All the Shiny April New Releases I Want To Get My Hands On

It’s that time of the month where we have all the shiny new books to look forward to next. To be completely honest, there wasn’t that many that I was eager to read in March (hence my lack of a March post) BUT APRIL, on the other hand, is chock full of new goodies.

Let’s break it down…

31423196Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray. This is one of my most anticipated books for the entire year, let alone the month of April. I read Gray’s Firebird Trilogy last year and LOVED it and I’m really excited for this books (which looks to be the start to a new series). This one is a sci-fi book, set in space involving war between humans and robots. This sounds GOOOOOD and I’m really excited for it. I just wish they hadn’t changed the cover. Not that there is anything wrong with this cover, but I LOVED THE OLD ONE. Oh well.  Release Date: April 4th




Fireworks by Katie Cotugno. I have never read a Katie Cotugno book – I’ve checked 99 Days out of various libraries more times than I can count and still haven’t read it yet. This book, however is set in Orlando during the height of the 90s boyband/girl group era and follows two friends and their quest to make it in the music industry. 90s pop is both the music of my childhood and still my jam (I won an award because I know all the words to Mmmbop by Hanson. True story) and basically I need this book. Release Date: April 18th



The Freemason’s Daughter by Shelley Stackier. I will state this honestly – I know nothing about this book. But the cover is gorgeous and its set in Scotland and, between reading Outlander and finding out I have Scottish roots, I can’t get enough Scotland-set novels. Basically, I’m here for it. Release Date: April 11th





Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis. I read A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis last year and I liked it enough to check out more of her books. I know literally nothing about this book – the synopsis doesn’t give much away – but the cover is gorgeous and that alone has me intrigued, so sign me up. Release Date: April 11th



Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer. This one is about a girl writing letters to her mother who has passed away and, when she leaves them at her grave, a boy happen upon them and begins responding. It sounds interesting enough that I feel a definite need to check it out. Release Date: April 4th





Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer.  I don’t much about this book at all – that’s how I am going into most fantasy books these days anyway. I know it’s a dark Sleeping Beauty retelling and that’s all I’ve got. I’ve been seeing it around a lot lately, and it caught my interest. Release Date: April 11th


30649331Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean. Scotland. Secret Societies. Possible supernatural elements? You know the drill. Also, can we talk about that cover please??? Because its stunning and I need it in my possession. Release Date: April 4th





That’s it for me today. What new releases are you looking forward to in April?

See you next time!


Review: The Cure for Dreaming – Cat Winters

20702018Title: The Cure for Dreaming

Author: Cat Winters (twitter) (site)

Publisher//Release Date: Amulet Books// October 14, 2014

Genre: YA, Historical, Paranormal

Source: Library

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Synopsis: Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

Rating: 3/5

This is another book that has been following me around for years and I just got around to reading it. Historical fantasy books are kind of my thing and, if you write one, I’m probably going to read it – eventually.

The Cure For Dreaming has a lot going for it, and I did enjoy it, but it’s not without its faults and missed chances – especially when it comes to secondary characters and the romantic subplot.

Let’s break it down:

What I Liked:

  • Olivia. I thought Olivia was a very solid heroine. She was very much ahead of her time, headstrong and independently minded, but still likable and sympathetic. I really liked her point of view because she gives a semi-modern tone to a historical story.
  • The Setting. 1900 Oregon is kind of unique setting – don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in Oregon before. The time period was the most interesting part. It’s played out through Olivia and her father: women who wanted the right to vote and the men in their lives who wanted to keep them under control.Reading from her point of view made me think about a lot of things that women may take for granted in America now – education, voting rights, etc. – that women in 1900 had to fight to get in the first place. There were also women totally opposed to suffrage – which is something that I knew existed but didn’t really think about and you get to see a good deal of them in the novel. You get a good sense of the points of view of both sides of the issue – one side may be wrong, but they tell you why they thought the way they did – always a good thing. Somewhat related to this point, my library’s edition of the novel had a timeline in the back chronicling the suffrage movement in the United States, not just for woman, but minorities as well. I history nerded out over that.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The Romance. It was very, very meh. I didn’t really see the necessity in the book having romantic subplot at all. Its more of a friends with benefits situation (they have a specific label that they put on within the story that’s more fitting). Personally, I had a really hard time getting behind a love interest who could  – and did – have the heroine under his control at the drop of a hat. I don’t bandy the word problematic around a lot, because I think it’s overused, but this would be a perfect description for this situation. It just didn’t sit right with me.
  • Characters other than Olivia. I really liked Olivia, but all the other characters were kind of ‘meh’ for me. They all kind of came off kind of flat and I couldn’t get invested in them. There were a lot of missed chances. Henri was probably the most interesting after Olivia and I liked him but so much about his backstory was left unexplained. I wanted to know more and I never got it and I just ended up a little disappointed. Her father came of very much as a stock character, an opposing force and a brute – most of the town assumes that he’s a sadist – but there were moments that I thought could have been explored further.
  • The Hypnotism Aspect.  As someone who has witnessed hypnotism, I just had a hard time suspending disbelief that someone could remained hypnotized after the hypnotist wakes them up. I haven’t seen that before and I don’t want to say its impossible, but it seemed a little far-fetched.

