Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review | Roomies by Christina Lauren

Roomies by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books on December 5, 2017
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult, Adult 
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback 
Source: Bought at Indigo

Summary from Goodreads: 
Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

Rescued by Calvin McLoughlin from a would-be subway attacker, Holland Bakker pays the brilliant musician back by pulling some of her errand-girl strings and getting him an audition with a big-time musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until he admits his student visa has expired and he’s in the country illegally.

Holland impulsively offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, her growing infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers, Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway. In the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

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This was such a sweet book to read! 

Roomies centeres around a young woman named Holland, who is an aspiring author. Having been surrounded by music all of her life, thanks to her uncle and his husband, she has an amazing sense of hearing to pick out musical talent. With her uncle under pressure to find a talented musician to fill in for the one who quit suddenly to make his latest production amazing, Holland has an idea that no one can turn down. The subway musician, who she ended up developing a crush on, will be the perfect person to fill in the currently empty spot...but she has to first convicce her uncle to listen to him play. 

Calvin McLoughlin, a Juilliard trained immigrant from Ireland, has been waiting for his big break since Juilliard. Believing that Calvin could be the perfect fit, Holland quickly introduces Calvin to her uncle. To no one's surprise, Calvin amazes everyone with his musical skills. Knowing how extremely talent Calvin is, they offer him a position however due to Calvin's lack of a visa he is unable to accept. 

So Holland's uncle can have the perfect musician for the show, she presents Calvin the idea of them getting married so he can stay in the country and also be a part of this major production, a dream he thought would never happen. Calvin agrees and they almost immediately get married and move in together, in Holland's apartment. With the way they talk and act, they not only begin to fool those around them...but also each other. 

I absolutely loved Holland's insecurities and doubts. To me, it made the character so much more real. Even though she kept believing that others would look at her and wonder why Calvin would be with someone like her when he could have anyone, as well as whether or not Calvin is with her only for the green card. Only in the very end did she start to believe in herself and thank that she deserved to have happiness and be the main character in her own life. 

The chemistry between Holland and Calvin was amazing. Even though there were ups-and-downs in their relationship, it literally made everything fit so much more perfectly together. It felt believable in a way I didn't think possible - especially in the end. 

This was such a perfect book to read! I just picked it up a few days ago, to commemorate me finishing my exams, and finished reading the whole thing yesterday. It was such an addicting book that immerses readers and makes them fall for every single character. There were a few steamy scenes but it was nothing like Christina & Lauren's previous work, Beautiful Bastard. I can not say enough how much I enjoyed reading this and how much I would recommend it! 

If you're looking for a heartwarming ad adorable book to read this holiday season then look no further. Roomies is the romantic contemporary book you're definitely going to want to read. 


About The Author:

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners/besties/soulmates/brain-twins Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced fourteen New York Times bestselling novels. Their books have been translated into 31+ languages. (Some of these books have kissing. Some of these books have A LOT of kissing.)

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Review | Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express
by Agatha Christie
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on October 10, 2017 (first edition published in 1934)
Genres: Fiction,  Mystery,  Thriller,  Suspense
Pages: 265
Series: Hercule Poirot - book 10
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought at Indigo

Summary from Goodreads: 
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man's enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.

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Captivating, intriguing, and my gosh a book you need to pick up immediately.

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! What happened on this train! I am completely at a loss for words to describe how I feel right now. The suspense, the mystery, just everything in this intricately woven story was absolutely amazing to read. With a great setting for a mystery novel, a train filed with strangers, and a premise that promises murder and intrigue, how can anyone not be excited when reading this book? 

This is the first book I have read by Agatha Christie, and I can tell you right now that this will not be the last. I ultimately chose to start book 10, Murder on the Orient Express, because (1) the movie is currently out in theatres and I definitely want to watch it, and (2) I always wonder why this book is so popular and what drives people to read it. I can say now that I definitely understand the hype. 

From beginning to end, this book takes you on a journey to find out who was the killer and what their motive was behind the murder. You have never read a mystery book like this one. I mean at one point, I was beginning to suspect who the murderer was, how it happened, etc., when everything was suddenly flipped upside-down and I was presented with another conclusion/solution. Agatha Christie brought Mr. Poirot's intelligence to a whole other level by having him unravel this case. A rich man stabbed to death twelve times in his compartment, with no signs of struggle present and no way for the murder to exit, had me going crazy wanting to read this book and try to solve it. 

