January Wrap-Up: I Read 21 Books This Month + Updates From A College Freshman

Hello everyone!

Wow, I can’t believe I’m doing a wrap-up. The last one I did… was October of 2016. It’s been more than a year! I’m glad to be back though, because I feel like wrap-ups are great ways to kind of organize where you’re at, especially reading-wise. I’m trying to get better on this aspect of my blogging/reading life.


I ended winter break around mid-January and started my second semester of my first year of university! Even though we had the first two days of classes off because of winter (thanks Atlanta weather), I’ve been feeling the stress accumulate since the moment I stepped back on campus. It’s been pretty tough balancing classes, extracurriculars, a new job, and reading/blogging now that I’m back, but hopefully my scheduled posts are enough for the next months! I read a LOT over the break (in case you couldn’t tell).

College is weird because the peer pressure is SO extreme. I recently applied to this club called Consult Your Community because my good sophomore friends were in it, even though the club is business-related and I’m a STEM major. (That interview was sooo nerve-wracking.) I also recently interviewed to become a Sophomore Advisor next year, which is basically like a Resident Advisor but they volunteer to do the work instead of having it as their job. I’m actually pretty excited about this, and helping future first-years! Continue reading


ARC Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory


33815781The Wedding Date
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Release Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…


I adored The Wedding Date and highly recommend it for contemporary readers who like a sweet and heartwarming story of two passionate people who meet each other in the oddest circumstance and find love through it. Alexa was a woman of my heart; she’s confident in her work environment and does her job well, but her love life wasn’t really going anywhere. Drew is the kind of guy to date a girl and break it off with her just when things were going well. They have instant chemistry and find themselves drawn towards the other, despite living across the state of California. Continue reading

SST: Blood and Sand by CV Wyk Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Hello everyone!

If you haven’t heard of Blood and Sand and you’re a fan of fantasies with fierce warriors and cunning women, where have you been? We’re traveling back to the Roman Republic, during an age of “to conquer or be conquered” and exploring the story of Spartacus, the famous gladiator… if they were a girl. There is ACTION, there is a super sweet and steamy ROMANCE, and there’s the HOPE of the people, ready to rebel against their captors.

30975382Blood and Sand
Author: C.V. Wyk
Series: Book 1
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Target


The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic–and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus….

Roma Victor. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to build an empire–an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end–and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus….


Blood and Sand just blew me away from start to finish. I loved following Attia’s journey as she headed towards revenge against the Roman Republic – quickly becoming an empire – for destroying her clan and leaving her princess of a nation swallowed by the growing Roman nation. This book loosely follows the story of Spartacus and focuses on the gladiators and fighters who are willing to challenge an empire that took them from their homeland. Following a historical bent like And I Darken by Kiersten White and female warriors that are ready to fight for justice like The Valiant by Lesley Livington, Blood and Sand blends fact and fiction to create an immersive, fast-paced adventure that will leave readers’ hearts pounding and blood rushing. Continue reading

ARC Review: They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

33385229They Both Die At The End
Author: Adam Silvera
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.


Despite the ominous connotations of the title, They Both Die at the End is ultimately a story about life and having had lived. Silvera’s writing is striking and cuts right into a reader’s heart as we navigate through the last day that Mateo and Rufus have to live. Despite the short time, they find both fun and friendship and love with the other as each of them grow. Silvera brings two vastly different boys together and offers a close insight on their doubts and vulnerabilities, as well as strengths and love, in this beautiful contemporary that will leave you with an aching but full heart. Continue reading

ARC Review: Down by Contact by Santino Hassell (The Barons #2)

33637825Down by Contact
Author: Santino Hassell
Series: The Barons #2
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


Two rival football players begin a game with higher stakes than the Super Bowl in this steamy romance from the author of Illegal Contact.

Simeon Boudreaux, the New York Barons’ golden-armed quarterback, is blessed with irresistible New Orleans charm and a face to melt your mama’s heart. He’s universally adored by fans and the media. Coming out as gay in solidarity with his teammate hasn’t harmed his reputation in the least—except for some social media taunting from rival linebacker Adrián Bravo.

Though they were once teammates, Adrián views Simeon as a traitor and the number-one name on the New Jersey Predators’ shit list. When animosity between the two NFL players reaches a boiling point on the field, culminating in a dirty fist fight, they’re both benched for six games and sentenced to joint community service teaching sullen, Brooklyn teens how to play ball.

At first, they can barely stand to be in the same room, but running the camp forces them to shape up. With no choice but to work together, Simeon realizes Adrián is more than his alpha-jerk persona, and Adrián begins to question why he’s always had such strong feelings for the gorgeous QB…


Basically, I loved this book, and I’m mad I haven’t stumbled upon this author sooner. Down by Contact gripped me from its first page. It’s a hate-to-love romance between an out and proud gay football player for the Barons, Simeon, and a bisexual football player from a rival team, Adrián, who hides his sexuality behind veiled comments. The dialogue was on-point, the romance had a beautiful build-up, and – dare I say it – the conflict was even really good. I basically devoured this book and stayed up until 4 am in the morning to finish this glorious love story. I’m definitely going to go back and read the first book in this series, Illegal Contact, because Gavin and Noah’s story will probably be just as good. Continue reading

ARC Review: Heart on Fire by Amanda Bouchet (Kingmaker Chronicles #3)

33607186Heart on Fire
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #3
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Who is Catalia Fisa?
With the help of pivotal figures from her past, Cat begins to understand the root of her exceptional magic, her fated union with Griffin Sinta, and Griffin’s role in shaping her destiny.

