WWW Wednesday #98 | July 29, 2020

Blogger rolled out their new interface this morning and so far I'm... undecided. Aesthetically it's pleasing, but in practical terms I guess it will take some getting used to. For those that switched over earlier, what do you think?



Currently reading: I'm really enjoying Want You to Want Me. And I'm especially loving this slow burn between Nolan and Gabi. Sixty percent in and there hasn't even been a real kiss yet. But the chemistry/tension is off the charts so when it finally happens it's going to be good. :)
Current progress: 60%

Currently listening: I've been low-key interested by Sierra Simone's New Camelot trilogy since it first released a couple years ago. I read some good reviews at the time and when I was browsing Hoopla the other day I saw they had American Queen on audio. I'm kind of over the flashbacks and really want the story to move forward at this point, but I'm really intrigued about what's to come.
Current progress: 16%

If possible, Soulless was even darker and grittier than the previous books in the King series. And I ate it up. While I didn't connect with Bear and Thia quite as much as I did with Doe and King, I was still fully invested in where the story went and it was seriously one wild ride. And that jaw-dropping ending definitely has me ready to continue the series. 


No idea what's up next. I might start the next book in the King series, All the Rage, but I could just as easily pick up something light and fluffy. It all depends on how I feel at the time. #moodreader

What are you currently reading?
I wanna know! :)

Top Ten Tuesday: The Books That Hurt My Heart

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: 
The Books That Hurt My Heart

I love emotional stories. Sure sometimes I O.D. on the angst and have to seek out some happy fluff in order to remove the dark cloud over my head, but then I'm right back at it. I love a book that that can put me through the wringer, letting me experience the gamut of emotions. From joy and hope to pain and heartbreak. When an author can take me on a journey that has me feeling All The Things and reduces me to a puddle of tears - I'm so there.

So what does that say about me? I'm sure a therapist would have a field day with that, but that's a whole other post for another day. In the meantime, here are the books that hurt my heart... and I loved it.

This one is probably obvious, but the list wouldn't be complete without it. Much of The Nightingale was a tough read but by the time I got to the end my heart was broken and I was a puddle of tears.

When it comes to making my heart hurt, Morgan's story did that big time. Her pain seemed to bleed off the page and I felt a physical impact while reading it. 

This may seem like an odd addition - a random book from a YA paranormal series - but the Lux series happens to be my favorite YA paranormal series (how's that for specific?) and Opal was the one that about did me in. There were several scenes that had me blinking back tears and the ending was so shocking and so "no, this can't be happening!" that it definitely makes this list.

The Bronze Horseman has to be the gold standard (see what I did there?) for heartbreaking books. Set during the Siege of Leningrad, main character Tatiana suffered. My heart hurt over and over again... and that ending! *wails loudly*

Krista and Becca Ritchie are one of my favorite writing duos and they are masters at creating characters who are so realistic you feel like you know these people. And when they're in pain, I'm in pain. Daisy and Ryke experienced loss (and the frightening possibility of loss) in Long Way Down and I was right there with them.

Living Dead Girl was a short but powerful story about a girl who was abducted at the age of 10. Now 15, her abductor talks more and more of her death. Her life at the hands of the pedophile was so bleak that she viewed death as a welcome escape. This isn't a story for the faint of heart and it left me feeling pretty disturbed.

While Goodnight, Nic did have a super swoony romance, it also dealt with loss and grief. Nic's grief was so overwhelming that it was impossible not to grieve right along with her.

It's been almost six years since I read Ugly Love and I still haven't recovered.
Ugly Love = ugly cry

Sweet, precious Archer. One of my favorite fictional characters ever. His story broke me. The more that was revealed, the more my heart hurt for him. 

I'll Meet You There is one that made a huge impact on me. It's one of those unforgettable stories that became an instant favorite. And while both characters have strong, poignant stories, it was Josh's story that made my heart hurt. His struggle to adjust to his new normal after serving in Afghanistan made me want to do anything possible to take away his pain and give him peace.

Have you read any of these books?

