Friday, March 27, 2020

Blog Tour | Not According To Plan by A. M. Madden



Not According To Plan
43234491. sy475 by A. M. Madden
Published by Entangled Publishing, LLC (Amara) on March 23rd, 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Kindly provided by the publisher and Rockstar Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Summary from Goodreads: 
For one night of my life, I dared to do something reckless.
My birthday. A bar. Karaoke. And a man so hot he could melt the sun.
Sparks flew. Lust took over. 

For one night of my life, I felt alive.

Then I was back to my “boring” life. Career-driven. Goal-oriented. Always planning ahead.

But nothing could have prepared me for the positive pregnancy test. We weren’t that reckless.

There goes my “boring” life. And what happens when I tell the father?
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Review
Not According To Plan is a story with a unique take on unexpected pregnancy.

Not According To Plan is centred upon Jade Easton, a career focused junior partner at her law firm in New York, and Max Navarro, who is opening a gym in Miami and dealing with other complicated situations. Both aren't looking for anything romantic but life has other plans for them both. Shenanigans occurs when Jade and Max meet unexpectedly at a Kismet Karaoke, as the host of the event pairs them up together, and that's when fun and adventure shared on the stage transforms quickly to the bedroom. However, what was supposed to be a one-night stand changes both of their lives all thanks to one faulty condom.

Despite the situation each characters are put into, they both seem to handle the news well and proceeded to try to do the right thing. Jade is a strong heroine, she knows what she wants and even when the unexpected occurs, she continues to perserver for her dreams and doesn't let anything derail her from them. She has a good perspective on what she wants and adapts quickly to changes. Max finds himself in a predicament he never expected to be in. Though he never faltered and remained, generally, calm and determined as well as committed, I found myself disliking him. I think the predicament he is even left me feeling a little let down on the overall romantic aspect. Nonetheless, the chemistry between Jade and Max is apparent right from the start and showed the potential the two had as a couple.

I adored reading about the side characters, Amy and Brad were hilarious, and how they brought out different sides of the protagonists. I thought the concept of the story was unique but the way it was carried out could have been improved as the transitions often felt rushed. There is also the fact that Max's circumstances before Jade was shocking and left me a little irked. 

Overall, Not According To Plan is not typically a book I would pick up but it was a fast and light read.


Rating



About the Author

USA Today BESTSELLING ROMANCE AUTHOR

A.M. Madden's romance debut is The Back-Up Series, consisting of Back-Up, Front & Center, and Encore.

A.M. Madden is a wife, a mother, an avid reader of romance novels and now an author. In Back-up she aspired to create a fun, sexy, realistic romantic story. She wanted to create characters that the reader could relate to and feel as if they knew personally. 

A self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, she loves getting lost in a good book. She uses every free moment of her time writing, while raising teenage boys.


Author Links:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday {42}


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, Hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating. 
40144224
Title:
Where Dreams Descend
Author:
Janella Angeles
Publication Date:
June 2nd, 2020
Publisher:
                                       Wednesday Books



Summary from Goodreads:
In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday {41}


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, Hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating. 
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Title:
The Bethrothed
Author:
Kiera Cass
Publication Date:
May 5th, 2020
Publisher:
                               HaprerCollins Children's Books



Summary from Goodreads:
When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.

But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine.
 
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Thursday, March 5, 2020

Review | Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee



Anna K: A Love Story
42119168. sy475 by Jenny Lee
Published by Flatiron Books on March 3rd, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Retelling, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: Kindly provided by the Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Summary from Goodreads: 
Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

Meet Anna K. At seventeen, she is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and Newfoundland dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna's brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather an sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.

As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.

Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K.: A Love Storyis a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy's timeless love story, Anna Karenina―but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.
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Review 
Anna K.: A Love Story has quickly become one of my overall favourite books of 2020. 

Anna K.: A Love Story is a modern-day YA retelling of Anna Karenina that centres upon Anna K., a Korean-American "it girl" who seems to have it all - the perfect boyfriend, high society parents, loving brother, status, and friends, all wrapped up in a drama-free life with her two Newfoundland dogs. She thought she had it all, that is until Vronsky appears in front of her and ignites something in her that she has never felt before. However, the universe requires balance, and a bunch of wealthy Manhattan teens are about to quickly learn that lesson.

This is a book I didn't know I wanted until I heard it was coming out. Though this retelling of the classic work takes on a modern-day approach, it still stays true to the overall theme and plot of its inspiration. It was fun to see the ways in which Lee stayed true to the original work, through the three couples featured as well as the themes of family and love, while taking a more modernized view by highlighting tough topics such as classicism, racism, sexism, privilege, mental health, pressure of tradition, and alcohol and drug addictions. The incorporation of these topics makes this classical story feel both current and fresh as well as leaves readers feeling for the characters and thinking of these situations regardless of their own personal opinions of the book itself.

Though Anna's story is central to the entire plot, there is a large and diverse cast of characters that contribute with significant side stories. I particularly enjoyed reading the character development in this book, as it was throughly impressive how some characters changed from someone I would have typically disliked to being one of my favourite characters in the book as they grew and changed. However, I absolutely adored the relationships and romance within this story. Anna and Vronsky's romance was the central focus of the entire book, their relationship and the passion they had for one another was one that quickly grabbed my attention since their very first meeting. I also enjoyed reading Steven and Anna's relationship as siblings, they may not have agreed on all things but they always looked out for each other.

