Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Book Review: A Slice of Magic by A.G. Mayes

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: A Slice of Magic
Author: A.G. Mayes
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Pages: Print; 234
Release Date: January 25, 2019
Source: NetGalley / Publisher
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Magical Realism

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy quick, sweet reads with quirky characters.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Susanna Daniels has spent over twenty years wondering why her beloved Aunt Erma disappeared from her life. When Aunt Erma leaves a voicemail asking for help at her pie shop, Susanna thinks she’s finally going to get the answers she’s been waiting for.

But when Susanna arrives in the small town of Hocus Hills, Aunt Erma is gone, leaving only a short note and her mischievous dog, Mitzy. Running a pie shop is harder than Susanna could have ever imagined. To top it off she has an inspector and an overzealous gym owner breathing down her neck. Then a cookie shop opens up down the street bringing competition she can’t afford.

As if that isn’t enough, strange things start happening around town.

Sometimes it's nice to take time away from all the heavy stuff, and just read something nice and light. I like to call it "brain candy", because it gives my mind a little treat to devour while I wind down from dealing with serious book emotions. That's how I stumbled upon A Slice Of Magic! I wanted to get lost in something sweet (no pun intended) and fun. The prospect of a magical pie shop sounded like just what I needed, and I was right.

Now, this isn't the most complex plot I've ever read, true. However that's not what I went into this book for in the first place. Mayes easily nails the feel of a small town in this book. A place where everyone knows everything about everyone else, and it's pretty easy to get a reputation. A place where being a new arrival means being the center of attention, whether you want to be or not. I loved the town of Hocus Hills. I settled in easily, fell in love with the residents (especially Henry *swoon*), and was enamored with the vibes that this book gave off. Susanna may have had a rough start, but you couldn't pick a sweeter place to get your footing.

What hampered this story, I think, was how quickly it needed to move in order for everything to wrap up. While it made for an easy read, it also never allowed any time for any real plot points to be hashed out. Susanna starts to pick up on the fact that Hocus Hills might be much more than it seems and then, suddenly, everything is all wrapped up and the book is over. I wanted more time to learn about the magic around the town. I wanted more magical pies, and more sweet romance. I just wanted more. This book felt like the frame of a story, rather than the complete story. A lot of what I wanted to know the entire time I was reading was revealed at the end, in an info dump. I was a little sad about that.

Still, as I said above, I started this book to get lost in something fun. A Slice of Magic definitely provided me that. If only it had been a little more fleshed out, and I'd had more time with my newly found town of lovely people, I would have loved this book endlessly. As it stands, I'll happily reward this a three star rating. It was sweet, a little silly, and an easy read. Now I want pie, and I can't wait to see what happens in this town next. 

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, January 14, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (1/14/19)

Oh, wow. How the heck have 13 days of the year already flown by? It feels like the first two weeks of January barely count at all, because everyone is trying to get back from vacation, get back to real life, and settle back into the work they left behind. It's been a weird transition for me, because I feel like a new person this year. I've been calmly keeping up with my goals, and reading like a mad woman. I think books are my definite solace this year, and it helps that I'm taking breaks when I need it. I binge watched a ton of The Magicians this weekend, and I'm not even sorry.

Here's how my reading is going right now.

So, I've been on a kick of where I just want cozy reads in between heavier, more dense, reads. Which is why I requested A Slice of Magic by A.G. Mayes. I wanted to read something cute, light, and fun. This fit all of that! It was really sweet, and I'll be reviewing it this week. I also recently finished Nine While Nine by Stasia Morineaux. It was a paranormal romance to the max! Very steamy too.

Since I just finished up A Slice of Magic, my main read at the moment is The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I'm loving this on audio so far! This is a murder mystery like I've never experienced before. It's really well written, and super intriguing. I should be done with this relatively soon, and I can't wait to share a review!

Next up I'll be reading Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. I tried to half start this earlier, but I soon realized that I'd need to put all my attention towards this book to follow along, so it's up next. I can't wait! It's already so good!

