Sunday, August 13, 2023

Bout of Books SIgn Up

 HEY FRIENDS. It's been...a..while.  I am back though and ready to get back into the blogging groove!  So, let's start with a Bout of Books sign up post.  As expected, I will be participating in Bout of Books, which you can read about here: 

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 21st and runs through Sunday, August 27th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are reading sprints, daily Discord questions, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For all Bout of Books 38 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books teama

This weeklong readathon is SO MUCH FUN. If you've followed me on the internets for a while you know I love Bout of Books, and that I am about to tell you to go sign up and join me!  You won't regret it.  

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Bout of Books Sign Uo

 Hey friends!  It's been a hot minute, but I'm back.  And I'm here to tell you I'm once again doing Bout of Books. Surprised right?! 

If you've never heard of Bout of Books, here's a little blurb from their blog:

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are reading sprints, daily Discord questions, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For all Bout of Books 37 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

If you think it sounds awesome go join!  If you're already signed up have fun reading.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

January and February Wrap Up


Hey friends!  I started off the year strong I read 12 books in January and February combined!  

Let's just dive right in.  Here are the books I read in January and February. 

The Heart Principle - Helen Hoang 
The Bride Test - Helen Hoang
The Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang 
Crimes of Passion - Jack 
Five Survive - Holly Jackson 
Tell Me I'm Worthless - Alison Rumfitt 
How to Keep a Husband for 10 Days - Jessica Hatch 
The Spite House - Johnny Compton 
Dread Nation - Justina Ireland 
Book Lovers - Emily Henry 
Animal Farm - George Orwell 
One Night in Havana - Chanel Cleaton 
Murder by the Cup - Abigail Lynn Thornton 

There you have it friends - my January and February conquests.  What books have you read so far this year?  Have you read any of the books I read?  Tell me what's going on down in the comments! 

Saturday, March 4, 2023

The Heart Principle - Helen Hoange

Title: The Heart Principle 
Author: Helen Hoang 
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 4.5 Stars 


A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this new New York Times bestselling romance by Helen Hoang.

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.


I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK.  I am so glad I finally took the time to read this (and the other two books by Helen Hoang.)

I found the characters in this books to be fantastic and relatable. After all, how many of us have ever felt like Anna does - just done, finished, burnt out.  I can't relate to the fact that Anna is autistic, but the burn out - even neurotypical people can experience that in their own way.  There are certainly ways that burnout can impact neurodivergent people, and how they approach the world just because of the way that autism, or ADHD, etc, impact the way they see and view everything around them. I think mostly I just related to the fact that feeling a sense of burnout is a very human thing depending on your circumstances.  

(Well, okay, perhaps a little tangent is necessary - for me anyway.  So, here in the US, where I live, it seems that this sense of burnout amongst ALL people seems to be more prevalent and impacts our live in such a huge way.  It is, sadly, something that we "normalize." We keep telling people to just keep going.  We encourage people to keep working even if they are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.  We brush off people's concerns about how they feel and how they're really doing.  We push people to be hyper independent and to push off any offers for help.  It's really frustrating and said, and says a lot about what our society views as the most important things in life.)

I loved the way each character was written and developed, and that they were all connected to each other and also unique to themselves.  The author did a good job of making sure each character had their own traits and personalities and also showed great growth from Anna. Anna really struggled with a lot of things in the book, but she grew a lot and learned a lot about herself and how to handle things that came her way. 

As far as the steamy scenes, Helen Hoang nails it.  I felt like each sex scene was well written, AND that the characters had good chemistry with each other outside the bedroom.  They were very good together and had things in common, and really enjoyed each others company.  Their whole relationship worked. 

Quan was very patient with Anna, and I think it helped that he was familiar with autism and how each autistic person is just their own person just like everyone else.  Quan had a lot of people who judged him as well because of all his tattoo's and people thinking that made him a "bad boy."  Personally, I think Quan is more of a softy than people realized.  He's just sweet and kind, and I loved him!  

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED watching Anna grow and change throughout this book, and FINALLY find a voice.  I don't want to spoil anything, so I will just say that she was very, very passive, and didn't really stand up to people or say no to people, and watching her learn how to do that was amazing. 

