that?”

“I’m clear on the fact that you just threatened me in front of a cop.”

“Good thing I have selective hearing.” I quickly pull my glass to my lips and down my drink, not believing that actually came out of my mouth. I really have to leave this table.

Drago’s head whips around, giving me an angry glare. I don’t cower, and I’m not about to start now. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that, but I did. Oh, well, he doesn’t scare me. Guess he doesn’t scare Nikki either.

“Bri, babe, why aren’t you hanging with me? Do you not remember our convo from this morning?” Her lips tip. “I’m on a mission tonight.”

“What mission is that, Lockhart?”

“None of your business.” She turns her strikingly blue eyes on me. “C’mon already. Time’s a wastin’.”

Oh, fuck me. I’m so not sleeping with anyone tonight. Let alone someone I’ll only have known a couple of hours at best. I’m here to unwind with a couple of drinks and hopefully some good conversation.

I have to admit though, the last half hour has been . . . not awful. Definitely interesting. Maybe even I dare say—fun.

If this is what fun has come to—me conversing with a man I have no business talking to—then maybe Nikki is right. Maybe I do need a one-night stand.

Yeah . . . no.

“Well”—his palm tickles my knee sending shivers up and down my leg—“she can’t run off with you yet. She promised me a dance.” His head rolls toward me. “Didn’t you, detective?” A slow smile forms on his face like he’s won something.

He doesn’t look like the type that dances, so I’ll play his game.

“Yes, I did!” He raises an eyebrow at my mock-enthusiasm. Placing my hand over his, I squeeze as hard as I can while I gaze up at Nikki. “I’ll be a little longer. I’ll come find you when I finish spending time with the big bad wolf here.”

“Oh, baby,” he laughs. “I’m not a piss-ant little wolf.” Leaning over, his lips brush against my ear. “I’m the motherfucking fire-breathing dragon in this story.” His voice is meant to scare me. But the seduction laced in his tone only scorches my insides.

In an attempt to make sure he doesn’t know how he affects me, I roll my eyes at his lame comeback.

“Yeah . . . I’ll leave you guys to that.” Nikki turns, leaving us alone again.

“So, I promised you a dance.” I turn my head, facing him. I can’t help but glance down at those full lips that grace his mouth. “Let’s go, dragon man.”

N. E. Henderson is the author of sexy, contemporary romance. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading or in her Maverick playing in the dirt. Nancy was born and raised in Mississippi where she currently lives with her husband, son, and their Bull Terrier, Xena.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Review: The Unsound Theory by Emilia Zeeland

Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Unsound Theory
Series: Star Academy Book 1
Author: Emilia Zeeland
Publisher: Self
Pages: 251
Release Date: January 27, 2018
Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy science fiction and space exploration.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon |

Yalena Russo, your STAR Academy invitation has arrived.
Unlike other teenagers across the near worlds, Yalena isn’t space-crazed. But a surprise invitation to join the exclusive STAR Academy opens a window to her unknown origins, making her ponder… What if space is where she belongs?
Mystified by the leadership trio known as the O’Donnells, as well as the reason they brought her on board, Yalena stumbles onto an alarming secret. Pulled deeper into the mystery by the commander’s son, she will find that some riddles can be hard to walk away from—especially if she is the one holding the answers.
Take a plunge into the not-so-near future, where travel is interplanetary, competition is a rush, and even the elite don’t always play by the rules.

As you may have noticed, it has been a very slow year for me reading wise. Who knew having an infant and toddler to take care of full time would leave me little "me" time. The chronic sleep deprivation hasn't helped things either, but the plus side is that the few books I have managed to get to this year have been amazing. This one is no exception.

In true YA fashion, Yalena has a cryptic past that leads her on a journey to find both her origins and herself. This being the first book in the series, there is a lot of informative information and character introductions but it's a great lead in to what is sure to be a fantastic series. Yalena is an interesting character who surprised me a bit as she found her own voice in a sea of overachievers.

I really enjoyed the world building elements that Zeeland includes. Brief history lessons that you attend with Yalena and her classmates make this space world more and more interesting. Of course, what's a good novel without some romantic interests and competitive drama to keep things interesting. STAR Academy is a college level specialty school by invitation only. It is an elite group of students expected to become the next best thing in their respective fields, no pressure there.