That’s it for me this time. Have you read The Cure for Dreaming? What did you think of it?

Waiting On Wednesday: Come Sundown – Nora Roberts


Waiting On Wednesday in a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine in which we discuss an upcoming release that you’re…well…waiting on! And this seems like the perfect excuse to have mini fangirl freakouts over the books I NEED ASAP.

This week, I’m flailing over Come Sundown

What You Need to Know

31415529Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

Published by St. Martin’s Press on May 30th, 2017

Synopsis:A saga of love, family ties, and twisted passions from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Obsession

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose—and her mind has been shattered…

When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him—and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined.

Add to Goodreads                                                Preorder at Amazon     Barnes and Noble

Why I’m Flailing

I’m a hardcore NR fan – literally, I haven’t read of book of hers I haven’t at least enjoyed. But the last few standalones I’ve read of hers, The Collector and The Obsession, have been absurdly FANTASTIC – like The Obsession is easily an all-time fave for both me and my mom and I actually read it twice in the last year and its kind of the greatest?

Basically Nora is on a roll and this one sounds great. I want the thing. Someone get me the thing.

That’s it for me. What books are you waiting on?

Top Ten Tuesday: The Top Ten Authors I Want to Meet


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This time we’re talking about authors we want to meet.

I actually haven’t met that many authors. I think the last one I met was the writer of the Real Kids, Real Adventures book series who came to the reading festival my county holds for upper elementary school kids every year when I was in fifth grade. She pulled me up in front of an auditorium full of 10-12 year olds and I helped her explain that authors aren’t all old, white men.


But my chances to meet authors that I want to meet are few and far between. For some reason, YA authors don’t really come to the Pittsburgh area very often and I have NO IDEA why. I confuses and frustrates me. A lot.

But these are the authors that I would love to meet. And yes, I know a couple of them are deceased but I would still love to meet them.

Let’s break it down:

  1. J.K. Rowling. Actually Queen. Actually changed my life.
  2. Ellen Raskin. Another one who changed my life with her book.
  3. Harper Lee.
  4. Marissa Meyer. I actually had a chance to meet her but life decided to say HAHAHAHAHA NO in my face THE DAY OF THE SIGNING WHEN I ALREADY HAD TICKETS. No I’m not bitter about this at all. All I want to do is see how she comes up with her stories and thank her for creating Carswell Thorne. Is that much to ask?
  5. Libba Bray. Pretty sure she’s actually an evil genius and I’ve admired her writing since I was in high school.
  6. Susan Dennard.
  7. Victoria Aveyard.
  8. Diana Gabaldon. I need to tell her I’m related to Jamie!!!
  9. Maggie Stiefvater.
  10. Naomi Novik. I found out from her bio that she’s involved with AO3  – Archive Of Our Own – haven for transformative works (aka FANFICTION) and I’m like GURL. You feel me.

And I’d I like to let you all know I resisted the urge to add another addition with a fictional author who’s actually a teenager*cough*HenryMills*cough* with a plea to let me meet his stepfather *cough*KillianJones*coughs*. I’m normal, I swear. Really.


That’s it for me today! Have you met any authors? Do you have a favorite?

See you next time!!!


Review: Bad Blood – Demitria Lunetta

25226075Title: Bad Blood

Author: Demitria Lunetta (twitter) (site)

Publisher//Release Date: Delacorte Press// March 14th, 2017

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical (kind of?)

Source: Purchased

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Synopsis: All sixteen-year-old Heather MacNair wants is to feel normal, to shed the intense paranoia she’s worn all year like a scratchy sweater. Ever since her compulsion to self-harm came to light, Heather was kept under her doctor’s watchful eye. Her family thinks she’s better—and there’s nothing she wants more than for that to be true. She still can’t believe she’s allowed to spend her summer vacation as she always does: at her aunt’s home in Scotland, where she has lots of happy memories. Far away from all her problems save one: she can’t stop carving the Celtic knot that haunts her dreams into her skin.

Good friends and boys with Scottish accents can cure almost anything…except nightmares. Heather can’t stop dreaming about two sisters from centuries ago, twins Prudence and Primrose, who somehow seem tied to her own life. Their presence lurks just beneath the surface of her consciousness, sending ripples through what should be a peaceful summer. The twins might hold the key to putting Heather’s soul at rest…or they could slice her future deeper than any knife

Rating: 3.5/5

I’m a sucker for Scotland. There. I said it.

