From Blood and Ash – Jennifer L. Armentrout

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published March 30th 2020

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.


Ok well, I wasn’t expecting to start my year off with a read like this, but I did. I decided I wanted to get myself to try and read one book a week. And damn it, I read this book like I was getting paid to do it. I finished it SO QUICKLY. I couldn’t put it down. I have been asked to read Jennifer L. Armentrout books for a while, and none of them really spoke to me (SORRY JLA!) but this one, after reading this I would roam the earth recommending this author to people.

I felt like this book was like seeing an old friend after being apart for a long time. It just felt like the right read, and it was somehow reading a favorite book I had set aside for a very long time. The writing was so smooth, approachable, and just the flow of everything worked and felt familiar, it made it so easy for me to get lost in this book for hours on end. And I know sometimes reading a book you have to read it at the right time to really strike a good rapport with a book, let alone a 600+ page book that’s you’re first read of 2021 coming out of a slump. 

There are a few small things I have to get off my chest though…as much as I’d hate to. I was getting a bit antsy at the beginning of this book to really get moving with some sort of catalyst. It took a while to really get things moving plot wise, and as much as I love how strong Poppy is, witty Hawke is, loving Tawny and protective Vikter are, there’s only so much of that content I could absorb. I also felt like it got a bit repetitive with all the Maiden stuff and what it was like being the Maiden day to day and the sneaking out. I was beginning to get bored, and then BAM! COMING IN WWITH THE SECOND ACT. The book really rose to the occasion of a stellar read at about 25% I’d say. So if you’re struggling with this read I BEG YOU to tough it out and wait because it’s so worth it. 

My small tiny other piece that kind of made me go “oh bummer” was, I’m not sure if I just have really good deduction skills or figuring out plot twists, but I knew it all along. I won’t spoil, but I knew the twist the whole time. Not sure if it was supposed to be that obvious, but I figured it out and it made the reveal really anti-climactic for me. But that’s not to say that it wasn’t a great plot twist. But it just was a bummer that I had already put the clues together to figure it out so early on. 

Everything else in this book really worked for me. The romance was steamy and amazing (probably some of my favorite steamy scenes I’ve read from an author) and I just loved the progression of Poppy and Hawke’s relationship through the book. I loved Poppy as a main character. A strong-willed, strong bodied, smart woman suppressed to be this quiet, submissive “chosen one”, and as much as that can sometimes be a trope, I feel like JLA wrote Poppy so wonderfully that it didn’t feel like an over done trope or that I’ve read about this character a million times. And I loved that. Poppy felt like such a unique character to me (and I might have some bias towards the name as I’ve always wanted to name a daughter, if I have one Penelope). 

I also feel like I’ve never read anything like Armentrout’s writing before. It felt lyrical, heart-felt, and just some overall strong writing. I literally would feel my heart clench or my stomach drop, and just FELT while reading this which is the best sign of great writing, truly, and the fact that I haven’t had a book do that in a while, I appreciate it so much. This book had almost everything I’ve been looking for in a book and I’m so glad I picked it up. And I want to thank JLA for taking the time to really make an amazing book, I wasn’t expecting it at all. 

On to “A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire”! 

4.75/5 Stars

The Bromance Book Club – Lyssa Kay Adams

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
Published November 5, 2019

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.


I had such high hopes coming into this book, it didn’t sound like any other romance I’d ever read before, so I was really excited to read this. I was hoping that it would be well written, have good pacing, and just keep me hooked. And to be quite honest, it 1,000% delivered.

I was really excited to start reading a book about a married couple. I don’t think there’s enough romance or at least romance that intrigues me enough to pick up that starts with married couples. I’m married with a kid so I feel like I really connected with this book. Especially with some of the struggles that Gavin and Thea went through.  I also absolutely adored the way that Gavin’s teammates and other friends showed up for him especially since he seemed like the wallflower or quiet one of the group, being that myself, I know I don’t open up to many people so it’s hard for friends to notice when something is wrong or how to help in a difficult situation.

