Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

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“Is it weird that this roomful of straight men is fighting over Reid and not me?”

My Favorite-Half Night Stand by Christina Lauren is a funny romance book that follows Millie and Reid as they navigate their new friends with benefits relationship while trying online dating for the first time.

Isis has read and reviewed a couple Cristina Lauren books before, but I never had a real interest before. Romance is typically not a genre I reach for. But for the month of February my book club wanted a romance and My Favorite-Half Night Stand was the winner of the poll we always hold. And I have to say, it was a lot of fun.

I think my favorite aspect of the book wasn’t even the romance, which I have to admit, was very cute. But the whole friend group Millie and Reid had was so funny and supportive. I even was wishing Christina Lauren would write companion novels of Alex, Chris, and Ed (my fav) each receiving their own romance. Not gonna happen, but it would have been great I tell you.

All the characters were really fleshed out and I personally loved Millie’s character arc. There’s family involvement too which I always love. There might be a bit of a stretch since they are five  good looking, successful, single teachers who get tenure (at least that’s what the women at my book club commented on),  but for me that was easy to ignore. I have seen other reviews complain about how the characters who dumb to online dating as well, but since I’ve never online dated, that also never bothered me.

Overall, it was a fun, fast read. I think in the future when I get into a slump or simply want a lighter read, I would pick up another book by Christina Lauren. 

4 stars

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Book Reviews, Uncategorized

No Exit by Taylor Adams

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Inhale. Count to five. Exhale. Forward motion.

No Exit by Taylor Adams is a thriller that has been re-released this year. I’m not sure why it was repackaged. I know they took out one email that was in the book which I think was a smart move because it gave too much away. Other than that, not sure what reasoning was behind it. I just know it caused a lot of confusion with readers.

But onto what the book is actually about. Darby, an over caffeinated college student, is trying to race against a blizzard to see her dying mother. But when she gets stuck at a rest stop overnight, her entire world changes. Because she sees a child locked in a cage in the back of a stranger’s van.

Trigger Warnings: Child Kidnapping, Violence, Racist Comments, Sex Trafficking

The story is fast paced and full of twists. I won’t lie, the first fifty or so pages I was iffy about this novel. But the second that first twist was revealed, I was hooked, and I could not stop reading that night until I finished.

I was riveted the whole time trying to figure out what Darby was going to do, and what the outcome would end up being. She was such a great, smart character. And the villains were equally unpredictable and smart.  It was like watching a game of chess unfold when you don’t know the rules of chess.

There was a lot of incidences that kept me from being into the story completely. A lot of inconsistencies and situations that were stretched on a little too long. I can’t say exactly what because it would ruin some the story lines, but they are the  reasons why this isn’t a full five stars (or flowers).

4 stars

 

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

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People are motivated to break their moral compasses for a variety of primal reasons: survival, hate, love, envy, passion. And money.

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen is an adult thriller revolving around a study about ethics that then proceeds to change the life of one subject in particular forever. Not everything is as it seems, and the story truly starts to fuck with your head as it continues to unfold. 

One perspective is Jess, a poor makeup artist that wants to help her family. The other perspective is Dr. Shields, the mysterious psychologist providing the study that Jess signs up for.  Both are interesting, complex characters that I always wondered what their next move would be. 

Trigger Warnings: Sexual Assault, Suicide

I loved how unsettling this was. It kept me up late in the night guessing about what would happen next. Some of the twists were unexpected, and I love how everything was wrapped up.

This is apparently this duos second thriller, and I know I must get my hands on the first, The Wife Between Us, as soon as possible. 

5 stars

 

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a Young Adult contemporary that had taken the world by storm since it’s debut in 2017. It has been nominated several times for awards, and won a lot of them. It’s become a movie, and is being taught in schools. Multiple people have tried to get it banned, and it’s been on my radar since the book deal was announced. It took me this long to read it for no good reason other than I knew it was going to be sad and good and put it off for a long time. But finally I’ve read it and I’m so glad I have. 

The Hate U Give follows Starr, a sixteen year old girl who lives in the ghetto but goes to a mostly white prep school. One day she witnesses her friend gets murdered by the police, and the story follows the fall out from that. Throughout the novel, Starr struggles to find out her place in the world and to find her voice even when situations are scary.

It’s a beautifully written book. All of the characters are well rounded, and the world is fleshed out so that Garden Heights feels just like the real world. The family dynamics are great, and the issues the book tackles are so important and well talked about. 

