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TITLE: Fix Her Up
AUTHOR: Tessa Bailey

RELEASED: June 11, 2019
PUBLISHER: Avon
FORMAT: eBook [Thanks to Avon for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.]

GENRE: Adult contemporary, romance
GOODREADS RATING: 3.89

TRIGGERS: Explicit sex scenes, depression, alcoholism
REPS: 

SYNOPSIS
Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)
Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)
Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)
Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her…

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Renovation shows. Shows where houses are flipped – bought, restored and sold again. Maybe it’s because we only bought our home in December and there’s renovating to do, maybe it’s simply because I like seeing old things revamped into new, modern things without having to throw it all in the bin. I don’t know. The thing is.. I love the concept and seeing it in the summary of a book? Combined with the fake relationship trope? Yes, please! But.. Did everything else about the book ended up being my cup of tea?

Let’s start with the main characters – Georgie and Travis. They both grew so much over the course of this story, which I lived for. Not only them, there were also side characters showing obvious signs of growth. Any author capable of doing that deserves an extra star in my book!
When it comes to Georgie, I specifically loved seeing her go from being and feeling the “little sister” towards being her own woman, standing up for herself and fighting for what she wants. Seeing that evolution was wonderful.

As mentioned in the triggers, there are quite a few explicit sex scenes in this book. I didn’t mind them at all – but I know some people don’t care for that type of thing. All in all, I found them well written – apart from all the dirty talk. I’m simply.. not that kind of person so I wouldn’t have mind had that aspect not been present, haha.

In my intro, I mentioned the renovating company being one of the things that piqued my interest. It wasn’t that present, but it was there enough for me to be satisfied. As for the fake relationship-trope? I loved how it was done! Not every author is able to pull it off, but I enjoyed seeing Georgie and Travis struggle with their feelings, doubting the realness of their fake relationship and eventually having to admit to themselves what was going on. Yup, definitely my cup of tea!

Travis, our other main character, definitely had his own demons to fight. Unfortunately, the story focused way more on Georgie’s growth, struggle and evolution than it did on his. I would’ve loved to have more insight in his past, his brain and his feelings. It would have added so much more to the story!


This is the first book in a series, and I already cannot wait for the next one! Rosie and Dominic – already present in Fix Her Up – caught my eye a couple of times so I’m curious to see what their story will be like.

How do you feel about the “fake relationship”-trope?
Are there any kind of shows – like my renovation show-addiction – that you can’t say no to?

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Books & Munches by Kathy @ Books & Munches - 4d ago

Yes, it’s been over a month. I know. I’m sorry! I don’t even know where time went, to be honest. Like I said in yesterday’s review intro, Jamie is commanding all my attention whenever he’s awake. And he makes it impossible for me to do anything when he’s not – since he.. you know.. won’t sleep when he’s not touching me in some way, haha. Take that, add the moments the boyfriend is home and I force all three of us to go outside to do stuff and.. there’s not much time left for blogging? I wish it was differently, but I hope to find some more time from now on! I’m going to try and get my WWW’s back and, hopefully, get on top of my reviews.
I might not have been doing this meme but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading. On the contrary. According to my spreadsheet, I read a whopping thirteen books last month! Say whut!

I’m not going to share all those here because.. well.. I simply don’t have the time. I will, however, share the last books I’ve been reading!

Let’s do this!!

As always, covers link back to the Goodreads-page, so feel free to check them out!

I’ve had Aurora Rising on my current reads for a while now. Not because I’m not liking it – on the contrary!  – but because reading physical books is a definite no-no right now? Jamie does not allow. [This is where I’m not ashamed to say “stupid Jamie!” because it’s frustrating sometimes, haha.]
So, when I do get to read – on my phone, that is – I’m reading The One by Kiera Cass. Which is a reread, yay me!

In very behaving Kathy-fashion, I’m still focusing on my monthly reading challenge! June is all about rereading, which is what I’ve been trying to do. Unfortunately, I’m totally not in the mood for my planned Shadowhunter re-read, but.. I did fall into the hole of The Selection-series? Oh well!
In anticipation of Roar‘s sequel, I’ve also focused on reading some of Cora Carmack’s other books on my TBR!