I highly recommend this book to science fiction fans, especially those who enjoy young adult as well. Space is the next frontier and there is so much to learn from the next generation of explorations. The Unsound Theory has a little bit of everything in it and I can't wait for the next installment of this series!
Emilia Zeeland is a Young Adult sci-fi writer and author of The STAR Academy Series. Even though she holds an international business degree and two Masters, Zeeland’s heart is full of love for speculative fiction.
Her own stories include coming-of-age tales, detailed worlds, unimaginable consequences, deep friendships, and romances that sneak up on you. She’s not afraid to push her characters to their limits and give them a depth that firmly plants them in readers’ hearts. In Zeeland’s writing, readers will be transported to another world, where they are not alone, but part of a tightly-knit, perfectly imperfect family. 
Behind the Emilia Zeeland pseudonym, Em (as her friends call her) speaks six languages, loves to try on—and, sadly, also buy—dresses, and is a bit of a foodie. She mostly dwells in Barcelona, Spain, but with those cheap flights, she often hops off to other places in Europe to visit her family. 

Find her on: Goodreads

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Watching You by Leslie A. Kelly

Watching You
Leslie A. Kelly
(Hollywood Heat #1)
Published by: Forever Yours
Publication date: March 13th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense
In the first book of a thrilling new romantic suspense trilogy, USA Today bestselling author Leslie A. Kelly shows just how hot – and how dangerous – Hollywood can be.
In the shadows, someone is always watching
Aspiring screenwriter Jessica Jensen grew up on movies starring heartthrob Reece Winchester, the eldest brother of a Hollywood dynasty. She never thought she’d meet the man in person, though. Actor, director, millionaire, and gorgeous mystery man-he’s every woman’s fantasy.
Reece wants Jessica the moment he sees her, and he’s a man who always gets what he wants. At first he was only after a night in her bed, but as he comes to know the smart, confident woman beneath the stunning exterior, he realizes once will never be enough.
Unfortunately, Jessica’s real-life Cinderella story is about to take a deadly turn…
Reece’s world is filled with fierce ambition and dark family secrets the Winchesters desperately want to hide. But he and his brothers aren’t the only ones who know those secrets. Someone else is out there, waiting to strike. Waiting-and always watching.
When danger finally steps out of the shadows, Reece will have to face his past. And Jessica will have to decide just how far she can trust the man she loves with her heart…and her life.

Copyright Leslie A. Kelly
Please do not reproduce without permission from the author.
Jess was so lost in thought about Reece the superstar she forgot the man was in the room, and that she’d imagined he was staring at her. Which was perhaps why she nearly dropped her glass when she felt a tall, solid form move behind her and heard a man say, “Interesting.”
Smooth voice. Deep, silky. A voice she recognized. She’d heard it on the big screen and the small one, since she had copies of every movie he’d starred in—seven from his childhood years, eight from his adult ones. Was he really talking to her?
“Yes, it is,” she murmured, all calm and collected, like she was not shaking in her consignment store shoes.
“Possibly one of the artist’s earlier efforts.”
Hmm. How had he known? “Yes,” Miss Conversational Genius repeated.
“I’m not interrupting, am I?”
The hint of confidence in the tone told her he knew the answer. Had any woman ever told him to go away because he was bothering her? Huh. Doubtful. “Not at all.”
“Good. What is it called?”
“What we’re doing? I think it’s a conversation.” Jess didn’t know where the snarky response came from, or where she’d gotten the nerve to be all quippy with the guy, but there you go. That was her, always a mouth-off away from catastrophe.
“I meant the sculpture,” he said. No laugh. No humor. Crap.
Realizing they were actually going to have a conversation, and knowing it might require face-to-face interaction, she wondered if she was ready for it. Hesitating, she licked her lips and replied, “It’s called Naked Man.”
Knowing it was rude not to face him, she took a deep breath and glanced over her shoulder. Lord have mercy.
Deep breaths might be calming in normal situations—like when one was confronted by a repo man repossessing a car. Been there, done that. But they didn’t work at all when looking into the clear amber eyes of a man every woman on the planet fantasized about. His looks made you silently gawk while you tried to figure out why the arrangement of cheek and jaw, mouth and eyes, was so arresting and unforgettable. She interacted with scruffy, shaggy-haired surf-bum types in the bar where she worked, so she’d almost forgotten how appealing a conservative haircut and a smoothly shaven face could be. Not to mention the sexiness of a perfectly tailored power suit, the charcoal color interrupted only by a splash of red in the necktie.
She finally cleared her throat and pushed a few words out. “It is from very early in the artist’s career. How did you know?”
“She draped the sex organs, as if she wasn’t quite ready to go there.”
Jess nodded, wondering if she was truly talking about men’s packages with the sexiest freaking man alive. Was this really happening, or was she hallucinating? Had that stupid bartender slipped GHB in her drink? Damn, if she woke up tomorrow with no memory of what happened, and then found videos of herself on YouTube, she would rip him a new one.