This is definitely a book I recommend you pick up and read immediately. Seriously, don't hesitate to pick up this immensely captivating book. Especially if you enjoy reading mystery, thriller, or suspense genres. 


About The Author:

Born in Torquay in 1890, Agatha Christie became, and remains, the best-selling novelist of all time. 
She is best known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, as well as the world's longest-running play - The Mousetrap. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and a billion in translation. 

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Blog Tour | Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

Not Now, Not Ever
by Lily Anderson
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Published by Wednesday Books 
Publication Date: November 21st, 2017

Summary from Goodreads: 
The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn't going to do this summer.

1. She isn't going to stay home in Sacramento, where she'd have to sit through her stepmother's sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn't going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn't going to the Air Force summer program on her mother's base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender's Game, Ellie's seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it's much less Luke/Yoda/"feel the force," and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn't appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she'd be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she's going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer's going to be great.
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Buy Links:

About The Author:

LILY ANDERSON is an elementary school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical
theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California. She is also the author of The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You.

1. Who's your favorite character in NOT NOW, NOT EVER?
Definitely Elliot. She’s so different than me—she’s sporty where I’m slothy and brave where I’m
scared and into Sci-Fi where I’m into romance novels and musicals. I loved being in her head for
the year I was writing the book.

2. What is your writing process? Are you a pantser? (That would be especially interesting given
the literary conversation with the plays). Outliner?
I’m an outliner and my outlines get more serious with every book. With NOT NOW, I outlined a
three act structure which was basically “Elliot runs away. Elliot is at camp. Camp is really hard.”
If I were outlining the same story now, it would have a chapter by chapter breakdown with
character beats.

3. Please give the elevator pitch for Not Now, Not Ever.
Using The Importance Of Being Earnest as a guide, Elliot Gabaroche runs away from home to
compete for a college scholarship.

4. Without spoilers, what was your favorite scene to write?
Any scene that happens in the Mo-Lo library. As a librarian, I took particular joy in creating a
giant fantastical library of my dreams (and putting some swoon inside).

5. What do you most hope that readers take away from your novels (either or both)?
I want all my readers to take away a sense of happiness. NOT NOW, NOT EVER and its
predecessor, THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU, are fluff. Hopefully well crafted,
artisanal and organic fluff but fluff nonetheless. NOT NOW is very much a story about choosing a
path, but also realizing that the paths don’t close behind you. I want my readers to have hope
for Elliot’s path and their own.

6. What is next?
My next book, UNDEAD GIRL GANG, comes out from Penguin Razorbill on May 8, 2018! It’s
Veronica Mars meets The Craft in the fat Wiccan Latina book I’ve always wanted to write.

7. Do you have a dream cast for if there was ever a movie version of NOT NOW, NOT EVER?
In four or five years, I think that Marsai Martin (Diane from Blackish) and Finn Wolfhard (Mike
from Stranger Things) would be a perfect Elliot and Brandon. Wendell Cheeseman, the professor
in charge of Camp Onward, was written with Paul Scheer (from my all-time favorite podcast,
How Did This Get Made, and TV shows like Fresh Off The Boat and The League) in mind.


                                       NOT NOW, NOT EVER * 5

with melting coconut oil. The air conditioner wasn’t up high enough
to permeate through more than the top layer of my hair. Even with
the streetlamps burning outside the windows, I knew it would still
be almost ninety degrees outside. I took a long sip of my lemonade.
    Sid’s biceps gave an unconscious flex. “They couldn’t have picked
something useful for you to do with your vacation?”
    “No,” I said. The truth came out cool and clean against my lips.
    “They really couldn’t have.”