I have no clue! I got tons of books on my TBR, and I’m going with my mood. I’ll probably continue The Selection-series because I’ve never read past the third book but apart from that? Who knows.


What’s your current read?
What’s next on  your TBR?
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN?

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TITLE: Alex, Approximately
AUTHOR: Bennett, Jenn

RELEASED: April 1, 2017
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
FORMAT: Paperback

GENRE: YA Contemporary
GOODREADS RATING: 4.01

TRIGGERS: Drug abuse, divorced parents, death of side character
REPS: 

SYNOPSIS
Bailey “Mink” Rydell has met the boy of her dreams. They share a love of films and talk all day – Alex is perfect. Well, apart from the fact that they’ve never actually met . . . and neither of them knows the other’s real name.

When Bailey moves to sunny California to live with her dad, who happens to live in the same town as Alex, she decides to track him down. But finding someone based on online conversations alone proves harder than Bailey thought, and with her irritating but charismatic (and potentially attractive?) colleague Porter Roth distracting her at every turn, will she ever get to meet the mysterious Alex?

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First things first ~ Yes, I’ve been even more absent than before! I’m so sorry! Jamie is pretty much commanding all my attention when he’s awake since he needs to be entertained all the time. And if that’s not the case, he’s sleeping on top of me so I can barely move. Which, alas, causes it impossible to even write reviews? I’m hoping things will get a bit better from now on. Especially since I have ten reviews to write and post – yikes! Also… I miss you guys so much?! Seriously! Here’s me keeping my fingers crossed to be able to blog some more soonish. Until then.. It’ll be the random review popping up whenever I get one written, edited and scheduled. On to my review!

Soon after reading Starry Eyes, I dove into another one of Jenn Bennett’s books – Alex, Approximately. I was expecting the same kind of fluff. Maybe another fun setting. Some geeky aspects as well. But were those things only present in Starry Eyes or not?

I’d say not! I loved the setting of a coastal town, having our main character working at a museum and that being the main setting of the story. Not to mention how she geeks out about old movies! Absolutely loved that part – even though I’m not really into those kind of movies, but that doesn’t matter, haha. What counts is that her passion came across in an amazing way I can only admire.

The romance / story itself? Even though it was quite predictable, I still enjoyed the way it came together. You just know, if you read a lot of contemporary, what the plot of this book is. The only question I had left was how it would all be discovered. I thought I might end up being disappointed, but that wasn’t the case. I actually quite liked how she discovered who Alex is. Not to mention the romantic setting – but still light-hearted feel to it – lifted my spirits while reading.

As for Mink.. she’s definitely one of my favorite contemporary characters. The way she evades things – she doesn’t call herself a professional evader for nothing, okay – is admirable, recognizable and a bit.. shameful? At least if you feel like you can relate to that part of her, haha. Her story showed me how getting out of your comfort zone can lead to so many good things – although, admittedly.. I’ll never stop evading certain things and subjects. Can’t help it.

Sometimes you have to endure painful things to realize that you’re a whole lot stronger than you think.


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Jenn Bennett is on my list of favorite contemporary authors!

What does your list of favorite contemporary authors look like?

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Books & Munches by Kathy @ Books & Munches - 2w ago

 Jazzy June is our next challenge! For those of you who were around last year, you know June is all about rereading those favorite books – or simply giving books you didn’t love as much at first a second chance. Personally, I’ll be trying to start on my Shadowhunter-reread but I might just.. risk the tears and reread 180 Seconds by Jessica Park as well. That’s one book I can’t resist, you know? 

Rules

◊ Post a blog post / comment / Tweet / whatever saying you’ll be joining me in rereading one or more books!
◊ Share your list of books and/or series that you really want to reread.
◊ If you’re sharing your updates on social media, use #JazzyJune so we can follow up on each other!

Important

It isn’t necessary to dedicate the whole month to my monthly challenges. Our TBR’s are all through the roof so it can already be a challenge to read only one or two books that fit this month’s challenge.
You can still join then! The more the merrier!
Remember, it doesn’t matter how much you read. As long as you have fun reading.
And as long as we can tackle our TBR’s, bit by bit.