This book is wonderful on its own, but what makes it so special is the discussions that can be had when reading it with other people. I read this with my aunt, who has sided with the police in the past, and we had the calmest discussion about racism and police brutality, which honestly shocked me. She said it really opened her eyes, and I love this book for that.

All in all, this is not over-hyped.  It’s a must read for everyone, and I’m so glad that schools are teaching it. 

5 stars

Lists, Uncategorized

Most Anticipated Books of 2019

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A new year means a ton new books being published. So we whipped up a list of books we are most excited for. And tell us what books are coming out that you need to read! Are they the same as ours? Or are we in desperate need of hearing about more books? Tell us in the comments below.

Isis:

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99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Expected publication: January 29th
She wrote The Hating Game which I loved, so I’m super excited about this book. I have no idea what it’s about, but I don’t care.

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Shadow Me by Tahereh Mafi
Expected publication: March 5th 
I need more Shatter Me books and this one is from Kenji’s POV so I’m sure it won’t disappoint. 
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Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi

Expected publication: April 2nd
I just need more Warner in my life. 
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Again, But Better by Christine Riccio

Expected publication: May 7th
I’ve been following Christine’s channel on YouTube for a long time. I’m so excited to read her first novel. I’m sure it’ll be great.
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Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
Expected publication: 2019
While I didn’t love Carry On, I’m always up for good m/m romance.
Nicole:
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An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Expected publication: January 8th
All I know is this is a thriller focused on women doing a psychology study which is kind of what what of my own books is about so I am all in. Isis was able to get me a couple of this already and I’m excited to pick it up.
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The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Expected publication: January 8th
I saw this cover on Twitter one day, and that’s all I need to want to read it.
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The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Expected publication: January 15th
Historical Paris with magic? Sign me up! I don’t think I’ve ever read Chokshi’s work before, and I’m excited to pick this one up because I’ve never seen a bad review about any of her books.
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Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
Expected publication: January 15th
I need to read everything Rick Riordan Presents puts out so obviously I have to read this one.
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On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
Expected publication: February 5th
This one is about a young girl hoping to become a rapper. I think it’ll be really interesting since I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about a rapper.
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The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
Expected publication: February 5th
A girl suffering from OCD must find her mother during the race riots of 1969 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I have no doubt this will be an amazing debut. Just look at that cover.
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Game of Stars by Sayantani Dasgupta
Expected publication: February 26th
The first book was in my favorites of 2018 so of course I’m looking forward to it’s sequel.
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Internment by Samira Ahmed
Expected publication: March 19th
This one is about a possible near future where Muslims are forced into concentration camps. I don’t think this will be a fun read but a necessary one.
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You Owe Me A Murder by Eileen Cook
Expected publication: March 5th
I’ve been getting more into thrillers and this one sounds insane. It’s about two girls murdering for each other.
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The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
Expected publication: May 14th
I saw this cover and knew I needed to read it. All I know is it is a YA fantasy, and I don’t need to know more.
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Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Expected publication: July 9th
A feminist Lord of the Flies with the most beautiful cover I’ve ever seen? I’m so excited for this debut.
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The Escape Room by Megan Goldin
Expected publication: August 6th
A corporate team has to do team building in an escape room and dark secrets come out. I’m so excited for this.
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Daddy by Robyn Harding
Expected publication: August 20th
Sugar daddies and murder sounds like it will be a wild ride that I can’t wait to get on.
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Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega
Expected publication: 2019
This is described as Coco meets Stranger Things so I would have wanted it anyway. But I discovered Ortega on Twitter through PitMad when she was talking about her 80s punk witch book and I knew she was someone I needed to follow because she was going to be a new favorite author whenever she gets published. I’m so excited it’s finally happening!
Book Recommendations, Book Tag, Lists, Uncategorized

Our Favorite Books of 2018

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Usually I would have had this up on the last day of December but I’ve been sick so it’s a little behind. But here are our favorite books that we have read in the past year!

 

Isis:

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Autoboyography by Christina Lauren 

This books started me off on a really positive note for the year. I read it while I was struggling with my mental health and it helped me get out of the hole where I felt I was buried. It’s such a good book about sexuality and religion and how the two can coexist. 

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The Long Walk by Stephen King 

When I finished this book I wanted to cry. I didn’t know what to do because I instantly missed it. This book made me so upset but also so happy. I loved so many of the characters and I felt so attached to their lives and their stories. I’ll never forget this book. 

 

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Turtles All The Way Down by John Green 

I related so much with the characters in this book. This is one of my favorite John Green books. I loved the representation of a character with anxiety and OCD. It was quite a ride. 