It started with Outlander, continued with the TV show, and got even worse when I found out I have Scottish roots. My paternal great-great-great grandparents were from Scotland and they go WAYY back and when I eventually cough up the money for a World Explorer membership on Ancestry, I’m going to find out how far back they go, along with the Italian, Irish, English, and German sides. Maybe even the Polish branch, if I can ever find out exactly how that dang last name is spelled.

But I digress.

So, when I saw Bad Blood. I saw Scotland and witches – not mention that gorgeous cover – and I was sold. And I did enjoy the book a great deal, but it wasn’t without its faults (most of which, IMHO, could have been easily avoided).

Let’s break it down:

What I Liked:

  • Characters. The characters were what made this book for me. I really liked the characters. I liked the way they were written. They came off like real people, dealing with their own problems and generally living their lives. I could see people having problems with Heather, but I liked her a great deal, even if she didn’t always do the smartest thing. I really liked her friends. Fiona and Asha were cool and Robbie was verra nice, if you know what I mean. I really liked Abbie, and I admired the way she handled what life has thrown at her. But I think Gram (Heather’s grandmother) was my favorite. I wish we could see her before the story takes place and, the more we found out about her, the more I wanted to know. The characters were the strongest part of the novel and I don’t see me forgetting them anytime soon.
  • The Romance. We don’t get a whole lot of it, but OH MY GOD, I loved what was there. Its short and very sweet and oh so adorable. I already want my own kilt-wearing Scotsman, but this just sealed the deal.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The Historical Plot. I found it very hard to connect with the sections of this book set in the past. At the beginning it was fine, but the further we get into the story, we spend more time with Heather and her story than with Primrose and Prudence and what chapters were there were incredibly short at times – front and back of a singular page at times. There’s an in-book reason that explains the short chapters,  but maybe it would have been better to give us the information in another way. I also had a definite dislike for one of the two sisters and her actions.
  • The Length. I would have loved for this book  longer. I feel like this would have not only have given more time with the characters, but would have given a lot more depth to the Primrose/Prudence story and made that resolution a little more emotional. Generally I think a lot of the quibbles that I have with this book could have been solved by the book clearing 300 pages.
  • The Resolution of the Medical/Illness storylines. Can’t say much here, because spoilers, but there’s a lot of illness going on in this story, but the way those story lines were resolved was too easy. The one in particular could be rage inducing to someone who’s family is going through it.

And I can’t be the only one who thought of a certain T.Swift song when you see the title of this book. It kind of does tie into the story a bit, when it comes to the parts set in the past. I wonder if that was done on purpose?

That’s it for me this time! Have  you read Bad Blood? Let me know what you thought!

See you next time!



What I’m Reading – 3/27/17

Hello everyone, welcome to my weekly update of all things reading. How’s life? I made the absurdly poor decision to attempt to clean out my closet this weekend. The current state of my bedroom is not fit for human habitation – YET I’m still here.

Oh well. Let’s get into it.

What I Read
I FINALLY finished A Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters, which took me way longer than it should have to finish. And then, despite the above mentioned closet disaster, I was able to finish Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta. Both of them were supposed to have a creep factor that I didn’t quite get, but enjoyed nonetheless. Both of the books will have reviews up later this week. And by later, I mean one of them is going up this afternoon.

What I’m Reading
I’m still reading City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare. I gave up on the audiobook because the narrator’s voice was driving me up a freaking wall – none of the characters sounded any different from the others and she had a bit of a southern accent that was completely out of place for a book series that is primarily set in New York City. But I’ve switched to the physical book and I’ve been making more progress that way. Should have it finished in a day or two.

What I’m Reading Next
I FINALLY got my hold copy of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas from the library. The buzz surrounding this book has been UNREAL – the movie was announced before the book was even published – and its about a very important topic and I’m very excited to read it. And, ladies and gents, I’m quite happy to announce that I am FINIALLY going to start A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I feel like the last person on the face of the planet to not have read this book, but I’m getting to it guys. Its really happening.

Books I Acquired This Week
I went a little crazy at the library with hold requests a few weeks ago and they all came in at the same time. I had to make two trips to pick them all up. Oh well. I’m in a reading mood. #Shameless

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (I TOLD YOU I WAS READING IT)
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
Long May She Reign – Rhiannon Thomas
Riot and Rememberance: The Tulsa Race War and its Legacy – James Hirsch (Look what Dreamland Burning did – now I’m reading non-fiction!)
The Bone Witch  – Rin Chupeco
Beautiful Broken Girls – Kim Savage
At The Edge of the Universe – Shaun David Hutchinson
Ronit and Jamil – Pamela L. Laskin
Get Even – Gretchen McNeil
The Hidden Memory of Objects – Danielle Mages Amato

As a final note, next week’s edition of this post will probably be a little late (Tuesday or later) because I’m going to Florida for a long weekend (GIVE IT TO ME NOWWWWWW) and not bringing my laptop with me. The recap will come, but late.