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TITLE: City of Ghosts
AUTHOR: Victoria Schwab

RELEASED: August 28, 2018
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
FORMAT: Hardcover

GENRE: MG Fantasy / Paranormal
GOODREADS RATING: 3.95

TRIGGERS: Focus on death / dead children
REPS: 

SYNOPSIS
They’re here.
They’re watching.

Cass can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead.

When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh. Here, graveyards, castles and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms.

But when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift”, she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil—and herself. And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

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May 8. The day I was finally safe from people wanting to bash my head in for not having read anything by V.E. / Victoria Schwab. Although it would’ve maybe made more sense should I have started with A Darker Shade of Magic, Moody May is real and I was in the mood for.. well.. something more spooky?

As you might or might not know, City of Ghosts is a middle grade novel, which pretty much means I should not have been spooked by this book. At least.. According to me. Unfortunately, I’ve proven I’m a huge wuss by getting goosebumps at times while reading. I’m so counting this as a good thing because it was sort of the reason I picked up City of Ghosts in the first place? Like.. I pretty much wanted to challenge Schwab into spooking me with a middle grade book and she won? I’m a wuss, okay. No doubt about it.

Like I said – middle grade. Which equals me not going to say all that much about the writing. It’s simple. The font in my copy is huge. It read like a train because.. Let’s face it. Should it have been in a more “YA-sized” font, this book would only be half the length it is now. Which would equal less than 150 pages? So, yup. I flew through it!

Character-wise.. I couldn’t help but love Cassidy. She’s curious and impulsive. Fearless and kind. Jacob? Well.. Let’s just say I’m keen to see what will happen to him. There are some clues throughout the book that show there’ll be something happening in the sequel that might not be all rainbows and sunshine. But.. I’m sort of more curious to find out where Cassidy and her parents’ documentary show will be heading to next?

Goosebumps. Right! I honestly wonder how freaked out City of Ghosts would’ve gotten me should it have been written for young adults. Or adults even. I already had the creeps at some points and remember thinking “Should this part have more detailed descriptions, I would’ve stopped reading for a bit..”

There isn’t really anything bad to this novel. Except for me feeling like the ending was done too quickly, too easy and.. that somewhat disappointed me? I know that’s more to do with it being a middle grade novel. YA, NA and adult novels can take way longer to wrap up, to tie up loose ends or solve issues. I’m used to that. So it makes sense I feel this way, right? I’m not counting it towards my rating though. I can hardly expect a MG book to be like what I usually read, right?


All in all I really enjoyed this read. I even got curious to see whether Schwab will write – or has written? – anything like this for YA or Adults? Creepy-wise I mean. In any case, I’m really curious to see what her writing and way of wrapping things up is like in her other novels, so I might be diving into A Darker Shade of Magic soon!

Have you read City of Ghosts yet? Do you often read MG books?
What are some differences between MG and YA you find very obvious?

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TITLE: Starry Eyes
AUTHOR: Jenn Bennett

RELEASED: May 17, 2018
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
FORMAT: Paperback

GENRE: YA Contemporary
GOODREADS RATING: 4.05

TRIGGERS: Homophobic, cheating, death of parent
REPS: LGBTQIA+, Korean side character

SYNOPSIS
Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best-friends-turned-worst-enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to try to make their way to safety. But as the two travel deeper into the rugged Californian countryside, secrets and hidden feelings surface. Soon it’s not simply a matter of enduring each other’s company, but taming their growing feelings for each other.

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This is the first book by Jenn Bennett I read, and I can already tell you it isn’t the last! So let’s dive into my review for Starry Eyes, okay?

I always start my review by talking about the writing. I really don’t have all that much to say about it, except for.. This read like a train? I was so lost in Zorie and Lennon’s story! I got pulled in and the words would not let go of me. They had a hold on me. I just had to keep reading to find out what would happen next because.. Let’s face it..

The setting of this story is something else! I haven’t read any contemporary yet – until Starry Eyes of course – where our characters are in the wilderness instead of a school-setting or other more general, not-so-original setting. This added so, so much to the story since there weren’t any distractions. Sure, there are some sub-plots happening, but those didn’t feel all that present because Zorie and Lennon were on their own without other influences.

