Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

5 stars!! 

“The world seems full of men who are initially infatuated by our eccentricities, but who ultimately expect them to be temporary.” 

Josh and Hazel have known each other since college when she vomited on his shoes. Hazel was the wild child and Josh always liked her but thought she was a bit too much.

Now years later the two of them meet up again and become the best of friends. Knowing they are both undate-able for each other, they set out on a series of double dates each more unfortunate than the last. But they might be having more fun with each other than anyone else….

“When I meet someone I love, I become an octopus and wind my tentacles around their heart.” 

It took me until the end of chapter 1 to realize I had been smiling the entire time I had been reading. Throughout reading this book I would continue to find myself smiling and laughing out loud. Sometimes I was laughing so hard I had to put the book down before diving right back in. To say I loved this book is an understatement, and it came into my life exactly when I needed it.

Christina Lauren is an author duo who only get better with every new release. How is that even possible? Most authors tend to go downhill, get boring or deliver the same book with a new cover. Not these two!!! They’ve cemented themselves into a favorite author spot for me, and I know they are automatic one click authors.

Josh and Hazel are characters I loved equally, but for very different reasons. I loved Hazel’s bright inner light, her eccentricities, and how she was aware she was different from everyone else but was unwilling to change for anyone. I loved how Josh got Hazel and accepted her, never wanting to change her. He’s more a stoic type, but the kind that will quietly be beside you through everything.

This book is going into my best of the year list! I LOVED IT! It’s a special story and I really do hope reader’s everywhere will pick it up and enjoy it even half as much as I did.

“He doesn’t need me to change or pretend to be someone else. He’s my person. He’s my best friend.” 

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

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Magic Triumphs

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

4.5 stars! 

In this epic final novel, Katie Lennart faces a huge threat and must rely on alliances with enemies in order for Atlanta to stand.

I really enjoyed this final novel in this series. It’s a really solid urban fantasy series with a heroine who is everything a strong female character should be. My absolute favorite part of this book was baby Conlan and all of his developments. It reminded me a lot of Jack Jack in The Incredibles 2 and added a nice touch of humor to a story that would normally be pretty grim.

The ending was amazing!!! I kept wondering how everything would play out, the last 20% of the book was so compelling and suspenseful. A lot of issues were resolved, some heartbreak was involved. I teared up frequently as I was reading. I find I’m also left with questions and hoping Julie gets a book. I also felt the lack of Ascansio in this final story and found I really missed his witty presence I had grown used to in the previous novels.

I think Ilona Andews have made a great place for themselves in the fantasy genre and I can only see good things coming from them in the future. I’ll need to read all their other series to fill the hole in my heart the Kate Daniels series has left.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

Kiss an Angel

Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

4.5 stars! 

My first SEP novel and it was oh soooo good!!!! Normally contemporary romance novels from the 90’s aren’t really my thing, but this was compared to The Unwanted Wife by Natasha Anders so I had to read it.

Kiss An Angel is the story of Daisy who gets roped into an arranged marriage to a man who seems to despise her. Alex works for a traveling circus and seems to find a lot of pleasure in assigning Daisy to tasks which would humiliate her. As time goes by, sparks fly between the two and they give in to their attraction. But Alex will never love anyone, and he makes it clear he will never love Daisy.

This book started out a bit rough for me, I almost threw in the towel and I pushed on. I’m so glad I did because after 20% or so I was unable to put down this book. Then 70% hit and it was angsty AF so of course I was vomiting happy rainbows out of my mouth. I’m such an angst whore, I swear. I really liked Daisy and Alex, I liked them even more together. Another highlight for me was the relationships developed with the circus animals because I am a giant softy for animals.

I cannot wait to discover more by SEP!

Love in the Afternoon

Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas

4.5 stars! 

Gosh I just fell in love with this wonderful story!!! Beatrix is the Hathaway sister I wanted to read about the most, and her story was so wonderful! Exceeded my expectations. And I love a wounded hero.

If you haven’t been reading Lisa Kleypas, I honestly don’t know what you’re doing with your life.

The Chase

The Chase by Elle Kennedy

3.5 stars 

I love Elle Kennedy and I have loved almost everything she’s ever written. When I heard she was coming out with a new book that she wrote alone I was beyond excited and when the arc landed on my kindle I dived in right away. I loved Summer as a main character, she had such spark and personality and such life. Kennedy’s writing style is also something I love because I could fall effortlessly into the story. Reading her books never feels like work and I love the world she’s built in the Off Campus universe.

