Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-ÍyímídéExpected Release: June 1, 2021
Verdict: lots of heavy topics combined with an intense drama/mystery that draws you deeper with every page

Recommended: YUP
For a high school drama that turns into a mystery that turns into an actual oh-sh*t situation, for a story of friendship and identity and isolation and trust and race, for a story where you get halfway through and wonder how it could get any more intense

Summary

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

Thoughts

YEAH y’all, my overall advice is that if you read the blurb and think you might be interested? Just read it — it will probably go well. I don’t see how this could disappoint. The twists are many, and the level of mystery and secrets and intrigue is like Agatha Christia / Hercule Poirot level. I felt like a detective, trying to isolate all the clues and variables and figure out the who-dunnit mystery of it all. The story evolves into way more than that, though.

Devon and Chiamaka are both pretty comfortable with their sexuality, even as they learn more about themselves and what they like, want, need. It’s obviously a large part of the impact on Devon, as he’s forcibly outed in the first chapter and fears the repercussions from his homophobic neighborhood if the news spreads. Taking a turn into darker waters, though, both Chiamaka and Devon have much heavier events hidden in their past.

Race, trust, sexual identity…. this book is full of topics, but it’s also couched in this drama and mystery that realy sucked me in. I loved both aspects of it, and devoured this book in two days. It was that whole thing where you stay up super late because you’re so close and you just have to finish it! Any time my S.O. interrupted to ask a question, or we needed to do some chores, I was heaving a big sigh and very reluctantly putting it down.

Read the book.

Thanks to Bookishfirst and MacMillan for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

The astonishing half-block library in NYC

I’ve only spent about a day and a half in New York City, despite living pretty close to it my whole life. I’ll probably go back some time, if only for the sheer number of libraries that I didn’t visit and absolutely should have. This is one of them:

The Morgan Library

LOOOOOK AT IT!!!! 😍 Image courtesy of Conde Nast Traveler

This library in Manhattan started as a super rich financial mogul’s personal library, but was made public according to the guy’s will after he died. PS — dude was JP Morgan, of the company JP Morgan, if that rings any bells. SUPER RICH DUDE.

Since aforementioned dude was super rich, the library is ENORMOUS. It takes up about a half block of the city, and I’m not sure exactly how big that is, but it’s big.

They have some really cool items in the collection. Not only are there rare and first edition books (like Gutenberg Bibles and the draft of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol), but they also have paintings, sculptures, and even notes and drafts from musicians.

Always remember to look up!!! Courtesy of wikimedia commons
I legitimately cannot fathom how enormous the tapestry covering the left wall is.
the poshest sitting room ever. SO. MUCH. VELVET.
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Notorious by Minerva Spencer!

Just a reminder that Notorious by Minerva Spencer released today! Check out the full review here or grab your own copy.

Recommended: sure
For a feminist regency romance, for a bit of cultural/religious tension as well, a drawn-out enemies-to-lovers by force plot

Summary

Drusilla Clare is full of opinions about why a woman shouldn’t marry. But that doesn’t stop the rush of desire she feels each time her best friend’s brother, notorious rake Gabriel Marlington, crosses her path. So imagine her dismay when she finds herself in the clutches of a scoundrel, only to be rescued by Gabriel himself. And when Gabriel’s heartless—and heart-pounding—proposal comes, it’s enough to make Dru’s formidable resolve crumble. She’s sharp-tongued, exasperating—and due to one careless moment—about to become his wife. Still, something about Drusilla has Gabriel intrigued. First there’s the delicious flush of her skin every time she delivers a barb—and then the surprisingly sensual feel of her in his arms. Gabriel even finds himself challenged by her unusual philosophies. And when he discovers a clandestine rival for Dru’s affection, his temperature flares even hotter. But the real threat to their happiness is one neither of the newlyweds sees coming. If they’re to save their future—and their very lives—they’ll need to trust in each other and their growing love.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Notorious by Minerva Spencer

Notorious by Minerva SpencerExpected Release on November 24, 2020!
Verdict: a fun sexual-tension kind of romance with hints of deeper issues of culture, love, family, etc.

Recommended: sure
For a feminist regency romance, for a bit of cultural/religious tension as well, a drawn-out enemies-to-lovers by force plot

Summary

Drusilla Clare is full of opinions about why a woman shouldn’t marry. But that doesn’t stop the rush of desire she feels each time her best friend’s brother, notorious rake Gabriel Marlington, crosses her path. So imagine her dismay when she finds herself in the clutches of a scoundrel, only to be rescued by Gabriel himself. And when Gabriel’s heartless—and heart-pounding—proposal comes, it’s enough to make Dru’s formidable resolve crumble. She’s sharp-tongued, exasperating—and due to one careless moment—about to become his wife. Still, something about Drusilla has Gabriel intrigued. First there’s the delicious flush of her skin every time she delivers a barb—and then the surprisingly sensual feel of her in his arms. Gabriel even finds himself challenged by her unusual philosophies. And when he discovers a clandestine rival for Dru’s affection, his temperature flares even hotter. But the real threat to their happiness is one neither of the newlyweds sees coming. If they’re to save their future—and their very lives—they’ll need to trust in each other and their growing love.