Bringing in the book club as a “manual” to help Gavin win back Thea I thought was SUCH a brilliant idea. And I loved the little excerpts of “Courting the Countess” I thought it was a really good way to set up new stages of the book. And I was always looking forward to seeing how Gavin took the book in terms of bringing it to life and how it translated to working back towards a solid relationship with Thea.

I feel like being connected to this book in terms of being a married woman and having the fear of hitting a real hard spot at some point in our relationship (mind you, my husband and I have been married happily for 3 almost 4 wonderful years) just made me connect so hard with what was going on. And made me want to read more and more just to make sure Gavin and Thea ended up working out. I was truly rooting for them.

In the end The Bromance Book Club was pretty addicting, had some really sweet moments, and things that were so real that I feel like I ended up appreciating it more than I would other romances. It was a pretty quick read for me due to just being sucked in. But I have to say, this was probably a top 10 for 2020.

5/5 Stars

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls

Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls
Published : February 11, 2020

A film-obsessed romantic rewrites the script to understand why his “picture-perfect” love story crashed and burned in this wonderfully clever debut.

Ellie had the quizzical eyebrows of Broadcast News-era Holly Hunter and the neon-red hair of Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. At least, that’s what caught Nick’s attention when he met her on the night of 2008’s historic election. A cinema devotee and lover of great love stories, Nick always fancied himself the Tom Hanks of his own romantic comedy, and when sparks flew with Ellie that night, he swiftly cast her as the Meg Ryan of his story. For four blissful years, Nick loved Ellie as much as he loved his job as a film projectionist: wholly, earnestly, cinematically.

But now Ellie has moved out, convinced “the fire’s gone,” and Nick is forced to sift through his memories to figure out where it all went wrong. The fallout from Ellie’s declaration that she “doesn’t love Nick the way she used to” throws him back into recollections of their first night together. Their shared jokes, her wry smile, the “hope” that filled the night air–his memories are as rose-colored as the Hollywood love stories he idealizes.

That night was a perfect meet-cute, yes, but was their romance as destined for a “happily ever after” as he’d thought? Is he really the rom-com hero he believes he’s been? Or did this Harry let his Sally down? Peppered with references to beloved movies, Love, Unscripted explores how even a hopeless romantic can learn that in real life, love isn’t, and shouldn’t be, like what we see in the movies.


Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

So, I really wanted to love this book. It sounded like the perfect little romance, something sweet and great to read, I mean hell even look at the cover. How do you NOT buy this book?! But this book just didn’t do it for me. And to be honest, there’s three timelines going here, and I’ve read plenty of stories that follow through multiple timelines but this just didn’t to it very well. It jumped around so much I couldn’t really keep everything in the right spot in my mind.

This book also felt a bit slow at times to me. So I had some trouble trudging through it and to be quite honest I didn’t really connect to either of the characters which makes reading a book really difficult for me. Although I got through it, it was just kind of meh. Nothing stood out to me and I feel bad because I really wanted to enjoy this book.

2/5 Stars

Send Me Recommendations!

Hello all!
So far 2020 has been a great reading year. I’m three books in, and I’m already starting to see myself re-reading books, and that’s not really what I want from my 2020 reading journey. So I’m opening up my reading time to books you all have loved and are willing to recommend to me! So please comment on this post and I’ll start integrating the books you recommend into my readings!

I’m currently reading through the Stalking Jack The Ripper series, since I loved the first two books, and noticed there were two more I hadn’t read! Not sure how they fell under my radar but, other than that. Absolutely zero plans on what to read for 2020. So flood the comments with your favorite reads!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published June 13, 2017

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means–and what it costs–to face the truth.


I waited for MONTHS, MONTHS for this book to be auto checked-out to me from my library. The anticipation for this book was absolutely insane. I literally yipped when I got the e-mail that it had been auto-checked out for me. I started it right away and it was so great. It wasn’t what I expected at all in the best way possible.

This book was…entrancing, that’s the best way to put it. Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote with such finesse, and managed to write this amazing masterpiece. A piece with these vivid and descriptive flashbacks, I could imagine everything as though I were a fly on the wall in all of Evelyn’s life moments. Not a single second of this book was I confused, or bored, it was all filled with just continuous granules of story crumbs that I just had to devour, I was like a starved animal for more and more as I kept reading.