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.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Book Review: Nine While Nine by Stasia Morineaux

Media Type: Ebook
Title: Nine While Nine
   *Series: Nine While Nine Legacy #1
Author: Stasia Morineaux
Publisher: The Parliament House
Pages: Print; 396
Release Date: June 2, 2018
Source: Purchased
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a dip beyond the veil, and aren't afraid of some serious smolder on the page!

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Isabeau Finne’s perfect world utterly unravels when she meets Death's right-hand man one fateful night, spiraling her life into a world of chaos and the impossible...

Suddenly, she is no longer Isabeau and becomes part of the most secretive inner-workings of Death itself, as well as an otherworldly dominion of ancient magic.

Now beings—which we were taught as children were merely fictional creations of wildly whimsical minds—are edging their way into her world as well.

Buggans and Kobolds and Vargs…oh my!

She yearns for the simplicity of her old life—this one is full of dangers, unanswered questions, and cryptic dreams.

After one particularly anomalous dream in which she learns of the Nine While Nine Legacy, things become truly precarious.

Now, someone sees her as a risk…a threat…and wants to eliminate her.

Fortunately, she falls under the protection of Gideon—unless she leaves his territory—which is the one thing she wants the most…and wants the least.


My purchase of this book was a serious case of cover love, I make no apologies for that. Plus I have a deep love for anything dealing with the world beyond the veil, whether you call them Fae, Siog, Elves, etc! So it wasn't hard to believe that I'd love this book. Stasia Morineaux promised me a world filled with creatures from beyond my understanding. A world where death wasn't the end, but simply the beginning of something new. I was already enchanted, and so ready to settle in.

I have to admit that Isabeau wasn't my favorite character at first. Morineaux does an excellent job of fleshing out the type of person that Isabeau is, from her fashionable clothing down to her old world roots. I did love that Isabeau refused to go quietly into her new life. After all, who would want to leave behind everything they love? However I couldn't let go of how whiny and self-centered she felt for a long while. Watching poor Liam, who just wanted to do his job mind you, try to deal with her made me want to hug him and pinch her. The good news is, that she gets a ton better!

In fact, as Isabeau became Iliana, and the world around her new life started to unfold, I fell deeply for this book. I loved the idea of a whole squad who deals with the predetermined death of us all. I watched as Iliana bloomed, became a whole new person, and really started to realize how important she was. Her fierce attitude became a boon, and her stubbornness became the perfect way to unearth the truth behind everything going on. I liked her a lot, and it made me so happy.

There's a lot to love about this story. The lore behind Iliana's new life is rich and, for the most part, eventually very well explained. Even the characters who are not in the limelight most of the time are fleshed out, and feel like someone you'd want to spend time with. The reason that this book lost a little of my love, and ended up at a three star rating, was simply that all of what I mentioned above took a lot longer than I would have liked. This book moves slowly. At times, it feels like Iliana's brain is just looping and looping with the same thoughts. The amount of time that it took Gideon to finally explain things to her didn't feel natural, but more convenient. A way to keep the reader going through all of the romance parts.

Oh, and the romance. While I definitely loved the heat between Gideon and Iliana, it was just so drawn out. I felt like after a while it lost its ability to make me smile, and started to feel like a chore instead. Some of the interactions between the two of them felt so forced. With Gideon always being hard to discern, and Iliana wondering how on Earth she was going to survive without him. If that type of scene had been cut by about half, it would have made a bigger impact on me. I loved their forbidden love, but I didn't want that to be all I was reading about.

This book ends on a rather harsh cliffhanger, which makes me hopeful that there might be more. One can hope! I want to see further beyond the veil.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Bullet journal journey.

Sit down friends, and let me spin you a tale.

A tale of a girl who has been trying to get organized for ages. A tale filled with many purchased planners, calendars, and post-it notes. A tale where there were still many missed appointments, and weeks where no blogging was done. Ah, yes, it's quite a tale. It's the tale of me, Jessica, who has never been able to figure out a way to keep all of the things happening in her brain in one place.