Leslie A. Kelly is a New York Times bestselling author who has written more than fifty books in various genres. She currently writes contemporary romances under the name Leslie Kelly, and dark thrillers as Leslie A. Kelly.
She is the author of the futuristic Veronica Sloan thriller series, and of the dark romantic suspense Black CATs series.


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Book Review: Phoenix Fire by S.D Grimm

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Phoenix Fire
  *Series: Phoenix Cycle #1
Author: S.D. Grimm
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: Ebook; 432
Release Date: March 5, 2018
Source: Publisher
Content Screening: Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy new takes on the fantasy genre.

Add it on: GoodreadsEntangled
After spending her life in foster care, Ava has finally found home. But all it takes is a chance encounter with hot nerd Wyatt Wilcox for it to unravel.
Now, things are starting to change. First, the flashes of memories slowly creeping in. Memories of other lives, lives that Wyatt is somehow in. Then, the healing. Any cut? Gone.

But when Cade and Nick show up, claiming to be her brothers, things get even weirder. They tell her she’s a Phoenix, sent to protect the world from monsters—monsters she never knew existed. It’s a little hard to accept. Especially when they tell her she has to end the life of a Phoenix turned rogue, or Cade will die.

With Wyatt’s increasingly suspicious behavior, Ava’s determined to figure out what he’s hiding. Unless she can discover Wyatt’s secret in time and complete her Phoenix training, she’ll lose the life, love, and family she never thought she could have.
Before anything else, let me say that the best thing about Phoenix Fire is that S.D. Grimm has created something solidly original here. In an otherwise saturated teen fantasy market, Phoenix Fire was like a big breath of fresh air. I loved the premise of the book. Adored the idea of multiple lives spent, all pursuing the same goal. Plus, I can't deny that I fell heavily for the idea that love and friendship trascend all time. How wonderful is that?

It was the execution of this premise that felt a little shaky, quite honestly. Grimm chooses to throw the reader directly into the fray, and allow them to uncover what's going on through the eyes of the multiple narrators. Normally I'm completely fine with this method of writing. If I can find even a small foothold in what's happening, I'll hang on tight and power through. The problem here, at least in my opinion, was that it takes quite a few chapters to really figure out who Ava really is, and how she's connected to the other voices that we're introduced to. That made it hard for me to determine why I needed to care about all these characters, and left me feeling lost.

I think this same reason is also why it took me so long to feel like I actually liked Ava as a character. At the beginning she simply felt like a disconnected, petulant teen who didn't really want a family. Not until I slowly uncovered her past, and realized what she'd been through, did I finally understand why she was so separate. My opinion of her did a quick about turn and, I can honestly say, I liked the book a lot more after that. I can stand a character who makes bad decisions, because we're all human. What I can't stand is a character who I don't understand enough to know why they made those decisions.

However, once I did have a better grasp on the narrators and who they were as people, I actually really enjoyed myself. As I mentioned above, this is a wholly original premise to me. There was plenty of action, some great monsters, and the kind of teamwork that makes my heart sing. I also thrilled as Ava began to remember herself and really come into her own. Her character grew so much in the second half of the book, and watching her handle things made me smile. I'm glad I stuck things out, because by the end I was more than ready to continue on for many more pages.

So, I'll give Phoenix Fire a solid three stars without a second thought. This first installment could have used a little bit of work but, quite truthfully, there's so much goodness wrapped up in here that it's hard not to love this story. I know that there is more coming down the line, and I can't wait to see what happens next!

About the Author:
S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction, which is to be expected from someone who looks up to heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, has been sorted into Gryffindor, and identifies as rebel scum. Her patronus is a red Voltron lion, her spirit animal is Toothless, and her favorite meal is second breakfast. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog.You can learn more about her upcoming novels at
Find her: Website | Twitter | FB | Instagram

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Cruel Prince
   *Series: The Folk of the Air #1
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: Kindle; 384
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Source: Library Borrow
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers looking for a layered and excellently rendered story revolving around the Fae.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

After months upon months of ignoring new releases, and trying to stay away from the hype, I finally gave in and picked up The Cruel Prince. Okay, more accurately, it actually popped up on my library loan list and I went "Oh, that's right! I put myself on the waitlist for this!", and then proceeded to devour it. I knew I wanted to read this from the moment that I saw Holly Black's name across the cover. If anyone knows Fae, it's Holly Black. I had high hopes for this one and, I'm glad to report, I wasn't disappointed in the least!