 

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Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi

I was really happy with the continuation of the Shatter Me series. It wasn’t perfect at all, but I got to read it alongside my friends and discuss it and that made it so much better. Also, any book with Warner is an awesome book. 

 

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne 

This is one of the best rom-com books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It made me love the enemies to lovers scenario and it’s something I still can’t move on from. I loved the characters and the way they fell in love in the most unconventional ways. 

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Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram 

This book was so touching and so heart-warming. I loved the representation of depression and Iranian and Persian culture. It was such a sweet book overall. I wanted to keep reading it even after it was over. 

 

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A Sucky Love Story: Overcoming Unhappily Ever After by Brittani Louise Taylor

 This was a really great book. It was insane from start to finish but I couldn’t get enough of it. Brittani’s love story is quite sucky, but she did overcome some of the worst things a person could go through. 

 

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Riding With Brighton by Haven Francis 

I loved this coming of age story. It’s also a coming out story. The characters were lovely and so was the romance. It was one of those feel good stories that I know will always be there when I need a pick me up. 

 

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Fence Vol. 1 by C.S. Pacat 

This was an amazing start of this series. It totally blew me away. I loved the setting, the characters, and their stories. I can sense a very nice romantic build up between the main characters and it’s awesome. I can’t wait to continue with the series. 

 

Nicole:

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The Assassin’s Curse duology by Cassandra Rose Clark

These two belong together since really they should have been one book. These were my first two reads last year, and I love them so much. The pirates and the magic are everything I love about fantasy. And it has one of my favorite romances of all time.

 

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The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta 

This is the perfect start to a new middle grade fantasy series. It was so fast and funny and simply had everything that I love in a book with the added greatness of Indian rep that I hadn’t seen before.

 

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The Clocktaur War duology by T. Kingfisher

Again I have to put these two together since they should have been one book. This series made me laugh, made me cry, and made me stay up way too late in suspense. It’s one of those books I wish I could erase just so I can read it again for the first time. The lovely characters are some of my favorites of all time, and the romance was so sweet and realistic.

 

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The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

I did not expect much when I first picked up this book. So to have it as one of my favorites of the year is amazing to me. But this is such a hidden gem of a book about being true to yourself and your friends. With the best romance. I almost wrote fanfiction about this book when I finished it simply because I was not ready to leave the characters just yet.

 

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Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

My absolute favorite book of the year also happens to have the best cover. Witches, zombies, female friendship, and fat rep? There was nothing that could make me dislike this book, but Anderson knocked it out of the park. Everyone needs to read this book.

Personal, Uncategorized, Writing Projects

Writing Update: Listening to My Gut

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It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about my writing. With it being NaNoWriMo  and me semi attempting to do that, I figured why not write about my writing? Especially since I have no book reviews to post because of it.

So I have started a new project about an all women magical pirate crew. It’s a story that’s been in head for about a year though I’ve never worked on it before this month. I always wanted to practice writing more, do research, make outlines and aesthetics and character profiles. And then I got an idea for it and said fuck it. I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote out the first page because I didn’t have my computer at the time.

I didn’t know anything about my story other than what I mentioned here. I decided my character’s name and the plot right there on the spot, and the first time in a long time I had fun while writing. Before I couldn’t help being overwhelmed with anxiety about word choice and what people would think and outlines and profiles and research. But I was actually making it all up on the spot and loving the story and not thinking about anyone reading except myself and making me happy.

After that, I decided to continue with it. I got a navy blue notebook with a gold whale on it (I love matching notebooks with the story) and I decided to continue handwriting. I usually struggle a lot with typing on the computer, but I usually still use that as a main writing source with only sometimes using a notebook for a particularly hard scene. A computer is simply the proper way to write a book right? Not this time. I decided to go with my gut and continued handwriting everything.

No other story has flowed out so easily for me. I wrote out ten pages in a single day. I’ve never been that productive ever. Typically I can get maybe five hundred words in a day which I would guess would be a page and a half in handwriting. 

It has been amazing how shedding the conventional writing advice (using a computer, character profiles, outlines) has actually helped me. The outline especially surprises me. I have always needed an outline before. But even with no knowledge about this world doesn’t stop me. If I don’t know a name for a place I put [City Name] and continue on like that. 

I’m curious about how others have dealt with this if they’ve even dealt with it at all. Do any of you have trouble with going against the norm to find out your own path? How do you deal with it? This seems like such a small struggle, but actually listening to myself and what works for me has been my hardest hurdle in writing (and life honestly).