Until, that is, bullet journals came onto the scene!

I've only been doing this crazy thing for just over a week, but I can already tell you that I love it. It gives me an excuse to use stickers. I get to make my own spreads, which makes me want to fill them out. It's a creative outlet that also keeps me centered and organized and I simply love it! I don't why it took me so long to get to this point, but I'm so pleased. I feel great!

Now I'm asking you, my bookish friends, what types of layouts do you use that really keep you on track? Should I be diving into any special pens, or other goodies? I want to do this for a long time, and the search for new items keeps it fresh.

I'm so happy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Book Review: Tomorrow by Merilyn Ruth Liddell

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Tomorrow
Author: Merilyn Ruth Liddell
Publisher: EDGE-Lite
Pages: Paperback; 286
Release Date: December 3, 2018
Source: Publisher
Genre: Science Fiction / Thriller

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who like gritter science fiction that deals with a dystopian world.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
A misguided experiment. A devastated world. A chance for rebirth.

In a world decimated by a killer virus, an isolated mountain community is left more dysfunctional than dystopian.

Small town. Big secrets. A place where... neighbors still look out for neighbors, a feisty senior sasses the man who controls the town, a doctor finds a unique use for local bullies. and the lives of three strangers unexpectedly intertwine...

Martha, a reclusive doctor seeking a solution to the mystery of the pandemic, Jake, a cab driver seeking his birth mother, Sophie, a young, desperate pregnant woman seeking safe haven from abuse. Brought together by violence, these unlikely friends forge an alliance that may help reshape the world.

My first impressions of this book were a little rough, to be honest. I have to admit that I'm not the best at reading from multiple points of view and that, coupled with not having my footing in this dystopia at first, made the first few chapters a bit rocky. As I read on, however, I soon fell into step with the characters who lead us through this story. I understood that this was a future where survival was based on how important you were to the people in town. Where, although resources are limited, there are still good people who help others. Where, just like real life, there are those who take advantage of everyone else. Once I got my bearings, I was set. I knew this would be a book I'd devour.

Devour it, I did. I know that this book is technically classified as dystopian, but what I found on these pages had so much more hope than I'm used to in this kind of story. Jake, Sophie and Martha were each so different and yet they came together in a way that really made me smile. The setting for this story, an old historic mining town in Canada, felt perfect to me. Small, surrounded by nature, and the perfect way to really expose the damage that had been done to the world by the people who were now trying to survive in it. Like I mentioned above, so many people were still good people in this book. They fought for others, cared for others, and shared. It was lovely to read a story where, although it had dark undercurrents and violence, a little bit of love still shown through.

Martha, in particular, stood out to me. She has her own story arc, that winds through those of the others, and it really lets the reader further delve into the world that Liddell has built and where all the devastation came from. She was quirky, to be certain, but that made me love her more. Imagine knowing that your world was destroyed by someone close to you, and feeling like you were now the only one who could save it. Those are some big shoes, let me tell you what.

So why the three star rating? I think my biggest issue with this story was really the fact that it took so long for me to get enough information to finally feel invested. Although I appreciated the slow build up of facts, it also hindered my reading somewhat. I wanted to know why I should care about the people I was walking along with. That came eventually, but not quite fast enough. My other gripe was about the ending. After all the drama I'd gone through with my new friends, it felt like everything just wrapped up into a perfect forever after. Going from a tension filled, secret laden story into a place where suddenly everything is sunshine made me feel lost. It just didn't flow.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this book. I powered through it, and I don't regret diving into Liddell's world at all! This story may have needed a bit more polish, but I'm definitely still a fan. I'll be back for more.


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.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Romance Bingo!

Happy Tuesday, ladies and gents!

I'm just popping in really quickly to let you know that I'll be hosting a Romance Bingo game on my bookstagram, in February!

My goal this year was to read more romance, and I can't think of a better way to keep myself honest than to have other people play along with me.