First off, true to form, Holly Black expertly drags the reader into the darkly glittering world of the Fae. A world where things are both beautiful and terrible. A world where humans definitely are at a disadvantage, and where they are so enchanted by it all that they don't even seem to care. What I've always liked about Black's fairy world is that it isn't always a kind a one. It's one where there is suffering, war, and hatred. It's one where beautiful beings have sharp edges and sharper knives. It's the kind of world that you love to read about, but would be terrified to visit. In other words, it's my kind of setting.

Even more impressive is the fact that every single character who graces these pages is perfectly rendered, and multi-faceted. I was stunned by how easily I fell into step with Jude. Her inability to conform, despite the fact that it would have been the easiest thing to do, made me fall in love with her character. Jude is strong as steel, and equally as intelligent. The stark contrast between her, as a protected human in a fairy world, and Vivi, as an unwilling fairy in a fairy world, was perfection. I ate up their sisterly bond, swooned over the descriptions of balls and battles, and couldn't stop myself from hating the same people that Jude found herself hating. I think what made me fall for Jude the hardest was that she was never afraid to admit that she was wrong. She was human to the core, and beautiful because of it.

Truthfully, even the plot the blew me away. It was perfectly paced, and set up in a way that I never saw the next move coming until right when Jude did. Black weaves a gorgeous web on court intrigue, filled with backstabbing and death. Even when I was absolutely sure that I knew where things were headed next, I was wrong. It was wonderful. I love a plot that keeps me on my toes. As for the ending, well, I knew going in that this was the first in a series. So I'll say that the ending is good for a first book, and satisfying enough. You'll see, after all, that I did give this a full five star rating.

If you're looking for viciously lovely Fae, more court intrigue than you can shake a stick at, and a book that will keep you reading well into the night, this is for you.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi + A Giveaway!

Hey friends! It's been a long time since I posted one of these, I know. I strayed away from too many weekly memes for a while, but now I'm kind of heading back towards them because I've just been too busy to write whole posts all the time. I'm in desperate need of a quiet weekend where I can draft a bunch of things to post at random times again :). My cache has been depleted.

Anyway, let's talk books! I'm so excited for Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi, and the best part is that I actually was lucky enough to receive a review copy! Better still... I have one to give away. So keep on reading friends, because I'd love to give it you.

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a cafĂ© and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.
Goodreads | Amazon

So, let's be honest with one another. Are you as excited to read this book as I am? I love awkward friendships to romances, and the kind of characters who are too real at times. I honestly can't wait to dive in.

Giveaway below my sign off! Good luck!

What are you waiting on this week?

So thanks to Simon Teen and Big Honcho Media, I have a copy to share with a friend! Plus an adorable POP Pocket to match. Want to win? Enter below!

U.S. Addresses Only!
Ends 3/15/18

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 5, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (3/5/18)

Good morning lovely people! Here's your weekly reminder to kick Monday in the aft end, because it's only a day and it doesn't have any power over you ;). Here' s a further reminder that, if things get too much, escaping into a book is always an option. Isn't that such a happy thought?

My weekend was pretty uneventful. Some time with friends, some books being read, and a lot of cross stitching! I like those kinds of weekends. So worth it.

Now that I've rambled at you, on to the books!

On the finished list is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, which has jump started my journey into Flavia De Luce's stories! I ended up with the 11th book in the series at one point, and I've made it my goal to start from the beginning. Also on the list is The Final Six, which was a pretty darn good Sci Fi. Finally, rounding things out, is Sunburn by Lippman. Unsurprisingly, it's fantastic. Trust me on this one.

I'm currently trying valiantly to work my way through the rest of Ink, Iron and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare. This book has a lot of issues, and presumes a lot of things, which is making it difficult to finish. The overarching plot is great though, so I'm making time for it.

Next in line is The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg, just like last time. Hahaha. I haven't started it yet, but it's sitting and waiting for me patiently!

That's it for me! What are you reading this week?


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