Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

“On the island of By-the-Sea you could always smell two things: salt and magic.”

I can’t express in words how much I love this book. I want to scream from rooftops about how amazing and stunning this novel is. What drew me to this book was the promise of a witchy F/F relationship.This book was so much more than I was expecting.

SUMMER OF SALT is an incredible atmospheric and magical novel that follows Georgina and her family who live on a strange island called By-the-Sea. Her family own the only Inn on the island, and ever summer a large group of people they call birdheads visit the island in search of a special bird they call Annabella. She fly’s to the island every summer to lay her eggs, except this summer she is missing.

Georgie – Our main character, who is a twin and it’s the summer before leaving for college, she struggles with having to leave her home on the island. She is a lesbian, and a witch who has yet to discovered her power.

Mary – Georgina’s twin sister, who has discovered her power since birth, she has the ability to float in midair. She is the wild sister, the free spirit.

Vira – Georgina’s best friend, her full name is Elvira and she works at the local ice cream parlor. She is aroace, and she is freaking adorable .

Harrison – Is a new guest to the island, he is researching Annabelle.

Prue – Is Harrison’s sister, she is bisexual and developing feelings for Georgie.

“In a family full of girls, you realize quickly that no girls are ordinary” 

Georgie takes it upon herself to find out what has happened to Annabella. Mary has been acting depressed and secretive, Georgie is determined to help her sister, while also trying to figure out if she will manifest her power before her 18th birthday. I loved how this story was about family, friendship and unconditional love. The romance between Georgie and Prue was really adorable!

This book also explores some darker issues, about rape and rape culture throughout the story. I was not expecting these issues to be explored and was a little shocked, so please be cautious if that is a trigger for you.

Overall, I really loved this book, I can see myself reading it again. It’s whimsical, atmospheric and queer, and so much more! It is the perfect combination of sweet and dark.

Content and trigger warnings for off the page sexual assault, underage drinking, drug use, animal death.


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Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Arc was provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

What first drew me to this book was because I loved the cover. Just look at it, it’s adorable, I am loving all the illustrated romance covers!This is the first book I’ve ever read by Tessa Bailey and I thoroughly very much enjoyed myself. I expected Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey to be light, fluffy but oh boy was I wrong! There was some really cute sweet moments but this book was so steamy!I ! I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW MUCH I LOVED THIS BOOK!.

This book introduces us to Georgie who is the youngest member of her family. She has been trying to make a name for herself outside of the family’s business.  They own a construction company, she works as a clown , yes you read that right ! She is a clown and performs at children’s parties. Georgie is tired of everyone in her family, and community treating her as a child.

Now our leading man, Travis; he is a retired baseball player after having an injury to his shoulder. He was force to move back his hometown, he is also Georgie’s older brothers best friend. She has had s crush on him ever since she can remember. He has been sulking in his apartment since returning home and no one can get him to move on. Enter Georgie, she storms into in throwing old Chinese food at his head, and insults to get inside his head.

“Dammit, Georgie. You had to be exactly what I need, didn’t you”

Travis soon finds himself in line for a new job opportunity but his bad reputation might compromise his chances. Georgie approaches him with a deal to help both of them get what they want. They will fake date, making Travis look like a good guy who can make a commitment and in turn he will help Georgie be seen as an adult and not the child everyone sees her as.

Of course, real feelings start to develop and they find themselves in some compromising situations.The romance is perhaps my favorite part of the book because it was so damn swoony!

I absolutely loved Georgie’s character development, she went from a meek quiet girl to a strong empowered woman. She honestly is one of the best written characters I’ve come across. She is witty, smart, strong yet vulnerable.

There is also a side story with the women in the family, they have started a little club to encourage each other with there goals and to be supportive. I loved all the girl power scenes, which just added so much more love to this already fantastic book.

Tessa Bailey wrote a great romance, and I’ve find a new favourite author soon after reading this book I started picking up her backlist titles. This book was just so stinking cute, with a mix of really hot naughty scenes, I read this whole book with a smile of my face.