The bingo card will go live on January 10th, to give you time to gather your chosen reads. They'll also be prizes at the end for people who participate, so let's play!

My bookstagram is below:

Monday, January 7, 2019

Cover Reveal: Renegade Heart by Lissa Lynn Thomas

Are you? Because it's time for a cover reveal, and I'm SO EXCITED!
I've been sitting on the cover for Renegade Heart by Lissa Lynn Thomas for a few days, and the anticipation was madness! I've decided that 2019 will be the year that I read more romance, and so it was serendipitous that this book ended up on my radar. I'll be reviewing it soon also! For now though, let me share the beauty with you.

Are you ready?




Renegade Heart
Lissa Lynn Thomas
Renegades #1
Romance (Friends to Lovers)
February 5th, 2019

Raif Montgomery, lead singer of Renegades, the area’s most popular band, isn’t like other guys. When he gets left at the altar by a woman most men would kill to have, he finds himself more relieved than heartbroken. Things take another twisted little turn when he gets drunk the night of his non-wedding and makes a pass at his best friend, Chloe. She doesn’t shut him down.

Overall, he has plenty to occupy his troubled mind.

His mom is concerned he’s heading for a self-destruct of epic proportions. But all he can think about is tasting Chloe’s lips again, and getting her to agree to give them a shot as a couple. When a Nashville music producer starts hanging around Renegades’ shows, it seems that things are falling into place for the band.

But does he want success for the band if it means leaving Chloe behind? Can he walk away from the woman he loves? Or will he sacrifice the Renegades’ dreams to keep his heart intact?

*swoon* Isn't it just lovely? I have a soft spot for a scruffy man with a guitar, let me tell you what, my dear friends. This book went right onto my reading list and, as I mentioned, I'll be reviewing it soon!

This is what we’ve all wanted forever, I know. But the timing is problematic. I want the record deal, I do. But I want Chloe more. She’s my forever and I know it, but I don’t know that she knows it yet. And I’m not ready to find out if I’m kidding myself and we have an expiration date. I’m not ready for the dream that is us to be over. How can I stand in the way of my brothers getting what they’ve always wanted? I have no idea what the hell I’m going to do.
Lissa was first inspired to consider a career in writing when she was in high school. Her English teacher recognized Lissa's gift for storytelling and encouraged her love of writing. She has six nieces and nephews whom she adores and a beloved cat who is her baby. Lissa loves the color purple and chai tea, and writes poetry under the pen name Bella Sterling.

Under the name Melissa Simmons, she has written one short story with fellow author, Allana Kephart, for the Dare to Shine Charity Anthology. She wrote another short story under the same name for the Best Thing I Never Had Charity Anthology. As Lissa Lynn Thomas, she has short stories in both the This Soldier's Heart Charity Anthology and the Karma Charity Anthology. Lissa's debut solo novel, Renegade Heart, is due out in winter of 2019. Renegade Heart is the first book in the Renegades series.

Find her at:

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Reading and Life Updates

Hello my book loving friends. It has been entirely too long since I have enjoyed your company and I hope to remedy that in the near(ish) future. So much has gone on this past year it's hard to quantify in a short update but I will try to keep it short. Bonus picture for reading my ramblings. 

So, on the lighter side of things, my days are very busy chasing my 2 toddlers around. Peanut started preschool last fall and Batman will be 2 in April. My how time flies! As you can imagine, wrangling a one and three year old keeps me busy. Cooking, cleaning, play dates, school events, shopping... it's exhausting and fun and everything in between. Unfortunately by the end of my day (or sometimes even the middle of it) I am left with little energy for myself and the things I enjoy. I know, I know, self care is important. I do try to get out regularly without the kiddos and my husband is supportive with all that. Mostly I just struggle with focusing on a book. Putting on a mindless movie or a tv show I love is just easier mentally most days. I'm hoping to improve on that in 2019. Now that Batman is sleeping though the night semi regularly and my sleep schedule is getting more regular I'm hoping my energy levels improve and I can enjoy reading again. Although if you count reading children's books, I read at least a hundred books last year. 