Overall, this book is totally worth the time!  Read it now, friends! 

If you already have read it let me know what you think in the comments. 

Sunday, February 12, 2023

The Bride Test - Helen Hoang


Title: The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang 
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 4 Stars 


Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he's defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can't turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn't go as planned. Esme's lessons in love seem to be working...but only on herself. She's hopelessly smitten with a man who's convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme's time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he's been wrong all along. And there's more than one way to love.


This is the first book I've read by Helen Hoang, and I loved it.  It was such a great, cute romance that hit me right in the feels. 


- The two main characters.  They were amazing, I think.  It must have been really hard for Esme to come to a new country, and to meet Khai, and go through trying to get him to fall in love with her - even if it was a ploy in the beginning.  Khai was written so well, as was Esme.  Watching the way Khai was developed as an autistic person and what he could handle, and how he approached having Esme touch him was great.  I am not autistic, so I won't even pretend to know how it feels.  I will say that I think the author wrote Khai very well, and with so much depth - it's great to know that the author understands that autistic people are not just one dimensional, and that they are people like the rest of us.  Esme was written very well also, and was such a great character.  I think both characters really learned a lot about each other and themselves throughout the course of this book and that was great.

- The settings and the build up of the story were fantastic.  The author really developed everything well, and showed a lot of great development in what was happening around Khai and Esme as their relationship developed.  For example, showing how Khai managed things at big events like weddings was great because it gave us even more insight into his character and who he was as a person.  Being in large social settings like that was difficult for him, and you could tell he was growing and making an effort when he went from bringing a book to these events to not bringing one at all. Those little things really added to the story and helped bring me into what was happening. 

- Khai's family was awesome.  I really liked his mom and brother.  They were as well developed as the two main characters, and seeing how they reacted to Khai, to Esme, and to each other and their friends and family was great.  As secondary characters they really felt real and well written to me. Khai's family was also I think mostly understanding of why he lived the way he did, but they also weren't afraid to tell Khai what was what. His brother was honest with him to the point that Khai really did learn things about himself and what he needed in his life and I loved that. 

- Esme finally being open with Khai about her daughter was so wholesome to me.  He met her daughter and was like cool, cool, here's my family.  It was just a great moment of acceptance to me showing that Khai had really grown when he realized that he loved Esme and was going to accept her wholly no matter what. 

Overall this book was wonderful and I am so glad I finally had a chance to read it.  (I am now onto The Heart Paradox, and I'll review that soon - but so far I'm loving it!)

If you've read The Bride Test, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought!  

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Dread Nation - Justina Ireland


Title: Dread Nation
Author: Justina Ireland 
Format: Audiobook
Rating: 5 Stars 


At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland's stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar—a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.

In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.

But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It's a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston's School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.

But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. 

And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.


FRIENDS - I have hit it!  My FIRST FIVE STAR BOOK OF 2023!  

Words cannot describe how much I loved this book.  From the first page to the falling of Summerland, this book was everything I could have hoped it would be and more.  I loved the character development, the intrigue, the way that there were so many people in this book willing to stand up for what was right in the face of severe racism and prejudice.  

Jane, the fierce and independent MC and narrator of this book, is, hands down, my favorite character.  She is so strong and always willing to make her voice heard, even when she knows she's in a place where it could end very badly.  The story takes a look at "post slavery" United States, which, of course, meant nothing during those times, and Jane knew that black people like her were still treated so badly and were seen as people who couldn't be susceptible to the zombie virus because they were black.  That's crap, of course.  Watching Jane and Kathryn stand up for what's right, even in the face of other people who don't believe her, and people who don't want to fight is amazing.  Jane uses her fierce belief in what's right lead her, and helps her help Kathryn stay safe when they are shipped of to Summerland. 

When I first encountered Kathryn, I wasn't sure how I felt about her.  She seemed spoiled and arrogant, and her unwillingness to be flexible in regards to what it took to help the people around her (TAKE OFF THE DAMN CORSET!!!)  But she grew as a character, I feel, and she really showed that she had what it took to fight hard to keep people safe in an unsafe place. 