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The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

ARC provided by the publisher though Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Like many of you I fell in love with the authors debut, The KISS Quotient last year and was really looking forward to her sophomore novel. I didn’t love this installment as much as I did The Kiss Quotient, but I still think that this book is a gem.I just need ya’ll to know the Helen Hoang is my new romance queen.

“Girl loves boy loves girl.”

Just like The Kiss Quotient, this is an ownvoices novel, Helen is Vietnamese and is Autistic. One of my favourite things about this book is seeing the difference between Stella from TKQ and Khai who is the main character of this book. I love how Helen brings enlightenment to the Autism spectrum and how each person has an individual experience and feelings. As I said in my review for TKQ my brother has Aspergers, and people seem to group everyone with autism in the same category. And this book does an amazing job at showing the differences each person experiences.

The Bride Test is written in dual perspective following Esme and Khai. The premise of this book is that Khai’s mother wants him to get married. Khai does not want to get married but his mom believes if she just finds him the perfect woman he will change his mind.

Khai – Vietnamese, Autistic, he is Michaels cousin from TKQ. He believes he can never fall in love, because he feels differently than other people he doesn’t recognize some emotions he experiences. He is a successful accountant at a large company. I really loved him as a character and thought his ba k story was really well written.

Esme – Biracial (Vietnamese and white), living in Vietnam with as a single mother with her daughter, mother and grandmother.She has never met her birth father. She works as a housekeeper in a hotel, where she meets a woman offering g her a chance to fly to California and marry her son, Khai. As the story goes on she developed real feelings for Khai. I really liked Esme as a character, she’s ambitious and hardworking, while being sweet and funny.

“My heart works in a different way, but it’s yours.”

I adore both Khai and Esme! Their chemistry was amazing and I loved how there relationship organic grew. They’re vastly different, but also worked so well together.I LOVED the relationship between Khai and his brother Quan. I really hope the next book will be his story!

My few complaints: As a parent I really didn’t like how Esme hid the fact that she had a daughter. Her child is a huge part of her life and ordinarily the main reason she agreed to come to California. She wants to give her a better life but yet she doesn’t tell anyone about her. I also wasn’t to thrilled about the Epilogue but I can’t talk about that because I don’t want to spoil anything.

Overall, The Bride Test wasn’t on the same level as The Kiss Quotient but it was still incredibly enjoyable.


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Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

An ARC was provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey THIS WAS SO ADORABLE AND CUTE!!! I’ve seen a couple of my friends give it a low rating and I can see why some people wouldn’t enjoy it. That wasn’t the case for me. This book is basically a long homage to romantic comedies, which made me realize I have not watched a lot of the movies mentioned, and I quickly wrote them all down to add to my Netflix queue.

This story follows Annie, a screenwriter who is obsessed with rom- coms and finding true love. She especially loves Nora Ephron/Tom Hanks movies, and therefore has very high standards when it comes to men. She wants to meet a kind, loving man with some cut quirks and helps make her life complete. A movie director she admires in coming to town to film his latest movie, luckily for Annie, her uncle knows him. Landing her a job as his assistant. One downside to this job is it puts her in close proximity to Drew Danforth. A heart throb movie star, which she very much dislikes.

Of course following the Rom-Com formula this book has all the fun classic cliches, from an awkward hilarious meet-cute, the denying or the feelings, misunderstanding, and finally the grand gesture. Annie and Drew were so easy to root for, and there relationship developed was paced quite nicely.

This book also has an amazing cats of side characters, Annie’s Uncle is a huge comic fan who plays weekly games of D&D. Then we have Annie’s best friend Chloe, she is fun and spunky. I really liked their friendship, Chloe would call out Annie on her expectations of love. Telling her nothing happens like they do in the movies that she should try and live her life,go on some dates. And Nick, he  reminded so much of Luke from Gilmore Girls, which instantly made him one of my favorite side characters. As some of you know Gilmore Girls is my all time favorite show and I love Luke. Nick is the owner of a local coffee shop, where everyone is town seems to gather on a daily basis. Oh, and Chloe works at the coffee shop as well, and I really hope that Chloe and Nick will have a companion novel!