On the harder side of things 2018 was rough. My husband was in 2 serious car accidents that totaled our cars (he's fine, thank goodness) and 2 minor accidents that involved repairs on the car. In addition to the paperwork/insurance nonsense there was a lot of  stress involved. The last part of the year just felt unbearable as I was dealing with one thing after another. Everyday I felt anxiety about what would happen next, and it sent me into a spiraling depression. There was a lot of little stuff that kept stressing me out, but I don't want bore you with all the details. Then my grandfather died. I suffer from depression regularly, but this situational depression hit me harder than most and it's taken me a few months to get back to feeling okay. And I mean okay, not great or happy, but okay enough that I'm not in constant fear of the next proverbial shoe dropping. As you can imagine reading was not a high priority during this time. It took all of my patience just to get through the day. 

I'm happy to report that things are getting better. Now that the holidays/traveling/car situations are over I'm looking forward to settling into our routine again. Toddlers will still be toddlers but I'm feeling more and more like myself every day. Which works out because Bout of Books is starting this weekend and I think it'll be a great way to jump back into the reading game. 

I guess the point of this is to say that if you're struggling and reading isn't your thing right now, that's okay. Books will be there when you come back. Mental health is important and there's no pressure to read. I felt bad that I wasn't contributing to our lovely book blog and it just added to the stress I was under. Luckily Jessica is super awesome and supportive and never ever made me feel bad about my lack of reading. So there it is. Your insight for the new year, YOU DO YOU. 

Also, I'd really like to meet my reading goal this year of 30 books. Life may get in the way but when I do make time to read I always feel better after. So yes, more reading less stress. Cheers to 2019!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Book Review: Fragments of Ash by Katy Regnery

Media Type: ebook
Title: Fragments of Ash
Series: The Modern Fairytale Collection #7
Author: Katy Regnery
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: paperback, 360
Release Date: October 1, 2018
Source: PUYB/Author
Genre: Contemporary Romance

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy heartfelt romance with dark undertones.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon
My name is Ashley Ellis…

I was thirteen years old when my mother – retired supermodel, Tig – married Mosier Răumann, who was twice her age and the head of the Răumann crime family.

When I turned eighteen, my mother mysteriously died. Only then did I discover the dark plans my stepfather had in store for me all along; the debauched "work" he expected me to do.

With the help of my godfather, Gus, I have escaped from Mosier's clutches, but his twin sons and henchmen have been tasked with hunting me down. And they will stop at nothing to return my virgin body to their father

…dead or alive.
This was my first venture into the Modern Fairytale Collection series and I really enjoyed it. Truth be told, I didn't quite get the feel of the Cinderella story but I can see how they're related. This book is not for the lighthearted romantic there's a lot of dark sinister themes going on behind the scenes.

The slow reveal of the family secrets using Tig's diary is such a unique way for Ashley to learn about her mother's life. There is so much heartache and struggle, it really paints a vivid picture of what life was like for Tig under Mosier's thumb. Finding love in the hardest of circumstances is a theme I can always appreciate.

Ashley as a character is heartfelt and naive, I was rooting for her and also sad for her. The burdens of the life she had already lived and the potential life ahead of her were hard to feel excited about. Julian was a breath of fresh air after their initial awkward meeting. The slow budding friendship and romance was perfectly aligned with the story. It was heartfelt and real and kept the pages flying by.

The only reason this story isn't a 5 star for me is that the ending was a bit predictable. I still really loved the story and would recommend this readers who enjoy a suspenseful story with a happy ending.

 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, January 2, 2019

Book Review: White Stag by Kara Barbieri

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: White Stag
  * Series: Permafrost #1
Author: Kara Barbieri
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: Hardcover; 368
Release Date: January 8, 2018
Source: Publisher / NetGalley
Content Warning: Rape, Violence, Abuse

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy dark, grittier fantasy stories.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

I had to sit on this review for quite a while, because my feelings about this book were all over the place when I finished it. I absolutely adore modern fairy tales. Anything that even hints at a world beyond the veil of our own, instantly goes onto my reading list. I don't shy away from books that are dark and gritty, and I actually often praise stories that aren't full of insta-love and wilting women. So, by all rights, this book should have been an instant five star read for me. It wasn't though, and that took me a while to unpack.