What brought the rating down for me was Fitz. I literally wanted to smack him for 75% of the book! God, that man drove me crazy and not in a good way. I get that he had trouble expressing himself and his parents totally screwed him up, but I really hated how he constantly bashed Summer and called her drama all the time. She’s a human being with emotions dude, not a robot.

I think lots of readers will love this book and for the most part I did too. I will eagerly be waiting for Brenna’s story because she was one of my favorite things about this story and I think her book will be amazing.

An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

Magic Breaks

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

4.5 stars! 

“Fortune favors the brave,” I told her. It also kills the stupid, but I decided to keep that fact to myself.” 

Did I read a different book from everyone else? I thought this book was FANTASTIC! I felt the plot finally got moving in this one and choices were made that shape where the series is headed.

When Kate is left to watch over the Pack while Curran is gone, the wolves are accused of a murder and have 24 hours to hand over the killer or there will be war. A race against time for Kate and her people to find the murderer and to keep the pack safe.

“Quick, Derek, it’s your chance to shine,” Ascanio said.
Derek gave him a withering look.
“Desandra is a mother, Robert is married, Kate’s affianced, and I’m an old soul. You’re the closest thing to a virgin we’ve got. Get on with growing some flowing locks.” 

I think what I liked best about this book was the FEELS. Oh the FEELS! So many moments where I felt my heart go out to these characters and wanted to hug them. But there were also a lot of funny moments and I love the interactions with Desandra, Derek and Ascansio.

One of the better books in this series, I am rushing off to read the next one!!

“What the hell is this?” Desandra asked
“This is Cuddles. She’s a mammoth donkey.”
Derek grinned, leaning on the fence. “Do you have any self-respect left?”
“Nope.” 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

5 stars! 

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” 

^^^This is what stuck with me the most during this reread.

My brain was feeling like it was beginning to melt so I knew I needed a reread. I haven’t read Goblet since the movie came out and that film was such a dumpster fire it turned me off the book for a looonnnggg time. And Goblet used to be my favorite! So I fell in love with it again.

Do I need to rehash the plot? I don’t think so. But I will list what I loved and had somewhat forgotten about: Winky, SPEW, Rita Skeeter’s secret, and Dobby. Also reading this book with fresh eyes after reading the last book made me see a few subtle hints at what was to come.

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” 

Ravensong

Ravensong (Green Creek #2) by TJ Klune

4.5 stars! 

SPOILER FREE REVIEW!! 

“The funny thing about hate is the razor-thin line that separates it from something else entirely.” 

This is the story of Gordo and Mark, characters we met and fell in love with in Wolfsong (the book before this one and yes, you need to read them in order). Gordo and Mark loved each other, but something happened and Gordo sent Mark away. Now years later, Gordo is again the witch of the wolf pack Mark is in, but the two of them cannot seem to work out the past. When a new threat comes to Green Creek they both race against time to save those they love.

“Here, in the dark, hearing him laugh reminded me of the way things once had been. And the way things could be…” 

Not going to lie, I was a little bit apprehensive about reading Ravensong. Don’t get me wrong, I was DYING to get my hands on it, but since I loved Wolfsong so much, I was worried my expectations were too high. I needn’t have worried, because they weren’t. I loved this story, I loved the characters. Reading this book felt like coming home again. I found myself smiling a lot throughout and tearing up at other parts. Klune is an excellent writer, bordering on brilliant in my book.

I’m not going to give away any spoilers, but I will say this had less angst than the first book (which personally I could have used some more, hence the 4.5 and not 5 stars) but angst allergic people will be happy. I also loved that TJ was able to progress the overall plot of this series and didn’t just dish us the same thing twice.

A beautiful love story, one I’ll never forget. And I hope there is more to come with this series (subtext, there better be more books in this series or else!).

“I have never seen a wolf love another as much as he loved you.” 

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

All Your Perfects

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

4.5 stars 

“We’re getting really good at playing our parts.” 

^^^Me during this entire reading experience. Actually, this is me whenever I read a Coho book.

It took me a long time to open this book after receiving it because I know one thing to be true: with every book I read by Colleen Hoover, she breaks me like a fucking wrecking ball. 
And guess what? THE BITCH DID IT AGAIN. Almost every time this woman releases a damn book, I end up a crying, sobbing mess well past the time I was supposed to go to bed like a responsible adult, and I lay there with my tears wishing I never had feelings!

And you know what? It. Was. Worth. It.