The ending felt a little rushed and there were a few moments where I was really annoyed with Annie. Which is why it only got a four star rating and not a five.This book had me smiling throughout the whole story. Waiting For Tom Hanks is the perfect fun summer beach read!


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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Trigger warnings: talks of suicide, mental illness, depression, stalking, cheating, loss of a parent, abuse from a parent.

This book is Alex Michaelides debut novel and it is one twist after another. this novel had me captivated from start to finish. Daaaamn. I did not see that ending coming! I went in pretty much blind, I didn’t know anything about it other than the main character didn’t speak.The Silent Patient is not a long novel but don’t let that fool you into thinking there isn’t that much going on. I really recommend this book.

“There’s so much pain everywhere, and we just close our eyes to it.
The truth is we’re all scared. We’re terrified of each other.”

Alicia and her husband Gabriel look like they are the perfect couple. Alicia is an aspiring painter and Gabriel is a fashion photographer. There young, beautiful,there careers are kicking off and there crazy about each other. But this book isn’t a love story it’s a thriller, soon we find Alicia standing over her dead husbands body and covered in both of their blood. As everyone struggles to understand why she would do this, their met with a dead end. Alicia is refusing to utter a word, she sits by as she is sentenced guilty to killing the man she loved, she continues to sit silently. She is saved from the death penalty and instead put in a psychiatric hospital, where she still is not speaking.

Theo Farber is a criminal psychotherapist, who is interested in Alicia’s case and is determined to find out what happened that night her husband was murdered. He accepts a new job at The Grove the mental hospital where Alicia was assigned. He is determined to get her speaking again, through therapy and building a trusting rapport.The book is told almost entirely from Theo’s perspective with some flashbacks from Alicia’s journal.

“You become increasingly comfortable with madness – and not just the madness of others, but your own. We’re all crazy, I believe, just in different ways.”

I really enjoyed this book. It has definitely lived up to its reputation as a page turner. I listened to this on audiobook and it was fantastic, the voice actors were so good and pulled you right into the story.

Buddy read with Amy and Amber!


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A Girl Like Her by Tailia Hibbert

A Girl Like Her is the first book in the Ravenswood series, and the February pick for the Dragons and Tea Book Club. I’ve read one other book by Tailia Hibbert and halfway through this one I added almost all of her other books to my TBR. I love her writing and her characters; this book was everything! I loved it so much, Tailia is a gem and everyone should be reading her books. This book was absolute perfection!

This book starts out with Evan, finishing off the day at his new job, the son of his boss whom he doesn’t like to much offers to drive him home. After trying to rebuff his offer he accepts the drive, while walking to the car a young woman runs straight into him, and from that moment he is intrigued by her. He soon discovers that she is his neighbor.

→ Ruth Kabbah: I loved that Ruth has autism and that this is #ownvoices. She is a web comic artist, which warms my nerdy little heart. She loves to wear pajamas with marvel heroes all over them and I was totally here for it. She is also fierce and 100% genuine. Ruth is also a curvy woman of color and has autism, but these traits do not define her, they are just a piece of who she is.

→ Evan Miller: He is an ex-soldier, who has just moved to Ravenswood, he is also Ruth’s new neighbor. He is a tall, muscled blacksmith with a heart of gold. He is a good cook, he prepares meals for his friend at work, he was raised to bring your neighbors a gift upon meeting them so he prepares a meal in anticipation of meeting his new neighbor. After realizing Ruth lives next door and cannot cook, he inserts himself into her life, preparing meals for her nightly.

This is a slow-burn romance, I absolutely loved their relationship. They’re so adorable. I loved that Evan was completely accepting of Ruth, right after meeting her. I simply adored “A Girl Like Her”, it was such a unique and fun story.


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January Wrap Up and Book Haul

Hello loves! I hope everyone is having a good day! Can you believe we’re already got one month own in the books for 2019. Reading -wise, I thought I’d been incredibly productive this month. I ended up reading 10 books ! Which for me is a lot.