When we perfect commercial time travel, everyone in the past is
going to be pissed at us. It’s not only that their quiet, sepia-toned
lives will be inundated with loud-mouthed giants. And it’s not even
the issue that language is a living organism, so all communication
will be way more problematic than anyone ever thinks about.
    It’s jet packs.
    At some point, someone is going to ask about jet packs, and no
amount of bragging about clean water and vaccines and free Wi-Fi
will be able to distract them. Even if you went back before the In-
dustrial Revolution, someone is going to want to know if we’ve all
made ourselves pairs of Icarus wings.
    Defrost Walt Disney and he’ll ask to be put back in the fridge
until Tomorrowland is real. Go back to the eighties and everyone’s
going to want to know about hoverboards.
    Hell, go back to yesterday, find your own best friend, and they’d
still ask, “Tomorrow’s the day we get flying cars, right?”
    People want miracles. They want magic. They want to freak-
ing fly.
    Unrelated: Did you know that crossing state lines on a train is
pretty much the most boring and uncomfortable thing ever?
    Despite sounding vaguely poetic, the midnight train to Oregon
wasn’t much for scenery. Unfortunately, running away tends to work
best in the middle of the night, especially when one’s cousins have
a curfew to make and can’t wait on the platform with you.

                                         6 * LILY ANDERSON

    Twelve hours, two protein bars, and one sunrise later, the view
was rolling brown fields that turned into dilapidated houses with
collapsing fences and sun-bleached Fisher Price play sets. Appar-
ently, the whole “wrong side of the tracks” thing wasn’t a myth.
Everything the train passed was a real bummer.
    One should always have something sensational to read on the train,
whispered Oscar Wilde, sounding remarkably like my stepmom.
    With my headphones drowning out the screech of the tracks,
I reached into my backpack, pushing past the heavy stack of books
and ziplock bags of half-eaten snacks, to the bottom. Tucked be-
tween the yellowed pages of my battered copy of Starship Troopers
was a folded square of white printer paper. I tried to smooth it over
my leg, but it snapped back into its heavy creases.

    Dear Ever,

    On behalf of Rayevich College and our sister school, the
    Messina Academy for the Gifted, it is my great pleasure to offer
    you a place at Camp Onward. At Onward, you will spend
    three weeks learning alongside forty-seven other accomplished
    high school students from all over the West Coast as you
    prepare for the annual Tarrasch Melee. The winners of the
    Melee will be granted a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to
    Rayevich College . . .

    The page was starting to wear thin in the corners from my fin-
gers digging into it whenever it stopped feeling real enough. The
packing list that had once been stapled to it was even worse off, high-
lighted and checkmarked and underlined. I’d had to put that one
inside of an N. K. Jemisin hardcover so that the extra weight could
smash it flat.
    I ran my thumb over the salutation again. Dear Ever.
    I shivered, remembering how my hands had trembled as I’d read
those words for the first time, stamped to the front of an envelope

                                       NOT NOW, NOT EVER * 7

with the Rayevich seal in the corner. It meant that everything had
worked. It meant that freedom was as simple as a checked box on
an Internet application.
    The train lurched to a stop. I shoved the note back inside of Star-
ship Troopers and popped out my headphones just in time to hear
the conductor’s garbled voice say, “Eugene station.”
    I staggered down to the platform, my laptop case and my back-
pack weighing me down like uneven scales. I sucked in fresh air,
not even caring that it tasted like cement and train exhaust. It was
cooler here than it was back home. California asphalt held in heat
and let it off in dry, tar-scented bursts.
    Oregon had a breeze. And pine trees. Towering evergreens that
could have bullied a Christmas tree into giving up its lunch money.
We didn’t get evergreens like that at home. My neighborhood was
lined in decorative suburban foliage. By the time I got back, our oak
tree would be starting to think about shedding its sticky leaves on
the windshield of my car.
    As a new wave of passengers stomped onto the train, I retrieved
the massive rolling suitcase that Beth had ordered off of the Inter-
net for me. It was big enough to hold a small person, as my brother
had discovered when he’d decided to use it to sled down the stairs.
    I’d miss that little bug.
    There were clusters of people scattered across the platform,
some shouting to each other over the dull roar of the engine. I
watched an old woman press two small children into her bosom and
a hipster couple start groping each other’s cardigans.
    In the shade of the ticket building, a light-skinned black guy had
his head bowed over his cell phone. His hair was shorn down to his
scalp, leaving a dappling of curl seedlings perfectly edged around
his warm brown temples. He was older than I was, definitely college
age. He had that finished look, like he’d grown into his shoulders
and gotten cozy with them. A yellow lanyard was swinging across
the big green D emblazoned on his T-shirt.
    “Hey,” I called to him, rolling my suitcase behind me. My laptop