First off, praise where praise is due. Barbieri does a stellar job of dropping the reader right into the fray from page one, and doling out just enough information to really keep things intriguing. From the moment I met Janneke, and realized her plight, I was completely sold on this story line. The idea of a human servant in a world of goblins, a character who is slowly losing her humanness with every decision she makes to survive, was just fascinating. I found myself rooting for Janneke and her inner fire. Here was a character who, despite all the odds stacked against her, was surviving. I wanted to see her burn everything around her, and walk valiantly through the flames.

When I finally got an opportunity to really know Soren, my heart was pretty much given to this book. I loved how he was so at odds with those around him. Any character who is equal parts compassionate and brutal pretty much instantly has my heart. I like to believe that we're all a little bit in the gray area, and Soren definitely fits that bill. As he and Janneke bantered and fought together, I couldn't help but smile that their relationship. There's no insta-love here at all. This is a relationship built on a foundation of trust, and it shows. You would think that these two paragraphs were more than enough to explain why this would be a five star read for me, but here comes the difficult part of this review.

First off, this book relies heavily on flashbacks to Janneke's repeated rape and torture at the hands of our villain, Lydian. I completely understand that the goal was to elicit sympathy for Janneke, and explain the quirks her character displays. However I also believe, strongly, that this could have been achieved by giving a one time rundown of her backstory, and moving on. The repeated flashbacks get really uncomfortable after a while. As I mentioned above, I am not squeamish in the least. I think that gritty and dark Fantasy books are the best. In this case though, I felt like it was really overdone. In fact, it started to chip away at the fierce woman who I originally fell in love with. I think the idea was a fair one, to create a back story to show Janneke rise from the ashes. Instead it almost made her seem broken to the point that Soren was her savior, and I wasn't a fan.

My other big issue with this story lies with Lydian. There's no denying that he's an absolutely loathsome character. If anything, Barbieri should be given credit for creating a character who has not a single redeemable trait. That's fairly impressive. However there is never any explanation for Lydian's madness. There is a prophecy hinted at, and talk of visions, but Lydian never really gets the backstory that he really deserves. Instead he's just a character built of madness and hatred, a completely dark individual. It almost made him feel less scary to me, simply because he didn't feel like a real person. Like I said before, the grayness of the world is what makes it fascinating. Think of the scariest villain you know of, and they probably have at least a shred of humanity in them. Lydian definitely does not.

Well, so there you have it. I apologize that this review is so long but there's even more I could discuss about this book. It really sat on that line for me, where I wanted to love it more but had to be honest about how I felt overall. Perhaps the next book, which I will very much be ready to read, will bring back the Janneke that I loved. Perhaps the next book will have a little more polish, and a little more fairy tale feel to it. If so, that will be a five star read. I can't wait.

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.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Best of 2018!

I actually wasn't going to do one of these posts, because I was in a funk and feeling like it was too much work. Then, I started The Kiss Quotient. and then I finished it, and now my heart is so light. You won't be surprised to find that book on this list now, will you? Plus, I may have cheated a little bit because I'm doing this by month. So you'll get my top book from each of the 12 months of 2018. And away we go!
January 2018

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
November 14, 2017

I LOVED this book. I was so glad that it rounded out my first month of reading, because I really wasn't expecting to love it as much as I did. This book is magic incarnate. It's a journey into a place where, as much as you have to suspend a bit of disbelief, you'll feel right at home. This is the perfect example of magical realism, and I loved it!

February 2018
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
August 16, 2011

Another book that I did not expect to love, but fell head over heels for. This book is pure 80's nostalgia. It's a love letter to all things geeky, and extremely well plotted for how much it actually covers! I couldn't put this down until I was done, and that is impressive when you read so many books a year like I do. I kind of wish I could read this for the first time all over again!