All Your Perfects is about a couple who lost their way. Loss of love isn’t the problem, but other issues make their marriage begin to crack.

“Sadness is like a spiderweb. You don’t see it until you’re caught up in it.” 

Annnnnddddd that’s all I’m going to say plot wise, no spoilers. As per usual with a Coho book I think it’s best to go in blind (like I did) and see what unfolds. I do think this subject matter will be VERY difficult for some readers. But I think Hoover handled it all brilliantly.

I think what I am most in awe by with Hoover and her writing is her ability to pull out emotions I never expect to feel. I don’t always love her books, but I do always have a very emotional response to them whether good or bad, and it shows me what a talented writer she is. That and she never gives us the same story twice, I never know what to expect from her next book. And I hope I have a lifetime of books to read by her.

“If you only shine a light on your flaws, all your perfects will dim.” 

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

Magic Slays

Magic Slays (Kate Daniels #5) by Ilona Andrews

4.25 stars! 

“Shapeshifter parenting motto—if your kid slits somebody’s throat, always have a backup plan to make the body disappear.” 

Book 5 in the Kate Daniels series and I’m still loving it! This was the book I never made it to the first time I was reading the series, so I’m glad I got to it and finished it! In this installment, Kate must find a missing scientist who has created a new device that has the potential to do massive harm. It becomes a race against time to save thousands of lives and Kate has the help of the pack.

“Did he just rip out the engine?” I asked.
“Yes”, Saiman said. “And now he is demolishing the Maserati with it.”
Ten seconds later Curran hurled the twisted wreck of black and orange that used to be the Maserati into the wall.
The first melodic notes of an old song came from the computer. I glanced at Saiman.
He shrugged. “It begged for a soundtrack.” 

One of the best things about this series is the sense of humor surrounding it. Yes there are serious parts, but the quips thrown in just make it so so good. As always, I love Kate and Curran. I loved seeing all my favorite characters return and some new ones thrown in. A truly wonderful PNR series, and urban fantasy series. I highly recommend you start reading them asap!

“Yes I can,” Curran snarled. “Listen: this is me telling you what you will not do.”
I raised the cookbook and tapped him on the nose. Bad cat.” 

Moonlight Seduction

Moonlight Seduction by Jennifer L Armentrout

4.5 stars! 

MUCH better than the first book in this series. Oh my god, SO MUCH BETTER!

Moonlight Seduction is the second book in the de Vincent series and I think it can be read as a standalone. There’s stuff that happens in the first book that comes to play in this one but I think JLA did a really good job of explaining everything in an understandable way.

This book is about Nikki and Gabe. When she was a teenager, Nikki would follow Gabe around with moon eyes, head over heels for him and he treated her like she was his younger sister. When she was eighteen she left the de Vincent home for college and never looked back, having no contact with them. But now, four years later with her mom who has become ill, she steps in for her as household staff for the de Vincents, and does her best to avoid Gabe. But he doesn’t want to avoid her.

It’s hard for me to write this review without comparing it to the first book, so I’m going to do that a little bit and hopefully you don’t mind. I’ll read anything JLA writes. ANYTHING. But it doesn’t mean I will love everything she puts out. And Moonlight Sins, the first book had been a bit of a let down. I was bored when reading it. That was not the case with this second book, I enjoyed every second of it! I even read the sex scenes in full. I never do that! I almost always skim sex scenes and devour the angst (I’m weird, I know).

I loved the heroine Nikki, but I always love JLA heroines. She was snarky and kind and fun, and she loved quietly and didn’t know how to express it. Gabe was a lot of fun, I love seeing the humbling of the playboy. He’s more of a playboy off screen and in the past, none of that was actively present in this book which I appreciated. Once his brain caught up with his feelings I loved seeing him try and navigate his feelings for Nikki and seeing the two of them fall together.

Jennifer Armentrout is a queen. You cannot convince me otherwise. I probably say this after reading all her books, but you need to get your butt in gear and read this book and her entire back log. And you needed to do it like, yesterday.

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Married By Morning

Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas

3.5 – 4 stars 

“There are some experiences in life they haven’t invented the right words for.” 

Lisa Kleypas is such a fun guilty pleasure read! Historical romance isn’t normally my go to, but sometimes you just need that escape from reality. Leo and Cat were the couple I was looking most forward to in this series, and 3/4’s of this book I loved but the last 1/4 was a little bit too rushed and sweet for me.

A true story of hate to love, Leo and Cat have spent most of this series squabbling until they discovered a hidden attraction that shocks them both. That and a secret past, this book has all the tropes romance readers are looking for.