                                        8 * LILY ANDERSON

case swayed across my stomach in tandem with my backpack scrap-
ing over my spine, making it hard not to waddle. “Are you from
    The guy looked up, startled, and shoved his phone into the pocket
of his jeans. He swept forward, remembering to smile a minute too
late. All of his white teeth gleamed in the sunshine.
    “Are you Ever?” His smile didn’t waver, but I could feel him
processing my appearance. Big, natural hair, baggy Warriors
T-shirt, cutoff shorts, clean Jordans. Taller than him by at least two
    “Yeah,” I said. And then, to take some of the pressure off, “You
were looking for a white girl, right?”
    His smile went dimply in the corners, too sincere to be pervy.
“I’m happy to be wrong.”
    “Ever Lawrence,” I said, hoping that I’d practiced it enough that
it didn’t clunk out of my mouth. It was strange having so few sylla-
bles to get through. Elliot Gabaroche was always a lot to dump on
another human being.
    “Cornell Aaron,” the college boy said, sticking his hand out. He
had fingers like my father’s, tapered, with clean, round nails. I spent
the firm two-pump handshake wondering if he also got no-polish
manicures. “I’ll be one of your counselors at Onward. It’s a quick
drive from here.”
    He took the handle of my suitcase without preamble and led
the way toward the parking lot. I followed, my pulse leaping in the
same two syllables that had wriggled between the folds of my
brain and stamped out of my shoes and pumped through my veins
for months.
    It was a stupid thing to drive you crazy, but here I was: running
away from home in the name of Oscar Wilde.

Copyright © 2017 by Lily Anderson and reprinted by permission of Wednesday Books.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday {25}

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, Hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating. 

The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily
Laura Creedle
Publication Date:
December 26th, 2017
                      HMH Books for Young Readers

Summary from Goodreads:
When Lily Michaels-Ryan ditches her ADHD meds and lands in detention with Abelard, who has Asperger’s, she’s intrigued—Abelard seems thirty seconds behind, while she feels thirty seconds ahead. It doesn't hurt that he’s brilliant and beautiful.

When Abelard posts a quote from The Letters of Abelard and Heloise online, their mutual affinity for ancient love letters connects them. The two fall for each other. Hard. But is it enough to bridge their differences in person?

This hilarious, heartbreaking story of human connection between two neurodivergent teens creates characters that will stay with you long after you finish reading.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Blitz | Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick

Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick
Published by Swerve on November 14, 2017
Genres: Romance, Historical, Fiction 
Series: The Pennington Family - Book 1
Pages: 300

In this stunning series starter by USA Today bestselling author May McGoldrick, meet the new generation of Penningtons...five brothers and sisters of passion and privilege. Enter their aristocratic world…where each will fight injustice and find love.

Hugh Pennington—Viscount Greysteil, Lord Justice of the Scottish Courts, hero of the Napoleonic wars—is a grieving widower with a death wish. When he receives an expected crate from the continent, he is shocked to find a nearly dead woman inside. Her identity is unknown, and the handful of American coins and the precious diamond sown into her dress only deepen the mystery.

Grace Ware is an enemy to the English crown. Her father, an Irish military commander of Napoleon’s defeated army. Her mother, an exiled Scottish Jacobite. When Grace took shelter in a warehouse, running from her father’s murderers through the harbor alleyways of Antwerp, she never anticipated bad luck to deposit her at the home of an aristocrat in the Scottish Borders. Baronsford is the last place she could expect to find safety, and Grace feigns a loss of memory to buy herself time while she recovers.

Hugh is taken by her beauty, passion, and courage to challenge his beliefs and open his mind. Grace finds in him a wounded man of honor, proud but compassionate. When their duel of wits quickly turns to passion and romance, Grace’s fears begin to dissolve…until danger follows her to the very doors of Baronsford. For, unknown to either of them, Grace has in her possession a secret that will wreak havoc within the British government. Friend and foe are indistinguishable as lethal forces converge to tear the two lovers apart or destroy them both.

Buy Links:

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Looking the shipping crate over for damage and seeing none, he retrieved an iron crow from a workbench. Jo was standing inside the doors, eyeing the box doubtfully from a safe distance. 

“Come closer. It won’t bite.” 

“Not a chance. From the smell of that thing, a person would think you’re importing cadavers. Have you also taken up being a Resurrectionist as a hobby?” 

He patted the crate affectionately. “This sweet thing has been sitting in the bowels of a ship from Antwerp. You know what the hold of a ship smells like?” 