There was not only excellent character development and growth in this book, there was wonderful foreshadowing and story building.  The way the author develops the whole story and builds up what's happening from beginning to end is AMAZING. 

It's so amazing, it deserves all the awesome Schitt's Creek memes and gifs (minus the ones where Moira and David are being, you know, Moira and David.)

This book also looks at the way black people were treated during that time and develops the story and characters around that so that they are fighting on the side of right, and that's great.  They're going into this world knowing that they are being treated unfairly, and they are doing what they do to let people know that's not okay. 

The whole book was so well written and I will absolutely be reading basically anything Justina Ireland writes from here on out.  The way she develops everything and fills in her plot and characters so well is worth it.  This is a book I'd recommend to everyone who loves good writing, a well developed plot, great characters, and zombies. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

How to Keep A Husband for 10 Days

Title: How to Keep a Husband for 10 Days 
Author: Jessica Hatch
Format: E-Book 
Rating: 3 Stars 
Publication Date: February 8, 2023
Publisher: Bookouture


Pretending to be married to the man you were married to… How hard can it be?!

When Lina’s oldest friends unexpectedly announce they’re coming to stay, she has to think fast. No one knows she and her husband Brown are breaking up, and so she persuades him to act as if they aren’t… After all, how hard can it be to pretend to be married for ten days?

Turns out, a lot harder than she thought. On day one, she strikes so many couple poses that she throws her back out. On day two, she gets muscle spasms from smiling too hard at her husband’s jokes. On day three, she almost has a heart attack when she puts her hand far too high up his thigh at the dinner table. And on day four, when she accidentally grazes Brown’s lips when aiming for his cheek, she almost passes out in the middle of the restaurant.

By day five, Lina is starting to realise there’s a thin line between love and hate. And while she can try to fool her friends, she can’t fool her heart. Was she too hasty calling time on her marriage? Is this more than make believe? And does she even have enough time to find out if Brown feels the same?

This absolutely hilarious and totally addictive romcom is perfect for fans of Ali Hazelwood’s The Love Hypothesis, Christina Lauren’s The Unhoneymooners, and Emily Henry.


How to Keep a Husband For 10 Days is a forthcoming book by author Jessica Hatch.  This book has an interesting premise for a rom-com because the couple is already married.  The book goes back and forth between their time when they were first married and living in this little apartment in a small building, and the time in the present when they are going through a divorce.

Here's a little background: Lina and Brown are getting divorced.  Their friend Freddy still owns the building they all met in and held progressive dinner parties in for years. Freddy's building is about to be sold to someone trying to "snazz up" the neighborhood - read: Gentrification.  Freddy is trying to do everything they can to keep the property as is because they really want to be able to provide affordable housing in a city that doesn't have a lot of those options. 

There really wasn't a ton of "Comedy" in this self proclaimed rom-com.  It did have a few WTF moments, but nothing that I'd say really put it solidly in that rom-com category.  Also, the fact that the couple was already married made for an interesting premise because we already know they were in love once, and probably still are (it is labeled as a romance, after all.) The way they come to different realizations throughout the book is the way you'd expect any married couple to.  They have a lot of fun at the beginning, but things get hard once they're on their own away from their friends.  Then they realize that marriage is not always easy - that sort of stuff happens with married couples.  They both realized this, but what they never did realize was that they don't really have that much in common with each other - which leads me to wonder why they got married in the first place. 

Lina did learn a few things throughout the book about what she would need to do in order to be a good wife and about how to admit things about herself that she needed to work on.  And I wish Brown had done the same, but he seemed to stay pretty stagnant throughout the book.  There was little surprise that their friend Sarah became even more self centered in the "current" part of the book than in the "past."  Freddy and Mia, to me, seemed to be the most balanced, open, and developed characters in the book. They could have made a whole book just about those two and the passion they had and the way they cared so much for people besides themselves. 

Overall, I didn't hate this book, but I definitely could have done with some more actual rom-com and better developed characters. 


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley.  This has not influenced my review in any way.