March 2018

Boy's Life by Robert McCammon
May 1, 1992

Oh, this book. I don't know if I'll ever be able to read it again, but it was something that I'll never forgot. This is a gorgeous story. It's a story about friendship, boyhood, and all the traumas that come along in life and make us who we are. It's a story about being brave, even when it seems like there's no point at all. I'm not going to lie, I sobbed during this read. It tore my heart out, and I happily let it.

April 2018

Willing Victim by Cara McKenna
July 8, 2016

Hear that sizzling? Yeah, that's coming off of this book. I don't usually read romance books, but I was in a funk and one of my bookish friends recommended this to get me out of it. IT WORKED. Holy smokes, it worked. I can't say too much about this without getting all steamy, but I can tell you that this book proves that consent is sexy. 100%. If you're not a romance reader, you might want to give this one a shot! It might surprise you more than you think!

May 2018

The Glass Spare by Lauren Destefano
October 24, 2017

May was a rough reading month. I was off my game, and nothing was clicking. The Glass Spare changed all of that. I was so impressed at the this YA Fantasy. It was richly written, and had an honestly original premise. I fell in love with this story almost instantly and, although it didn't end quite the way I had hoped, it became my favorite read of May. I can't wait to read the sequel soon!

June 2018

Kiss the Ground by Josh Tickell
November 14, 2018

This is the book that started it all! This book launched my interest in sustainable farming, and zero waste initiatives. It was because of this book that I changed to using shampoo bars and ACV rinse. It was because of this book that I started purchasing food directly from farmers and ranchers. This book changed my whole life, for the better, and I honestly can't express enough how much everyone should read this!

July 2018

The Outsider by Stephen King
May 22, 2018

It should come as no surprise that I loved this Stephen King book. He's my favorite about 90% of the time. Plus, I can't deny that I went through an odd horror phase around this time where I just wanted to be lost in something dark and ominous. This book hit that spot. I had no idea at the time that it was part of a series, but I'll be finishing the rest of them in 2019!

August 2018

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett
August 21, 2018

READ THIS BOOK. No, seriously, read it. This was one of my top three of 2018 for many reasons, but mainly because it rekindled my love of Fantasy all over again. This book is original. It's gritty, dark, raw, and full of the kind of characters who will make you fall in love with them and then break your heart into a million pieces. I loved every minute of it and I cannot wait for the next book!

September 2018

Where All the Light Tends to Go by David Joy
March 3, 2015

This book shattered me. It's not the type of story that I'd normally read, but I took a chance because a good friend recommended it and I really, really loved this. Books like this are so important. They shine a light on people who rarely show up in books at all. People who are clinging to the light. People who, despite how hard they try, are always trapped under someone's boots. This book broke me over and over, but I loved it all the same.

October 2018

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
October 10, 2017

This was a backlog book that I wanted to read, and once I finally did I was sad that I waited so long. I should have known that I would fall in love with this. It's the prequel to Practical Magic, and just as wonderfully written. Magical realism seems to be my go-to lately, rather than full out Fantasy. I love reading about real people who, somehow, are put into simply magical situations.

November 2018

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
October 2, 2018


In 2017, I fell in love with Percy and Monty in the first book in this series. So it was natural that I'd pick up the next one as soon as possible. To the surprise of no one, I fell in love with Felicity EVEN MORE. This book is full of feminism, family, friendship, and FIGHTS. It's the perfect read.

December 2018

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
June 5, 2018

Oh my lord. I wouldn't have chosen to pick up this book on my own, but I'm glad that peer pressure made me give it a shot. This book is wonderful. It's a beautiful story about real people who fall in real love, and have some really, really hot moments too. I loved this story line, which is kind of a reverse Pretty Woman situation. Michael and Stella were lovely. Simply lovely. I'm smitten.

So there you have it!

What was your favorite read or reads of 2018?


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