May Book Haul

When I was gathering up the books that I'd acquired in May I was thinking there were only a few. Uh, *fourteen* books later... LOL It happens, right? ;-)

These come from a variety of sources: some I purchased myself, some were "car show books" (I explained that in this post) and some were from The Bookworm Box. But they all have something in common: I'm happy to add them to my bookshelves!

Nowhere But Here - Katie McGarry
Katie McGarry is an auto-buy author for me and I'm really excited for this one, the first book in her newest series.

Making Faces - Amy Harmon
This has been on my TBR for quite a while and I already have it on my Kindle. But knowing what I do of it, and seeing the ratings and reviews on GoodReads, I just know I'm going to love it so I wanted a physical copy. I'll be reading this one soon!

Bad For You - Abbi Glines
Abbi is another auto-buy author. Love her writing, love the Rosemary Beach series, love her. This one is actually part of the Sea Breeze series which I plan on marathoning soon.

Seth and Greyson - Jessica Sorensen
This one is part of Sorensen's Coincidence series, another one that I plan to marathon.

After - Anna Todd 
Yes, I had mixed feelings about After (and the whole After series) and I would not have purchased this on my own, but it came in my May Bookworm Box. Still cool to have a signed edition!

Confess - Colleen Hoover
Do I have to even say anything about this one? :) One of my favorite books of the year so far. I bought a copy when it came out in March and was thrilled when I received a signed edition in my May Bookworm Box. What a treasure!

Never Never Part 2 - Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Never Never is being released in three novellas so I'm waiting until all three have been released so I can read them back to back.

The One - Kiera Cass
This is the third book in The Selection series. I met Kiera at Yallfest last year and she is just the sweetest! I hope she is there again this year so I can get this one signed.

All Played Out - Cora Carmack
I just love Carmack's Rusk University series! The first two books were so much fun and I'm really excited about getting Torres and Nell's story.

Kiss the Sky - Krista and Becca Ritchie
Part of the Addicted series which I love so, so much. I've already read this one (on my Kindle) but I can definitely see myself re-reading it (and the whole series) at some point. Love these characters, love the series.

Sweet - Tammara Webber
I first read Easy by Tammara Webber in 2013 and it became an instant favorite. It is *not* your typical new adult. It has such depth and tackles an important subject while still packing a wallop with some seriously swoon-worthy romance. Sweet is the third book in the Contours of the Heart companion series and I cannot wait to read this one.

What I Thought Was True - Huntley Fitzpatrick
I bought this one kind of on a whim when I was at Barnes and Nobel while on vacation. I was in the mood for a good YA contemporary and I've heard great things about Fitzpatrick.

The Assassin's Blade - Sarah J. Maas
Part of the Throne of Glass series, The Assassin's Blade is a collection of 5 novellas that all take place before Throne of Glass. I'm looking forward to reading these before I move on to Crown of Midnight. #TeamChaol

Cress - Marissa Meyer
Book 3 in another series that I am so ready to binge read. Everyone raves about the Lunar Chronicles series and I definitely feel like I am missing out!

So that's it... all the new beauties that came home with me in May. How about you? Have you read any of these? And what books did you add to your collection in May? Let me know in the comments below... I'd love to hear!

Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

Colleen Hoover does it again. I don't know *how* she does it, but I'm so glad she does.

Some secrets should never turn into confessions.

Confess is the story of Auburn. A woman who, at the young age of 20, has dealt with loss and separation and is focused on making things right. 

Confess is the story of Owen. An artist. And a man who grieves for not only those he's lost but also the one that remains. 

There are people you meet that you get to know, and then 
there are people you meet that you already know.

It's hard to say a lot about Confess because the story is based on so many secrets and details that are not initially revealed. But I will say that I was so completely invested in the characters and this story. My heart ached for them, I laughed with them, I was outraged for them. At one point I put the book down and started mentally begging Colleen Hoover to fix this and make things right.

I simply love the way Colleen tells a story. It's not just laid out before you like a buffet. It's fed to you, bite by bite, piece by piece, slowly being revealed. You know there's more to the story, but it's presented layer by layer and it makes the reading experience that much better.

"I'm scared I'll never feel this again with anyone else."

"I'm scared you will."

While I don't want to say much more about the plot of Confess beyond the book synopsis (it would be a crime to ruin a single moment for anyone), I will share what I love about it. I love that Colleen managed to make my cry within the 8-page prologue. I love the humor and the banter between Auburn and Owen. I love that I felt every emotion depicted within its pages: despair, happiness, confusion, excitement, grief, love, jealousy, fear. I love Owen Gentry and his selflessness. And I love that the last chapter made my heart hurt and sing at the same time.