Books Read

(You can click the links in each of the titles if you would like to read a more in-depth review of each book.)

Slayer by Kiersten White – ★★★

I have been so excited for this book ever since it was first announced that there would be a YA series set in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer coming out. I found Slayer to be a quick and really fun story. I related to the characters and loved the relationships

The Wicker King – K. Ancrum★★★★

This was the first book for The Dragon and Tea book club created by Melanie and Amy. I have never heard of this book before and I’m so happy this was picked. I loved this book so much! The format of the book was really cool, uses art and colour to correspond with the tone of the book. The chapters were super short and I flew through them. I highly recommend!

Verity- Colleen Hoover★★★★★

This book was impossible to put it down until I  finished it! It is seriously creepy and disturbing.This storyline is very dark, but incredibly addicting. I went into this book knowing nothing about the plot, and I honestly think that is the best way to read this book.I haven’t read Hoovers latest book’s because I have read some really terrible reviews, this book though is nothing like anything I’ve ever read before. I love thrillers and horror, so its difficult for an author to fill me with such dread and anxiety, that this book has left me with

An Anonymous Girl – by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen★★★★

This was my first book by Hendricks & Pekkanen but it certainly won’t be my last. This is there sophomore novel and it follows a make up artist Jessica who is participating in a morals study. The character’s are amazing and I was really glad I picked this one up.

99 Percent Mine- Sally Thorne★★★

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne was one of my favorite reads last year. So, I was over the moon when I was approved to read 99 Percent Mine. This book is nothing like The Hating Game. I went in thinking that 99 Percent Mine would be one of my favorite romances of the year, but I was disappointed. I really love the friends to lovers/ brothers best friend trope, and there was a few really heartwarming moments but in the end the romance kinda fell flat for me.

The Wicked King- Holly Black★★★★★

First off this was an OUTSTANDING READ, and I loved every second of it! Holly Black has done it again. She is a literary genius, I have loved every book I’ve ever read by her.This book was perfect. I don’t think there’s any combination of words that could accurately convey just how good this book is. The political intrigue in this book, is so strong! There are so many twists and turns you won’t know what to believe. This book is 90% court intrigue, scheming, and angst, which is the recipe for an amazing story.

One of Us is Lying- Karen M McManus★★★1/2

I’ve been wanting to read One of Us is Lying for awhile now, and I really enjoyed the story. I felt the comparisons to the Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars was really spot on. This is a very quick read, I finished in in two days. I don’t want to say to much about the plot because it is a mystery. I will have a full review up very soon.

The Way I Used To Be – Amber Smith ★★★1/2

This was a brutally honest story about a 14 year old girl names Eden who was raped by her brother’s best friend in her own bed.It’s told in the span of her four years of high school and the lingering affects of trauma and how it changes you. I had a hard time rating this novel, I ended up giving it only three and a half stars, because I was hoping Eden story would have ended different.

DragonHearts- Nikita Gill, Amanda Lovelace and Trista Mateer ★★★★

When I saw that three of my all time favorite poets were coming out with a new collection I was over the moon. There three women write such beautiful and empowering prose. I love how there was no build up to the release, that we woke up one morning and surprise there’s this beautiful book! This is one of my favorite collaborations and I will definitely be reading it again.


Book Haul

Physical Books I bought :

The Wicked King- Holly Black

The Kiss Quotient- Helen Hoang

All the Feels- Danika Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone – JK Rowling

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling

Ebooks I Bought

A Girl Like Her – Talia Hibbert

Netgalley / Edelweiss

Dark Shores – Danielle L Jensen

Serious Moonlight – Jenn Bennett

Never- Contented Things – Sarah Porter

The Bride Test – Helen Hoang


Let’s chat, How was your reading month? What was your favourite book you’ve read?


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Verity by Colleen Hoover

This book was impossible to put it down until I  finished it! It is seriously creepy and disturbing.This storyline is very dark, but incredibly addicting. I went into this book knowing nothing about the plot, and I honestly think that is the best way to read this book. I’m writing this review honestly minutes after finishing because I need to get my feelings out.