Speaking of.. Can I just mention how Lennon is the gothic / emo-ish kid and I absolutely live for it? I need more characters like those, okay. I’m not even going to deny it! Not to mention the friends-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-friends trope that’s going on in this book. My contemporary-loving heart couldn’t ask for more! I absolutely loved it to pieces!

The addition of geekish information throughout the story? Hell to the yes! It’s one of those aspects that immediately adds a lot to characters depth-wise. I don’t like novels were it seems like the characters don’t have any real passions outside their relationships and friendships. Seeing how both Lennon and Zorie have their own hobbies and interests, without them necessarily overlapping, was a feat!

Last, but definitely not least are some other aspects I can’t help but loudly applaud. First off, Zorie’s stepmother is Korean. Lenon’s parents are lesbians. Zorie is absolutely addicted to planning everything to a T – which is very, very recognizable for me. And the best part of this novel? How sex is mentioned. Safe. Sex. In. YA. I need to see more of that. It should never be a taboo so.. Jenn Bennett, I bow to you! Thank you!

Cautious people are afraid of the unknown and avoid it. Careful people plan so that they’re more confident when they face the unknown.

Naturally, I cannot give this any less than five cupcakes and the message “I will definitely read a whole lot more of Bennett’s work for sure!

How often have you come across safe sex in YA books?
Are there other subjects / taboos you’d like to see way more of?

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TITLE: Girl Mans Up
AUTHOR: M-E Girard

RELEASED: September 6, 2016
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
FORMAT: Paperback

GENRE: YA Contemporary
GOODREADS RATING: 4.02

TRIGGERS: Abuse, toxic friendships, slut-shaming, abortion, bullying, misogyny
REPS: LGBTQIA+, Portuguese heritage / parents

SYNOPSIS
All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty.

But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth—that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.

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It’s going to be hard to explain why this book means so much to me, because it does. And I love every word of it. I honestly didn’t expect this contemporary to leave such an impact, to pack such a punch but it did.

There’s a lot of different rep in this novel – not only does Pen struggle with her identity, her parents and their way of life / raising / believing have a huge influence on her as well. To them, a girl should behave like a girl and a boy like a boy. You might be able to imagine how that would backfire when their daughter – Pen – is a girl more comfortable in her brother’s clothes, digs her short hair and.. overall simply doesn’t come across as feminine at all. I’m really hoping I’ll be going about this correctly because I don’t want to hurt anyone with my review. If I do, please let me know so I can make the necessary adaptions!

In a way I really connected with Pen. From my twelve years until about two years ago, I did everything to avoid dresses, skirts, high heels, make-up. Everything. I simply didn’t feel all that feminine, I always got along with boys better and.. I just wasn’t a normal girl, you know? In that aspect, I recognized a lot of myself in Pen. It was confronting and beautiful at the same time – which made for one unique experience while reading. It also made me somewhat.. nostalgic in a weird way? So.. You can probably see why this book would mean so much to me.

Apart from that, there’s Pen’s relationships. Not only the very problematic one with her parents, but definitely the one with her best friend, Colby. Now there is one abusive, very wrong friendship. I wanted to punch his face multiple times – if not all the darn time. He uses and abuses her, doesn’t respect her, doesn’t even try to understand her. And he isn’t even the only one..

Her parents are very much the same. First: they’re Portuguese and the author made the choice of showing how they aren’t fully capable of speaking English. I can see how that would hurt people, but in a way.. there are still a lot of people – at least in Belgium – who moved from another country and simply don’t speak our language all that well if at all. I can see why it would be hurtful, but I also understand why the author made this decision. It also adds a kind of extra layer to their beliefs and views.
And those aren’t pretty at all. They’re stuck in their ways, which hurts Pen a lot. Luckily she has her brother, who’s very important to her. Throughout the story they struggle as well, but it’s wonderful to see how they still have this strong connection.

Talking about strong connections.. there are two other friendships that definitely deserve to be mentioned. And the romantic aspect because.. That was acceptance right there. Some parts had me all gooey and smiley, to be honest. Like.. Ugh. Just read it, okay? You’ll definitely notice what I’m talking about if you do! 

People should just be allowed to look in the mirror and see all kinds of possibilities.