"I love you so much." His voice is breathless and full of fear. 
"I'll love you forever. Even when I can't."

My tears fall harder at his words. "And I'll love you forever. 
Even when I shouldn't."

The Bookworm Box: April & May

Colleen Hoover is my favorite author. She writes realistic characters and emotional stories like no one else. I haven't even read all her books yet because I want to savor them. Make them last. I own them all, but dole them out to myself sparingly, like priceless little nuggets. Which they are. If you go to the Review Archive you'll see more books by Colleen Hoover than any other author. 

And it's not just Colleen's books that I love. Because as a person she is just as impressive. She is humble and kind and generous. Last year she hosted book giveaways every single day of the year. But Colleen's generous nature wanted to give on a larger scale and that's how The Bookworm Box came to be. Colleen started a monthly book subscription service where 100% of the profits after overhead costs are donated to a different charity each month. Colleen started this from her home and fulfilled orders herself along with the help of her sister, mom and others. The response was incredible and several thousand dollars was raised in the very first month (March 2015). Since then interest has only grown, more money has been raised for charities, and The Bookworm Box will soon have a retail space in Sulphur Springs, TX. I just ordered for the third month in a row and have loved every box. I love what Colleen is doing and will definitely continue to support her efforts.

So I thought I would share what comes in The Bookworm Box(es). In the first couple months there were two boxes offered each month - the featured box and an indie box. Starting in May this was streamlined and now there is just one box offered.



In April's indie box I received Deep Blue Eternity by Natasha Boyd. (Not everyone receives the same book(s).) I am so excited to read this one! There was also some fun book swag. Bookmarks, a pen, and a CD from Griffin Peterson. If you've read Maybe Someday by Colleen you'll know that Griffin is who she collaborated with to create all the songs featured in the book. (Fun fact: Griffin is also the cover model on Losing Hope.)



When I opened April's featured box I think I actually gasped. I had one of those "this must be fate" moments. Because included in the box was none other than My Favorite Book of All Time. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. To have this beautiful edition of the book - SIGNED - made me positively giddy. I mean, wow. Just. Wow. Also included was Jacked by Tina Reber. Tina is a new (to me) author and this book has fantastic ratings/reviews at GoodReads. What a fun way to discover a new author!


I just received my May box yesterday and was *so* excited to open it. I swear, yet again kismet was at work. A signed copy of Confess! Color me happy! I happen to be reading Confess right now so I now have two copies. At some point I'll do a giveaway for the extra copy. :) The second book was After by Anna Todd. Sooo, yeah, I had quite a love/hate relationship with the entire After series but still... pretty sweet to have a signed copy!

I'm already looking forward to June's box and it hasn't even shipped yet. If you're a book lover, The Bookworm Box is such a win-win situation. You get two books (signed by the authors) and book swag every month PLUS you're doing a good thing by supporting some deserving charities. 

You can find more info about The Bookworm Box and how it works HERE.

Top 5 Wednesday: Debut Novels

Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at GingerReadsLainey.
Click HERE for a complete list of participants.

 #5 - Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Here's a great example of not judging a book by its cover. I expected as fairly light and fluffy YA contemporary but what I got instead was a very heartfelt portrayal of a young man returning from Afghanistan and dealing with all that he experienced there. There's grief and guilt and PTSD. But there's also humor and romance and hope. Beautiful story, beautiful writing, and an amazing debut novel.

#4 - Leo by Mia Sheridan

When I was deciding on which books to include in my Top 5 I was actually surprised to learn this was Mia Sheridan's debut novel. Never would have guessed it. I just read this one a few months ago and was hooked from the very first page. Mia has a writing style that is just so easy but so emotional. I've since read Leo's Chance and will definitely be reading more from her.

#3 - On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

I read On the Island right after it came out in 2012. I can't even remember how I came across it. It might have been the cover that initially pulled me in, even before the synopsis. I devoured it quickly and then proceeded to sings its praises to anyone who would listen. :) I met Tracey at a book signing in 2013 and I loved getting to hear about her journey in writing and self-publishing her debut novel.