“My mother used to say that houses have a soul, and if that’s true, the soul of Verity Carwford’s house is as dark as they come.” 

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer with no family, a recent eviction from her apartment when all of a sudden her life is drastically changed. She is approached by the publishers and husband of the best selling author Verity Crawford. They offer her a deal to complete the last three books in the highly popular book series, due to injuries Verity is unable to complete the books. Lowen at first hesitates, but Jeremy Crawford assures her she has nothing to worry about.  In order to get everything in order to write the books, she moves into the Crawford house in order to go through Verity’s office.

Lowen finds an unfinished copy of an autobiography written by Verity.

“Some families are lucky enough to never experience a single tragedy. But then there are those families that seem to have tragedies waiting on the back burner. What can go wrong, goes wrong. And then gets worse.”

I haven’t read Hoovers latest book’s because I have read some really terrible reviews, this book though is nothing like anything I’ve ever read before. I love thrillers and horror, so its difficult for an author to fill me with such dread and anxiety, that this book has left me with.

Highly recommend!


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American Panda by Gloria Chao // Review

35297380Title: American Panda
Author: Gloria Chao
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 320
Rating: 4 Stars


Synopsis

An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary debut about a Taiwanese-American teen whose parents want her to be a doctor and marry a Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer despite her squeamishness with germs and crush on a Japanese classmate.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?


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American Panda by Gloria Chao is one of many YA contemporaries coming out this year, but this is one that seriously needs to be added to everyone’s TBR list. LOVE THIS SO MUCH!

The plot was very well written, there isn’t that much action, but there is a lot still happening with the character’s and there lives. I also loved the humor, the dialogue is perfect and Mei’s personality. There are so many situations that Mei finds herself in while she is trying to discover herself.

Mei, a seventeen year-old Taiwanese-American girl, has recently been accepted to M.I.T. Mei is only seventeen years old, and has very strict Asian parents,who have very high expectations of her. I can’t imagine being in constant fear of disappointing your family while trying to be yourself. Mei was a fantastically written protagonist. She’s hilarious, witty and has such a kind soul. If I were to met her I would seriously want her as a friend! Her character development is fantastic, she goes from trying to do everything her parents expect of her to a girl who stands up for her beliefs. The romance is adorable but best of all it’s not the main focus of the novel. Darren is so sweet, supportive, nerdy and there relationship is awkward and adorable.

American Panda is so, so cute and authentic! This is an intense and emotional read. Gloria Chao is also super sweet and I can’t wait for future books.


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Everless by Sara Holland Review

Title: Everless

Author: Sara Holland

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Pages: 336

Rating: 5 Stars


Synopsis

In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.


 

I would like to thank Edelwiess for providing me with a egalley to read and give an honest review.

I loved this book so much !! This book was everything I wanted it to be and more. Seriously the hype is well earned. The plot is unique and the characters are wonderful. Do not think you’ve got the villains figured out, I’ll bet you that you’ve got it wrong. Sara does an amazing job with the world building , it’s original and she created myths/stories within the book that drew me in. The pacing was perfect, at no time did I feel it dragged or rushed.

One of the most unique magic systems I’ve ever read. In a world where time is bound to blood and time is used as currency. We follow the protagonist Jules as she decides to go work at Everless, an estate owned by a very powerful family. Jules and her father had worked there when she was s child and they faced some dangers. Her father is sick and Jules has decided to go back to Everless to earn more time for her Dad.

I loved Jules as a character, she was relatable and sweet. Her friendships with the side characters were amazing, she interacted with different ages such as children and the elderly. She is headstrong and sticks to her ideas.I also really liked Liam, I’m a sucker for brooding sarcastic boys. I always ship the bad boy. Another character I loved was Ina and I can’t wait to see her story unfold.

I can’t wait a whole year for the sequel!!! I need it now. This was such a good book to start the year off with, and set the bar for ya fantasy. So I recommend you pick this up!


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(Sorry the formatting is off my laptop broke 😭 and I’m typing this up on my phone )