I know there was way more I wanted to say about this book, but I just.. have a really hard time putting it all into words. Girl Mans Up is a story about self-acceptance, about speaking up, about realizing what relationships are worth it and which ones aren’t. It’s a story about clashing cultures and finding a way to combine them. It’s a  journey of knowing who you are, but fighting to show others as well. It’s.. a lot. And worth a read.

I know a lot of people in the bookish community have had a hard time with either their sexual identity, mental health, or other aspects of their person. So instead of asking something book-related.. I’m simply going to ask..
Are you okay? How are you? What’s going on in your lives that you’re maybe having difficulties with? If you want to talk, I’m here.

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TITLE: A Pack of Blood and Lies
AUTHOR: Olivia Wildenstein

RELEASED: April 18, 2019
PUBLISHER: Twig Publishing
FORMAT: eBook

GENRE: YA Fantasy
GOODREADS RATING: 4.17

TRIGGERS: Mention of rape, mention of suicide, misogyny
REPS: Small LGBTQIA+ rep

SYNOPSIS
The primal rule of winning: don’t fall in love with the contender.

Three months shy of her eighteenth birthday, Ness is forced to return to Colorado. Even though it’s been six years, and the wolves of her all-male pack don’t recognize her, she recognizes them. People who shun others because of their gender are hard to forget.

Especially Liam Kolane—son of Heath, the crudest and cruelest Alpha to have ruled the Boulder Pack. Liam is as handsome as he is infuriating, as kind as he is punishing, and he makes Ness’s traitorous heart race, which isn’t good. After all, he’s a Kolane. Like father like son, right?

When Heath dies, Liam vies to become the new Alpha and no one dares challenge him.

Except Ness.

Thus begins a treacherous game.

The rules: winner takes all…including loser’s life.

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It’s been a while since I read Harshville by Olivia Wildenstein – which is still bound to be published since posting my review due to adjustments having to be made – but I remembered really enjoying all the fluff! And that was a contemporary, so you can see why I got curious about A Pack of Blood and Lies since it’s a fantasy with werewolves. 

Yes, you read that correctly. Werewolves! Teenage me starting dancing the moment I found out because those are and always will be one of my weaknesses in books – that and vampires because doh. In any case, the werewolves weren’t overly present but they didn’t have to be. I loved the way they were there and part of the plot without being all-important.

Speaking of plot.. There was a lot going on! Several sub-plots mixing with the general one to the point of me losing track of everything at some point. Although I have to say.. I quite liked that? It made things more unpredictable than they would’ve been otherwise. There was also a vague-ish love-triangle like thing going on but.. I still don’t really get what that was all about. So of course that makes me overly curious and I need the sequel already, haha.

Definitely a shout-out to our main character, Ness, coming up for female rights. As the sole female werewolf in her pack-but-not-pack, she fights to officially join. Seeing how she puts that much effort in, while most male members are against it, is truly admirable. So, yup, a splurge of feminism right there! 

People often hated what they didn’t understand.

There are only two small things I’d love to see differently. One is the more action-packed scenes feeling a bit all over the place at times. Although I can admit that might be me and my mom-brain, I do think you should be able to picture those scenes in your head without them not feeling right, you know?
The second one is how I didn’t really like the main character, Ness. I connected with her at first, but at some point I lost that connection due to her somewhat losing her.. motivations for doing certain things? I don’t know. Felt to me like she started making decisions based off of nothing which was weird. It’s hard to explain, really.. 


Even though there are two minor “bad” aspects, I still really enjoyed A Pack of Blood and Lies and can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. I’m even going to buy myself a physical copy of this one, so that’s saying something, right?!

Important questions for my readers to answer in the comments

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TITLE: My Favorite Half-Night Stand
AUTHOR: Christina Lauren

RELEASED: December 4, 2018
PUBLISHER: Gallery Books
FORMAT: Paperback

GENRE: Adult Romance
GOODREADS RATING: 3.86

TRIGGERS:
REPS: 

SYNOPSIS
Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

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I have some authors I’ve been loving from way before I ever started my blog, let alone joined the bookish community. Christina Lauren is definitely on that list so I couldn’t pass up the chance of reading My Favorite Half-Night Stand, could I? Especially after Destiny writing such a glowing review about it!