That’s it for me this time. What have you been reading lately?

Review: Rebels Like Us – Liz Reinhardt

25377806Title: Rebels Like Us

Author: Liz Reinhardt (twitter)

Publisher//Release Date: Harlequin Teen// February 28th, 2017

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Source: Purchased

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Synopsis:“It’s not like I never thought about being mixed race. I guess it was just that, in Brooklyn, everyone was competing to be exotic or surprising. By comparison, I was boring, seriously. Really boring.”

Culture shock knocks city girl Agnes “Nes” Murphy-Pujols off-kilter when she’s transplanted mid–senior year from Brooklyn to a small Southern town after her mother’s relationship with a coworker self-destructs. On top of the move, Nes is nursing a broken heart and severe homesickness, so her plan is simple: keep her head down, graduate and get out. Too bad that flies out the window on day one, when she opens her smart mouth and pits herself against the school’s reigning belle and the principal.

Her rebellious streak attracts the attention of local golden boy Doyle Rahn, who teaches Nes the ropes at Ebenezer. As her friendship with Doyle sizzles into something more, Nes discovers the town she’s learning to like has an insidious undercurrent of racism. The color of her skin was never something she thought about in Brooklyn, but after a frightening traffic stop on an isolated road, Nes starts to see signs everywhere—including at her own high school where, she learns, they hold proms. Two of them. One black, one white.

Nes and Doyle band together with a ragtag team of classmates to plan an alternate prom. But when a lit cross is left burning in Nes’s yard, the alterna-prommers realize that bucking tradition comes at a price. Maybe, though, that makes taking a stand more important than anything.

Rating: 4/5

Back when I was a shiny new high school graduate, I watched a documentary on HBO called Prom Night in Mississippi, all about a high school having its first integrated prom and all the issues and backlash and ramifications that came with it. Maybe it was my upbringing, maybe it was the area live in and the make up of my high school’s student body but it completely boggled my mind that, in 2009, segregation of any kind was still happening.

Fast forward 8 years and I hear about this book and I was immediately interested just because of the premise and I needed to get my hands on it ASAP. I will say that I mentally paused at the Seventeen label slapped on the book because, I’m WAY outside their demographic – but I ended up really enjoying the book and ended up passing it on to my mom, because screw the Seventeen label, this book is adorable.

Let’s break it down:

What I Liked:

  • Story. There’s a lot of parts to this story and they fit together nicely and add a lot of depth. Nes’s physical and familial upheaval, general culture shock of being in The South and, of course, her relationship with Doyle and the bit about the prom. I actually really enjoyed the story about Nes and her mom and watching their relationship evolve over the course of the story and it might have been my favorite part of the story as a whole. The story also touches on racism and racial bias – there’s a couple of scenes that really, really stand out
  • Characters. Nes and Doyle are very compelling characters. Nes is a great narrator – we have very similar senses of humor and I found myself giggling at her little asides and pop culture references. Doyle is like kind of the ultimate cross between southern gentleman and good ole’ boy and I adored him – and his crazy family.
  • Romance. HOLY MOLY IT’S ADORABLE. They’re cute and flirty and sweet and steamy and basically all the things you want out of a teenaged romance.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Pacing. I don’t know if pacing was off or if it was just me, but the story started strong, but kind windy in the middle. A lot of time was spent with the teens doing random things that, I am assuming, teens in the South do and kind of rehashing Nes missing her BFF in Brooklyn and her ex and her anger with her mom, etc., etc. You get the picture. It picks up toward the end but the middle
  • Secondary Characters.  Kind of minor thing, but I feel like some of the secondary characters could have used a bit of a boost, like Jasper and Ainsley. Ainsley in particular needed a bit of depth. She came off as a bit of a stereotypical mean girl and, if you’re going to be the foil to the protagonist, you should probably have a bit of depth.
  • Romance. This is probably going to sound insane, but I felt like there was too much romance. It felt like the entire first part of the book was exclusively about Nes and Doyle being flirty and cute and doing southern things like mudding and floating in rivers. It’s cute, but when the thing that attracted me most to the story doesn’t even get a mention until about halfway through, there might be a little too much on the romance. The romance is also very insta-lovey. SUPER insta-lovey actually. The entire plot takes place over a couple of months and, IMHO, they’re moving WAY too fast.

There’s one particular thing that I want to mention that happens at the end of the story that I thought was particularly realistic and well done, but it’s kind of a spoiler, and really, really minor.

tl;dr: Rebels Like Us is a cute and socially relevant story with a cute and easy to root for main couple, but one that spends a little too much time on romance for my liking.

That’s it for me this time? Have you read Rebels Like Us? What did you think?