Anna K.: A Love Story sort of has a feel similar to that of Gossip Girl and The Hills, a bunch of rich kids getting into all kinds of mischievous activities and acting questionably. With alcohol, cheating, drugs, sex, and jet setting, this book reads like a soapy drama with its portrayal of the over the top lifestyles and relationships. One can read how easily a person can get swept up in the opulence of the characters' lavish lifestyles, wild parties, and romance but can just as easily see how effortless it is to gain access to alcohol and drugs as well as face life-changing decisions at such a young age. Lee thoughtfully and realistically addressed the ways that infidelity is treated differently based on one's gender as well as discussed how alcohol and drugs may be appealing to some teens, whether it is for fun or to help them in some aspect of their life, but can also go wrong through the portrayal of an acid trip and the consequences of being a heroine addict.

I thought I knew how the story would end but was surprised by the circumstances and choices made. Though the ending was softened, it was still a tragic love story that is hard to forget. I felt that the emotions were captured quite well and made everything that much more powerful to read. Overall, Anna K.: A Love Story is a book that I highly recommend picking up and checking out right away. It's a story that I believe will resonate with a lot of people, especially in today's day and age, and will leave readers wanting to know more.

With that being said, there are some content/trigger warnings to be made aware of, see below for a partial list, before picking up this book. A list of trigger warnings will be provided at the end of this review. If you are looking for more in depth trigger warnings, there are a ton of reviews out that may be able to fully address concerns you may have. Please be mindful of your mental health before picking up any book with content/trigger warnings in order to ensure that you don't push yourself. 


TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic scenes, alcohol and drug use, sex shaming, discussion of sex, revenge porn, infidelity, depression, suicidal ideation, mention of self-harm, mention of abortion.


Rating



About the Author 
Jenny Lee is a television writer and producer who has worked on BET's Boomerang, IFC's Brockmire, Freeform's Young & Hungry, and the Disney Channel's number-one-rated kids' show, Shake It Up. Jenny has previously published humorous essay collections and middle-grade novels, and Anna K. is her debut YA novel. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and 135-pound Newfoundland, Gemma (and yes, it's a toss-up on who's walking who every day).


Author Links:

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday {40}


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, Hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating. 
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Title:
The Honey-Don't List
Author:
Christina Lauren
Publication Date:
March 24th, 2020
Publisher:
                                             Gallery Books



Summary from Goodreads:
Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.

From the New York Times bestselling author behind the “joyful, warm, touching” (Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author) The Unhoneymooners comes a delightfully charming love story about what happens when two assistants tasked with keeping a rocky relationship from explosion start to feel sparks of their own. 
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Friday, February 28, 2020

Review | The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller



The Shadows Between Us
35702241by Tricia Levenseller
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 25th 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: Kindly provided by the Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Summary from Goodreads: 
Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?
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Review
The Shadows Between Us is a centred upon Alessandra, the second daughter to a nobleman, who has high ambitions to (1) woo the Shadow King, (2) marry him, and (3) kill him and take his kingdom for herself. Knowing her worth, Alessandra will do anything to secure her chances of obtaining the notorious Shadow King's mysterious unknown powers and kingdom...except she's not the only one planning to kill him. As Alessandra gets closer to the Shadow King and saves him from constant danger, ensuring he survives in order to marry her, she begins to question her plans and everything she thought she wanted.

The summary is what initially drew me towards this book but the writing and plot itself is what made me want to continue reading. The story does move a bit faster to what I am typically used to but it works perfectly for this story. I absolutely adored all the little mysteries revolving the Shadow King and seeing the process that occurred of dispelling the rumours and figuring out what is true about his character.

Alessandra's character is unapologetically herself, brutal and manipulative, and  knows what she wants. This combined with her sense of humour and high ambitions makes her character truly well rounded. With all eyes on her, including that of the Shadow King, she manages to captivate her audience and intrigue them all at once while setting style trends that makes it way throughout the castle as well as outside its bordered walls. While all this occurs, someone is trying to kill the Shadow King themselves and unknowingly attempting to ruin all that Alessandra has worked so hard for. Now Alessandra, who not only challenges people but the stereotypical roles given, plays damsel to achieve whatever she wants and then quickly sheds that role once she has received it - this typically lands her in a mess of trouble. It was fun to read how she planned to get out of the mess as well as the female empowerment shown throughout the book, particularly through her relationship with her friends who pushed to help one another through all the craziness of court life.

Overall, The Shadows Between Us is definitely one I recommend checking out and picking it right away, especially if you are the type to root for the villains.


Rating



About the Author
Tricia Levenseller
Initially from a small town in Oregon, Tricia now lives next to the Rocky Mountains with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing and is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, playing OVERWATCH, and watching shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.


Author Links:

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday {39}


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, Hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating. 
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Title:
House of Earth and Blood
Author:
Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date:
March 3rd, 2020
Publisher:
                                       Bloomsbury Publishing



Summary from Goodreads:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas launches her brand-new CRESCENT CITY series with House of Earth and Blood: the story of half-Fae and half-human Bryce Quinlan as she seeks revenge in a contemporary fantasy world of magic, danger, and searing romance.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.
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