Like I said, it isn’t the first book I read by these authors – by far. And if there’s one thing I always know upfront, it’s how their writing never disappoints. You can have author collaborations where the different writing styles are very obvious, sometimes even clash. Christina Lauren? No such thing!

My Favorite Half-Night Stand is very much a love story, but the presence of friends is a huge plus as well. Seeing how our main characters have their own ways of communicating with the same friends was something I enjoyed. Having both their POV’s definitely helped that along as well.

Reid and Millie were fairly easy to connect with, although I surprisingly connected with Millie more than I anticipated at first. As her, I sometimes find myself having difficulties with expressing myself – although in a less pronounced and obvious way. I’m also more comfortable around men than I am around women, which is definitely something I love seeing in books. That way I don’t have to feel like the odd one out all the time, you know? There’s some representation I’d love to see more, haha!

The thing I liked most about this book, though? How things did not come to a dramatic explosion like they usually do in romance / contemporary novels. It’s one of the things that’s so common in books that having it “missing”, is very refreshing to say the least. It’s also more realistic, in my opinion. Definitely one of the biggest positives!

I’m lonely because I don’t tell people what I need or what I want, and then get hurt when they don’t figure it out on their own.

Gotta say it – this was another funny and pretty cute read. And entertaining! Safe to say I’ll be keeping Christina Lauren on my list of favorite authors.

IHow do you feel about authors collaborating? Fan? No fan?
Duo’s that work magic in your opinion? [Yesyes, Kristoff and Kaufman!]
Or mash-ups that failed big time?

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TITLE: The Poet X
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Acevedo

RELEASED: March 6, 2018
PUBLISHER: Hardie Grant Egmont
FORMAT: Paperback

GENRE: YA Poetry, Contemporary
GOODREADS RATING: 4.45

TRIGGERS: Body-shaming, bigotry, slut-shaming, parental abuse, homophobia
REPS: LGBTQIA+, Dominican rep

SYNOPSIS
A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

GOODREADSAMAZON.COMAMAZON.CO.UK
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I’ve read some poetry before – namely Rupi Kaur’s two poetry collections, but that’s about it. So when I heard about The Poet X being in verse and knowing it would be a story with a lot of tough subjects.. I was intrigued to say the least. Once again, it took me a while to get to it but once I got started? I couldn’t stop!

Like I said, I’m not used to reading a lot of poetry. Let alone a book in verse. I didn’t know what exactly to expect going in. I definitely didn’t expect to have the writing influence my reading the way it did.
Every poem had this very specific effect on me because of the way it was formatted. Either I felt like I had to read it more slowly, or in a more normal speed, or as fast as I could like I needed to hurry up. Some poems even had me trying to read faster and more slowly at the same time! Experiencing that, was.. very unique? I don’t even know how to explain it exactly. I guess if you read The Poet X yourself, you probably get what I’m trying to say here, haha.

X, our main character, is one I truly admire. She’s portrayed amazingly through her poems. You see her. No excuses, no bullshit, no smoke and mirrors. She can’t hide anywhere and that’s amazing. You feel what she’s going through, how she sees things and it’s so very easy to understand her and connect with her.

The tough subjects are definitely present in this book. I wrote down a bunch, then wrote my review and went through some other reviews to add to them. There’s simply that many, some I overlooked or didn’t even realize because I was so drawn into the poems.
In any case, you should know that there’s a lot of things present that might be triggering, like I mention at the top of this post. But overall The Poet X is about finding yourself and finding the strength to speak up and be heard. About respecting yourself and fighting for others to respect you as well. A battle that’s never easy, for anyone.

I always knew poems had power but Elizabeth Acevedo proved to me, once again, exactly how powerful they can be. She uses this story to encourage people to use their voices and I absolutely love her for it.

It’s about any of the words that bring us together and how we can form a home in them.

I think it’s fairly obvious this is a book that leaves a mark on people reading it. It did on me. The unique format combined with the message it contains is one not to be underestimated. Although I can’t say I’ll add it to my favorites, it’s definitely one of my favorite books when it comes to these subjects.

Have you read books with unusual formatting? What did you think of them?

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