The exploration of Evelyn and how she brought her self to the top in a white man’s world I feel is something very relevant to today’s world. The way she worked herself into the top, and was so unapologetic for using people and the tactics she used to get to her next steps, it was unlike any character I ever read about. It was actually pretty refreshing to see a woman so ok with being as cutthroat as she was to get what she wanted. And the exploration of her bisexuality, was purely amazing. The relationships she had between both men and women, and how she loved each one of them so differently was something I found to be extremely special. Although it’s hard to not have your favorites be Harry and Celia.

Please pick up this book if you haven’t yet. It’s such a great read, and I’m thrilled that the books I’ve been choosing this year has yet to disappoint.

5/5 Stars

Gypsy King (Tin Gypsy #1) – Devney Perry

Gypsy King (Tin Gypsy #1) by Devney Perry
Published October 29, 2019

The former Tin Gypsy motorcycle club has everyone in Clifton Forge, Montana convinced they’ve locked their clubhouse doors and ripped off their patches. Everyone but Bryce Ryan. There’s more happening at the club’s garage than muscle car restorations and Harley rebuilds. Her instincts are screaming there’s a story—one she’s going to tell.

As the new owner of the small town’s newspaper, Bryce is hungry for more than birth announcements and obituaries. When a woman is brutally killed and all signs point to the Tin Gypsies, Bryce is determined to expose the club and their leader, Kingston “Dash” Slater, as murderers.

Bryce bests Dash match after match, disappointed her rugged and handsome opponent turns out to be an underwhelming adversary. Secrets are exposed. Truths defeat lies. Bryce is poised to win this battle in a landslide.

Then Dash breaks all the rules and tips the scales.

One kiss, and she’s fighting to save more than just her story. She’s fighting to save her heart from the Gypsy King.


This was an alright read. I bit lacking but totally enjoyable. The chemistry between Bryce and King was great. And oh lawdy did I love the chemistry between these two. But as a former president of a MC. I was expecting a bit more out of Dash in terms of being a hard MC Pres, that lifestyle always seems rough and I would think he’d be a bit more closed off, hard around the edges. So I was hoping for a bit more conflict or work between the two main characters before they got together.

All in all it was an entertaining read, it kept me going and I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t anything much to write home about.

2/5 Stars

Say You Still Love Me – K.A. Tucker

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker
Published August 6, 2019

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus, she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group Industries, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counsellors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is not only alive but stronger than ever, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.


OK so, K.A. Tucker is 2 for 2 right now. She’s crushing the romance/contemporary game. I read this almost right after The Simple Wild, and that plus this book, made her an instant read author of mine.

The classic tale of two kids, in love from two completely different sides of life. She came from money, he came from nothing. They leave camp, he never calls and then twenty three years later, they see each other and connect again.

I loved the way this went back and forth from Piper’s 16 year old self and currently her 29 year old self. Piper starts off with almost the perfect life. Next in line to be the VP of her family’s real-estate development company BUT, is working with her ex-fiance, who has the abutting office.  And then a familiar face shows up as she’s leaving the lobby for lunch, and sees Kyle, her teenage love, who never called her back after all those years when her family pulled Piper away from Kyle towards the end of the camp season.

This whole book is just a great show of teenage love, and the story of a reconnected flame. But there is so much more to that. Piper is living with her camp friends which you realize are some great side characters that don’t go unnoticed which I find happens a lot in some books, and I really appreciate K.A. spending the time to really incorporate those side characters.

I don’t want to give too much away, but the issues that arise from past to present, it’s really well done. A good secret that comes up and really just pushes all characters to a new emotional peak. I actually feel like I want to re-read this again. Please pick this up, it’s such a great read.

4/5 Stars

The Light We Lost – Jill Santopolo

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
Published May 9, 2017

He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last?

Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning.

Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts.