#2 - Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Katie McGarry is right up there with my favorite YA authors. Pushing the Limits was Katie's debut novel, and the first in the Pushing the Limits companion series. And it remains my favorite. So often when reading through an author's catalog you can see a progression in their writing. With Katie, she started out so strong that the first books are every bit as well-crafted as the most recent. In PTL, Katie created two characters (Noah and Echo) that made my heart hurt and I just wanted to fix everything for them. And it doesn't hurt that Noah is one super-dreamy book-boyfriend. <3

#1 - Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Without a doubt, the #1 spot goes to Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I knew her first as a YA author and I read the wonderful Eleanor & Park. And then I discovered she wrote adult contemporary as well. Rowell's debut novel was just... divine. It was clever and charming and laugh-out-loud funny. She has such an incredible gift with dialogue. It's smart and witty and always rings true. I remember finishing Attachments and feeling as though Rainbow Rowell had given me a perfect little gift. Just talking about it makes me want to read it again. If you haven't yet discovered the joy that is Rainbow Rowell, do yourself a favor - go read Attachments. It's okay, you can thank me later. :)

Review: City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6)

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

What a long, wild ride it's been. It's been 4 years since I read City of Bones and now, five books later, we come to the end of the story. For the most part City of Heavenly Fire truly delivered and all the feels were there.

Just a heads-up before I begin... I don't want to have to hide the entire review because of possible spoilers for the previous five books so if you're reading this review I am assuming you've already read up to CoHF. If not, consider this fair warning: there *will* be spoilers for the previous books here but no spoilers for CoHF.

CoHF picks up not long after City of Lost Souls ended and Jace is still dealing with the Heavenly Fire that courses through him. The Silent Brothers cannot remove it, Jordan is trying to help him control it, and meanwhile Clary is the only one that can touch him. Meanwhile, Sebastian is at large and no one knows what his next move will be.

After a shocking attack, the Shadowhunters retreat to Idris to regroup and determine a strategy to fight against Sebastian and his Endarkened army. But Sebastian is always several steps ahead and even Idris is no longer a safe haven. The attacks continue, betrayal is everywhere, surprising alliances form, and the story carries us from New York to Alicante to the Seelie Court and all the way to the demon realms. And all are prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to end Sebastian's reign.

"Jace," Clary said, and put her hand on his arm. 
He didn't move away from her, but he didn't react, either. 
She dropped her voice. "You can't save everyone," she said.

"Maybe not," he said as the light in his hand dimmed. 
"But it would be nice to save someone for a change."

The changes in the third person POV worked so well in CoHF. It was important to get the full story and this allowed us to see perspectives of not only Clary and Jace but also Simon and Maia and others (even the Seelie Queen herself). It enabled us to see what was happening outside of Idris while the Nephilim were closing ranks there.

It was a surprisingly quiet sadness, for Jace, and when 
he spoke at last, his voice was surprisingly quiet too. 
"I just wish," he said, not looking at her but at the floor, 
"that I could say the right thing, do the right thing, to make 
this easier for you. Whatever you want from me, I want to do it. 
I want to be there for you in whatever the right way is for you, Clary."

When it came to the relationships, CoHF did not disappoint. No matter your TMI OTP - Clace, Malec, Sizzy - there was something for everyone. So many intense moments for each couple - some sweet, some hot, some utterly heartbreaking. Admission time: I've never been a huge fan of Simon and Isabelle, or Simon in general (ducks to hide from all Sizzy shippers) but Simon truly came into his own here and I had such respect for him. And there were moments with he and Izzy that definitely tugged at my heart. Kudos to Cassie Clare for that. It took me six books, but I finally warmed to Simon. There, I've said it.

The humor is still in abundance. So many laugh out loud lines. Particularly between the guys - Jace & Simon, Alec & Jace, Simon & Alec. But the great lines aren't limited to the guys...

"Is our strategy when we actually see him still 'trust me,' by the way?"

"It's still 'trust me','' Jace said.

"Oh good," Isabelle said. "For a second there I was worried there 
was going to be an actual plan with, like, steps we could follow. 
You know, something reassuring."

And one of my favorites:

"We will stand bravely with you!" Malcolm announced. 
Catarina looked darkly at him and he quailed. "Well, we 
will stand bravely near you. Or at least within earshot."

Throughout CoHF I had so many theories of what would happen, so many ideas of how things would develop. Some were right; some were completely off-base. But one constant was that I had no idea how Sebastian would be defeated. He seemed so clever, so powerful, and so willing to do the unthinkable... it made him seem undefeatable. There were so many intense scenes and so many times where I was struck by his cruelty and utter lack of compassion. Favorite characters were put in terrible situations and forced to make impossible choices.

"I just wanted to say that you don't always have to be all right. 
I asked you to be my parabatai because I needed you, but you're allowed to need me, too. This" - he indicated his own parabatai 
rune - "means you are the better, other half of me, and I care 
about you more than I care about myself. Remember that. I'm 
sorry I didn't realize how much you were hurting. I didn't see it
 then, but I see it now."