I enjoyed this book but I think I am gonna take a break from HR for a little bit. But I hope to read the last book in this series sooner rather than later.

“I know I’m a bad bargain. But I’m begging you to have me anyway. Because I want a chance to make you as happy as you make me. I want to build a life with you.”

He fought to steady his voice. “Please come to me, Cat, because there’s no surviving you. You don’t have to love me back. You don’t have to be mine. Just let me be yours.” 

Tempt Me at Twilight

Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas

3.5 stars 

“In the fairy tale you mentioned last night, I would probably be the villain. But it’s possible the villain would treat you far better than the prince would have.” 

Not bad…. but also not amazing. I’ve been on a Lisa Kleypas binge and I’m on the Hathaway’s series. I actually am liking it more than the Wallflowers (please don’t throw the tomatoes!) but this one wasn’t as good as the others. I’m not saying it was bad either, but it fits perfectly into a 3.5 rating where I did enjoy the book, but it’s nothing special to me.

The premise is amazing, a secretive rich hotel owner falls in love with Poppy Hathaway and will literally do anything to have her. Tricked into a marriage she didn’t expect, Poppy tries to make the best of her situation, but may be dealing with a man she doesn’t understand.

I thought this was a sweet story, but it really could have been developed a lot better than it was. It went from distrust to love way too quickly to me. I felt we could have gotten more on Harry’s background to understand how he was. But it felt like one sob story and one confession and suddenly everything was resolved.

I am very much looking forward to the next book because it’s Leo and Miss Marks, hopefully it lives up to my expectations.

“I want you any way I can get you. Not because you’re beautiful or clever or kind or adorable, although devil knows you’re all those things. I want you because there’s no one else like you, and I don’t ever want to start a day without seeing you.” 

The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

2.5-3 stars 

“The Darkest Minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.” 

This is one of those reviews where I really don’t know what to say. Darkest Minds is a book I had my eye on since it published in 2012, I always meant to read it but never made the time. Fast forward to 6 years later and the movie is coming out so I finally made the time and…… meh.

Starting this book my rating was at a 4 stars, then midway in it was more a 3.5. Then by the end I was so disenchanted. I’m still wavering on my rating, it’s between a 2 and a 3 because I enjoyed parts of the book but not others.

I would relate this book to a teen X-men story, but that feels like an insult to the X-men universe. This is about a bunch of teens who suddenly develop powers during puberty and the world goes crazy and locks them up and murders some of them. Ruby has been in the equivalent of a work camp for 6 years before she gets the opportunity to break out and ends up with a group of teens with other abilities looking for a safe place.

My biggest issue with this book is it’s structured really poorly. The plot is all over the place and both romantic storylines felt so completely forced to me. This book has the potential to be a 5 star read, but it was about 200 pages too long in my opinion.

For the most part I enjoyed it, so if you are interested I say go ahead and read it. I’m just a lot picker than other people.

“We’ll just have to try to make better mistakes tomorrow.” 

Seduce Me At Sunrise

Seduce Me At Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas

4 stars! 

“Hell was not a pit of fire and brimstone. Hell was waking up alone, the sheets wet with your tears and your seed, knowing the woman you had dreamed of would never come back to you.” 

Lisa Kleypas delivers every single time!!! Book 2 in The Hathaways series lived up to my expectations, and believe me they were high. After reading the first book, this was the couple I was dying to read about. I loved Merripen and Win, they had such a beautiful and angsty story!

You know how you pick up a book and read the first page? Normally I set the book down, but with this book, I read the first page and could not tear my eyes away. I’ve never experienced anything like it! This book literally had me hooked from the beginning and I devoured it whole.

This is a story of unrequited love, and a story of fear of love. It was more Hathaway centric than the first book was, that one seemed to be half Wallflower series and half Hathaway. While I like being in the Wallflower world, I am loving getting to know the Hathaways and all the side characters whose books I will be reading ASAP!

I know I am late to the Lisa Kleypas train, but if you are even a wee bit curious, pick up one of her books now!

“The worst part about loving someone, Merripen, is that there will al­ways be things you can’t protect her from. Things be­yond your control. You finally realize there is something worse than dying… and that is having something hap­pen to her. You have to live with that fear always. But you have to take the bad part, if you want the good part.”
Kev looked at him bleakly. “What’s the good part?”
A smile touched Cam’s lips. “All the rest of it is the good part,” he said, and went.”