 


Well, I knew this heart was going to break my heart into a million pieces and it did. I’ve been reading a lot of romance books this year. Not sure why, but this genre really just swept me up and I find romance books to be my favorite type of read right now. And this book, it wasn’t like anything I’ve read before. The way it was written from Lucy’s POV and how back and for their relationship was in terms of being in and out of love with each other.

I couldn’t get over this book. The rollercoaster of Lucy and Gabe just had so many ups and downs that I just couldn’t stop reading their story. I really suggest this for anyone who loves a great love story and wants something that really evokes strong emotion. I feel like only a very small few books ever made me emote so strongly.

5/5 Stars

Top 5 Books of 2019

I figured I’d do 5 favorite books of 2019 since a lot of others are posting up their favorites of the past year. I ALMOST met my goal of 55 books, Just came shy by 6 books. So without further ado, here are my top 10 of 2019. In no particular order

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
This book is an emotionally hefty one. So if you’re not ready to really ball your eyes out multiple times over lost love, and heartbreak. Then, don’t pick this one up. But it was such a different read for me, and something I couldn’t put down. And the way it was written was just perfection for really pulling out the emotion from the characters and making you just feel something for them.

 

 

 

 

 

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms
I feel like this was probably my underdog book for the year. I didn’t expect much of it but gee whiz did I get roped into it good. It’s such a wonderful read about finding yourself as an adult and really loving who you are with a little romance mixed in. And I loved the plot and it was just a really entertaining read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stopover by T.L. Swan
LET US NOT DENY THAT I READ A TON OF SMUT THIS YEAR. I won’t deny it. BUT this piece. Oh man. This read actually had a decent plot and was really engaging and had just the right amount of steamy-ness in it that I couldn’t get enough, I think I read it 3 times this past year. Unlike some other smutty books, they don’t have much of a plot and they’re just really quick reads about people with this crazy connection doing it. This book was so different, it had ups and downs, relationship building, so much depth put into it, I really enjoyed it.

 

 

 

 

 

The Folk of The Air Trilogy by Holly Black
This has quickly become one of my favorite YA Fantasy series. I didn’t expect to like this from the inside flap description but WAS. I. WRONG. I read all three of these books in 2 days. EXPLAIN how I could do that in 2 days with a full time job, house, dog, husband, and infant? It was JUST that good. There was so much lies and deception and trickery and twist and turns that you couldn’t ever really keep your finger on the pulse, but it just concludes so greatly, and I never wanted it to end, but alas, it quickly became one of my favorite books for 2019 and time.

 

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
I knew from the beginning of this book I was going to enjoy it. And since reading this, K.A. Tucker is an instant read author for me. I will gobble all of her stuff up because she’s a beautiful writer and really makes you want to be where her characters are. After finishing this book I told my husband I wanted to go to Alaska. There was just some sort of magic to this book that made me love it the more I read it. And yes, it’s a tear jerker but you fall in love with all these people, and the story and the place, it’s hard not to absolutely adore this book.

When Dimple Met Rishi (Dimple and Rishi #1) – Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Published August 7, 2018

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.


Ok, so despite how this review sounds, I enjoyed reading this book. I found it continuously moving with a great pace, and was actually entertaining enough that I kept moving through the book. I didn’t enjoy the fact that this book so heavily centered around how Dimple’s parents were pushing her so hard to get married so young. It rubbed me the wrong way, and I’m totally for women who are coming of age to stand up for themselves and take their destiny into their own hands, but my goodness…I feel like that whole part of the book was just done poorly.

No ones parent would push marriage THAT hard. I come from a traditional Greek family and marriage is a huge part of your life’s journey. I wasn’t seriously dating until I was about 22 and when I was 23 was when my mother and grandmother were beginning to ask about getting married. And to be honest, My Big Fat Greek Wedding bothered me for the same reason, but that’s another tangent.

But other than that, I loved the characters. Dimple made me laugh a good amount through the book and I adored Rishi and how sweet he could be. Everything seemed to work so great and I actually enjoy that the book didn’t necessarily give you the ending you expected. It was all really great. I actually have From Twinkle With Love and I plan on picking that up soon.

3/5 Stars