I have just two minor quibbles and one is a major spoiler so it can be read here.  My only other issue is all the set-up that was included for the upcoming Dark Artifices spin-off series. The story concerning Emma and the Blackthorn's wasn't truly necessary for the plot and I felt its only purpose was to serve as a launching pad for the next series.

CoHF does an amazing job of bringing everything together at the end. Cassie Clare provided a conclusion that was so satisfying and the last chapter was simply a joy to read. Seeing the threads that connected The Infernal Devices trilogy to The Mortal Instruments series was just sublime.

Review: One Tiny Lie (Ten Tiny Breaths #2)

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

I buddy-read One Tiny Lie this month with my friend Hope. She is so incredibly sweet (and has great taste in books!) and I highly recommend checking out her BookTube channel HERE.

I read Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker several months ago and was simply *blown away* by it. It was one of those books that was so much more than I was expecting. I was instantly excited at finding a new (to me) author and the prospect of several more companion books in the series.

One Tiny Lie picks up three years after the events in Ten Tiny Breaths and follows Livie as she pursues her dream of attending of Princeton. She is pushed by both her sister Kacey and unconventional therapist Dr. Stayner to break out of her shell and push herself to try new things. Before classes even start that includes a toga party, many Jell-O shots, a tattoo she can barely remember getting... and a run-in with campus sex-god/captain of the rowing team, Ashton. There's also Connor, Ashton's sweet and charming best friend who is everything Livie thinks she *should* want. So why is it Ashton that she is continually drawn to and feels a connection with?

I loved the progression of Livie's relationships with both Connor and Ashton. Tucker really excels at creating incredibly realistic and believable characters, so much so that I truly felt for them and at different times wanted to either hug them or throttle them. Livie was following a life plan that had been set in motion years before and had never once questioned if it was what she really wanted. With Dr. Stayner's insistence that she question her choices, and through trial and error, she begins to chart her her own course.

Despite my love for the characters, I did have some issues with OTL. Part of it was Livie herself. I understand that a large part of her story was for her to push her boundaries, try new things, and decide who she really wanted to be. But her switch from responsible good girl to one who was drinking at every gathering (often to the point of impairment) seemed completely out of character. Some might say it was just part of the college experience, but knowing that Livie's parents died because of a drunk driver, and then Livie being witness to Kacey's years of drinking following the accident, it just didn't seem to fit that Livie would so quickly and easily become the "I'm going to pound back a few drinks" kind of girl.

In addition to some of Livie's actions, my other issue (or maybe just slight disappointment) was that OTL seemed to be lacking the depth that I found in TTB. Yes, there were issues at play here but boyfriend angst seemed to be the number one driving force. In fact, it was another character's background, not Livie's, that had me most intrigued and truly had my heart hurting.

Even though this one didn't quite match TTB for me, I still thoroughly enjoyed the story and I loved both the new characters and the inclusion of those from the first book. Mostly I just love K.A. Tucker's writing and her ability to draw me right in and make me care for her characters. I'll definitely be continuing on with this series.

Note: One Tiny Lie is the second book in a series of companion novels but can be read as a stand-alone.

Review: After Ever Happy

Find it here: GoodReads | Amazon

There were several times throughout this series when I thought, what am I doing? Why am I subjecting myself to this? Life is too short. But, like the book crack it is, it kept me just hooked enough to keep coming back for the next fix. Plus, after slogging through the 2,104 pages of the first three books... no way was I giving up now. What's another 500 pages at this point? I'm no quitter. :)

Up until about the 90% mark, I was having the same issues that I've had in the three previous books. Namely, unlikable characters who belong anywhere but together. Hardin continued to be a total d-bag and Tessa was one of the weakest female characters I've ever read. And the fact is, an author is doing something terribly, terribly wrong when I find myself cheering when it appeared they had broken up for good. Sad, but true.

But I will say that the last 50 pages or so were an improvement. There was *finally* an element of character growth and I found myself enjoying the evolution of their relationship. The jumps in the timeline kept things fresh and the peeks into the future were actually interesting and (dare I say?) heartwarming.

This book series is repetitive to the extreme and the angst just keeps on coming but there was enough there to keep me interested/mildly entertained enough to complete the series. But should Anna Todd continue to write, it's very doubtful I would seek out anything else by her.

(Most Cringe-Worthy Moment: At one point Tessa referred to she and Hardin as Hessa. Yes, Anna Todd actually went there. She had her own character refer to her relationship using its fandom portmanteau. No. Just no.)