Only Cat holds the key to unlocking her own power, and that means finally accepting herself, her past, and her future in order to protect her loved ones, confront her murderous mother, and taking a final, terrifying step–reuniting all three realms and taking her place as the Queen of Thalyria.What doesn’t kill her will only make her stronger…we hope.


Note: This review will contain slight spoilers for the book series. My review of the first book, A Promise of Fire, can be found here and my review of the second book, Breath of Fire, can be found here!

Also: This series contains mature scenes in both sexy times and graphic violence. Please be aware before reading!

Passion, empathy, love, and growth: four words that this book is comprised of. There is passion in the actions of the characters, stimulated by the love of their family or romantic counterparts. empathy in the feelings they feel regarding one another, and tremendous character growth as each takes the time to learn lessons that would help them grow stronger both physically and mentally. Heart on Fire was a romantic, fun ending to the Kingmakers’ Chronicles (although I do believe, and am excited, for extra stories featuring the side characters). Cat and Griffin’s love story is written in a dramatic conclusion that is full of action and twists. Continue reading

Book Review: Fearless by Jennifer Jenkins (Nameless #3)

Author: Jennifer Jenkins
Series: Nameless #3
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Month9Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


Striker Gryphon has lost his position of honor among the Ram, and is now a hunted man. A traitor.

Zo, the object of his affection, was murdered by members of his former clan. To honor her memory, he journeys to the highly secretive Raven “Nest” to warn strangers of their impending demise—though it could cost him more than just his pride.

He doesn’t know that Zo is very much alive and in another part of the region assisting Nameless refugees over a mountain swarming with wild men known as “Clanless.”

As each struggle to make sense of what their lives have become, they fight and claw to reach the Allied Camp, their last hope in bringing peace to the region.

But the road back to one another is treacherous and uncertain. And freedom will come with a price.


Note: This review will contain slight spoilers for the Nameless series. You can find my review of the first book, Nameless, over here and my review of the second book, Clanless, over here.

Wow, what a whirlwind this trilogy was! When I first picked up Nameless, I had no idea each book would leave me begging for more and that I would fall in love with its resilient characters, action-packed plot, and tremendous character growth. Jenkins is a great writer and catches readers up in this third book in no time. We’re preparing for war, though Zo and Gryphon both have secrets from the other that they’re waiting to reveal. Told from a limited third person POV between Zo and Gryphon , Fearless is an incredible ending to a YA fantasy series from an indie publisher that I recommend fantasy lovers to hurry and pick up!

Continue reading

Book Review: Fireblood by Elly Blake (Frostblood Saga #2)

Author: Elly Blake
Series: Frostblood Saga #2
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


All hail the Fire Queen.

Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his throne of ice. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby’s powers and past…

Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fire Queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax—which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, Ruby no longer knows whom to trust. The fates of two kingdoms are now in her hands.


Note: This is the sequel to Frostblood, which you can find my review for here. It will contain slight spoilers!

While Fireblood was an exhilarating book – full of action and never a boring time in the plot – the excessive amount of familiar tropes that this series uses keeps me from lauding it as amazing, or a book to recommend for everyone. Like I said in my review of the first book, Frostblood, it’s more like a comfy blanket you would put on in front of the fireplace during a cold, snowy day when you’re in the mood to reread some of your old fave books. Blake is a great writer and certainly knows how to keep readers in suspense – plotwise though, you’re looking at nothing new from the YA fantasy books that have been out since the 2010’s. Comfortable while reading, but otherwise lacking in the newfound enjoyment that most fantasy books try to create and offer.

Continue reading

ARC Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

28449207Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Book 1
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?
Welcome to Weep.


I’m glad I could finally get to this book. Between my dislike of the author’s previous trilogy and all the hype, I’m happy to report that I really enjoyed Strange the Dreamer! I was wary of Taylor’s lyrical writing at first, but found myself getting used to it and its vivid descriptions as the book went on. While the first half was immensely slow, my patience was worth it for the revelations in the latter half of the book. Strange the Dreamer follows Lazlo Strange, one of the guys on the sidelines. He’s the quiet bookworm that people casually dismiss. But Lazlo Strange, resident dreamer and imaginer, may have hidden facets to his character that readers slowly come to discover. Continue reading

Book Review: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

25701463You’re Welcome, Universe
Author: Whitney Gardner
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Knopf
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.

Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.


I’ve had a copy of You’re Welcome, Universe for the longest time but haven’t had the chance to pick it up until now. I’m so glad I did, because this book left me with all the feels. You’re Welcome, Universe follows the first person POV of Julia, a protagonist who is as flawed as she is artistic. I adored her growth throughout the story and how her role as an angry teen evolved towards someone who understands and appreciates the love surrounding her (or, less of an angry teen). As an artist myself, I really identified with Julia’s need to release her art and emotions into the world. However, I’d also like to add that Julia does participate in illegal activity in the book (street graffiti in public places) and shouldn’t be condoned. Other than that, You’re Welcome, Universe was a beautiful exploration of art, friendships, growth, and the love that we experience in our lives. Continue reading