Thoughts

I haven’t read much of this genre, but this felt like a good introduction! It was a little more complex than I expected. I figured we would have the standard timeline:
– something “scandalous” happens and the only clear solution is… marry
– they end up really into each other and sparks fly
– maybe some kind of family drama or brief misunderstanding
– and then they’re happy again

I mean… that is mostly what happens. But! There was more to it that I enjoyed.

Continue reading “Review: Notorious by Minerva Spencer”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

November 2020 TBR: obligations and explorations

Hey y’all!

I’ve got a plan again this month for what I’ll read. These plans are sometimes a bit silly though, because by the time I write this post to share it, I’ve usually already finished a few of them. 😂 Today is no different, but I’ll include the books here anyway as I’m excited about them! It’s a tidy planned set of nine this month. 😊

The best obligations

These books are each ones I’m reading for A Reason Not Only My Own. I mean, to be real, I’m still the one deciding and benefiting here, but they’re in the list for more than just “I wanted to” reasons!

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson is one that I already finished because I couldn’t resist plowing through it once I had started. I went in somehwat blind from a recommendation from my friend Elise (thanks again!), and WOW was this a fabulous recommendation! I really love it, as you can see in my review. 🙂

Continue reading “November 2020 TBR: obligations and explorations”
Posted in Reviews

Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Expected Release: September 15, 2020
And I don’t usually read space stories.

And this one was everything I’d hoped and more!!!

Recommended: yessss
for big book aficionados, for a story that takes its time in unfolding, for a plot that weaves in and out and around until you’re entirely surrounded in it, for adult Paolini goodness that shows how much he’s grown as an author

Summary:
During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .

Thoughts:
The elephant in the room is actually the book itself, because it’s about as big as an elephant. It’s about 820 pages of story, with another 50 or so pages of addenda at the end. Yes, if you decide to commit to this book, you need to really be ready to commit to this book.

And the obvious followup question is if it’s worth it. To that, I would say definitely yes, but there will probably be times when reading where it doesn’t feel it. This was a strange experience where every time I read the book, I loved it and couldn’t wait for more. But in between sessions, I almost grimaced at the thought of picking it back up again because I had been reading it for so long already! I think this is ultimately a personal issue, which I navigated by reading a few shorter books of other genres during the month-ish time that I tackled TSIASOS. If you’re the same, have a plan going in.

Continue reading “Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini”
Posted in Chatty

Bookishfirst luck…maybe?

I recently signed up for (yet another) book community / ARC site called Bookishfirst. It’s run by NetGalley but works a little differently. On NetGalley, anyone can request books that are available, and then the publisher reviews each requestor and decides if they want to give them a digital advance copy to review. On Bookishfirst, there are only a few books available each week, but anyone can enter by reading a section of the book and leaving a short blurb about what they thought. Up to 100 people are then selected to receive a full copy of the book to review (often in print).

And seriously, who can resist that vibrant cover?

I recently did my first blurb review for a book called “The Kinder Posion.” A girl who can talk to animals? Swoon. And that’s just a tiny aspect of it so far in a delicious new world of magic. I absolutely loved it, to the point where I forgot I didn’t actually have the entire book to read. When I got to the last page of the selection, I frowned and kept trying to turn to the next page, thinking something was wrong with my reading app because it wouldn’t let me. …Eventually I did realize that it was just the end of the selection they gave. 😂

With a little luck of the Irish, I checked my profile this morning to see what books were coming up next week and happened to see this little unexpected gem:

UHHHH WHAT?! 😁😎😍😄

And yes, it’s that book I was so excited to read. What amazing luck! I think? I’m not actually sure what the ratios usually are for these. I have no idea how many people use the platform, or how many on average usually enter the raffle (as you can leave a blurb but choose not to enter if you didn’t like the story), or how many people usually win each raffle.

So really, I have no idea if this WAS lucky, or if this is actually pretty common. Either way I’m thrilled to get a copy of this amazing magical story come early-May.

PS – if you want to sign up for Bookishfirst as well and see if you get lucky, feel free to use my referral code to get 100 bonus points when you sign up. You use points to claim for-sure copies of books you’re interested in and skip the chances of a raffle, so the more points the better! 🙂

Bookishfirst Referral Code: b0fba8d82506fa393