“Actually, I don’t.” She held a handkerchief to her nose and drew closer. “But I think you’re correct with the reference to ‘bowels.’” 

Hugh took the first nail out. “Well, stand back, since you’ve become so prissy. Though I recall a younger version of you leading the rest of us through bogs and marshes that smelled no better.” 

“Of course! But as I recall, we had frogs and turtles and the occasional dragon that needed hunting,” she replied with a smile. “Very well. Open it and let’s see this treasure of yours.” 

Prying off the top took him only a moment. Throwing it to the side, he pulled back the tarp that covered the basket and then stared curiously at the dark green rags bundled at the bottom. 

Leaning in, Hugh’s enthusiasm evaporated as a horrid realization settled in. This was no pile of old clothing. A shock of blond hair. A shoe. A hand. The body of a dead woman lay curled up in the gondola. 

“Bloody hell.” 

“What is it?” Immediately, Jo was at his side. “Good God!” 

Hugh climbed in and crouched beside the body. He took her hand. She was cold to the touch. His heart sank. The crate had been shipped from Antwerp. To be trapped for so many days with no water, no food, in the cold and damp of the ship’s hold. He had no idea who this woman was or how she came to be in here. 

The thought struck him. Perhaps it wasn’t an inadvertent act. Perhaps she was murdered and her body had been dumped into the crate. 

Dismay and alarm clawed at him as he pushed away the matted ringlets of golden hair. She was young. He lifted her chin. The body had none of the stiffness of postmortem. He stared at her lips. He may have imagined it but they seemed to have moved. 

“Bright . . .” The whisper was a mere rustle of leaves in a breeze. 

The fingers jerked and came to life, clutching at his hand. 

“She’s not dead,” he called to Jo, relieved. “Send for the doctor. I’ll take her to the house.” 

His sister ran out, calling for help, and he lifted the woman. She emitted a low groan. Her limbs had been locked in the same cramped position for so many days. Hugh propped her over the side of the gondola. 

“Stay with me,” he encouraged. “Talk to me.” 

Holding the woman in place, he clambered from the basket and then gently lifted her out, cradling her in his arms. She weighed next to nothing. 

As they went out into the rain, he feared she was about to die. The exertion of trying to breathe showed on her face. He’d seen this on the battlefield. The final effort before death. 

Starting up the path, he stumbled, not realizing the woman’s skirts were dragging on the ground. He staggered but caught himself before they went down. Her head lolled against his chest, her face gray and mask-like. She appeared to be slipping away. It would be a shame that she’d survived the crossing only to perish now. 

A dagger point of anger pierced Hugh’s brain as he recalled another dismal day when he’d lifted two other bodies, wrapped in burial shrouds, from a wooden box. 

“Talk to me,” he ordered. “Say something.” 

As he made his way up the hill toward the house, a bolt of lightning streaked across the sky above Baronsford. Thunder shook the ground and the sky opened, unleashing fierce torrents of rain on them. 

His wife. His son. Hugh hadn’t been there for them. They’d died as he and the British army were being chased by the French across Spain. He’d been trying to save his men’s lives, not knowing that those most precious to him were suffering. 

“You’ve survived a horrifying ordeal. Give me the chance to save you.” 

The woman struggled weakly in Hugh’s arms, and her head tipped back. He watched as her lips parted, welcoming the wetness of the falling rain. 

“We’re almost there.” 

“Bright . . .” she murmured. 

He looked into her face and saw she was trying hard to open her eyes. 

“Yes, brighter than that crate,” he said, encouraged by her effort. Any movement, however small, gave him hope. “And you’ve been in there for Lord knows how long.”

 Copyright © 2017 by May McGoldrick and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

About The Author:

Authors Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick (writing as May McGoldrick) weave emotionally satisfying tales of love and danger. Publishing under the names of May McGoldrick and Jan Coffey, these authors have written more than thirty novels and works of nonfiction for Penguin Random House, Mira, HarperCollins, Entangled, and Heinemann. Nikoo, an engineer, also conducts frequent workshops on writing and publishing and serves as a Resident Author. Jim holds a Ph.D. in Medieval and Renaissance literature and teaches English in northwestern Connecticut. They are the authors of Much Ado About Highlanders, Taming the Highlander, and Tempest in the Highlands with SMP Swerve.

    Author Links