The Sunday Post #218

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • It was a busy week and the blog kept getting relegated to the back of the line. But there was that one post so... winning.
  • The RNC that was being held in my city has been cancelled. Why thousands of people would want to flock to Florida, a COVID hot spot, is beyond me. But I'm happy there won't be an influx of people to my city next month.
  • I became obsessed with organizing my pantry yesterday. Two hundred dollars in baskets and bins and jars later... it's almost done. I have now fallen down the rabbit hole of organization on Pinterest and want to (over)organize every nook and cranny in my house. Send help.
  • This week's 80's music fix is Dance Hall Days (1984) by Wang Chung. There's a line in the lyrics that I misheard for years. My version made no sense but then again the actual lyric doesn't make much sense either.

 Wednesday, July 22
WWW Wednesday #97




How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!

WWW Wednesday #97 | July 22, 2020

It's been a week of shifting gears back to working from home. And a busy week at that. So much so that I skipped Top Ten Tuesday yesterday and almost skipped today's post. But, even though it's already almost noon, I figured why not

In other fun news, here in Florida there have now been almost 380,000 confirmed cases of COVID, and deaths due to the virus are at a record high (118 in one day). But hey, let's host the Republican National Convention and send all the kids back to school. Good times! *continues to beat head against wall*


Currently reading: I'm almost done with Soulless and Bear and Thia's story is about to do me in. I thought the previous 3-4 books were messed up, but this one is just... what's a term for even more messed up? LOL I love how Frazier doesn't shy away from taking it there but I can also see how this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. (And it's definitely something I have to be in the mood for.) But I'm totally into the story and I'm nearing the end so I can't even imagine what's to come in the big climax. Gah! 
Current progress: 90%

Listened to: I just finished Boyfriend Material this morning and I. Loved. It. This is one of those books that just seemed to have everything going for it and it was checking all my boxes. From the dry humor, the clever banter, Luc and Oliver, the stellar side characters, the story arc, the romance, the issues it tackled... it all combined to make for one stellar read.

After four books in a  row from T.M. Frazier, I think it's probably time to take a small break from the depraved underbelly of humanity. LOL I think I'll pick up the ARC of Want You To Want Me next and enjoy some low-drama romance instead. :)

What are you currently reading?
I wanna know! :)

The Sunday Post #217

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • There are now four confirmed positive COVID cases at my office and it was announced Friday that effective immediately the company is reverting back to mandatory WFH (work from home). I'd had no contact with any of those who tested positive so I am not overly concerned, but it's still disheartening. Cases here in Florida continue to climb and climb and the state/local officials continue to refuse to take any substantive measures to stem it.
  • In other devastating news, I haven't been able to find my Diet Cherry Vanilla Coke Zero in several weeks. This is tragic. If they have quit making it I will be driven into a deep period of mourning.
  • This week's 80's music fix: I was all about synth-pop in the early 80's and Don't Go (1982) by Yazoo was one of my favorites. Alison Moyet's voice was so deep and husky and gorgeous.



I've been listening to Boyfriend Material on audio and I'm telling you, it is bringing me absolute joy. This book... where has it been all my life? I decided I needed a physical copy for the times I need an immediate Luc+Oliver fix.

How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!

Short Take Reviews x 5: 4 Contemporary Romances + 1 YA

Here's a handful of quick reviews that are something of a mixed bag. A few were really enjoyable but a couple were not so great, including, I'm sad to say, an arc I had high hopes for. They can't all be winners! If you've read any of these, let me know what you thought... I'd love to hear.


by Devney Perry
After loving Perry’s The Coppersmith Farmhouse, I was excited to return to the small town of Prescott, Montana. Nick and Emmy shared one wild night in Vegas which ended with a spontaneous wedding. But the next morning Nick was gone, leaving Emmy hurt and confused over what had happened and why he left. Flash forward nine years and Emmy, who has come to Prescott for a fresh star, runs into none other than Nick. While the story depended on the reader believing in Nick and Emmy’s near instant connection and the fact that they still carried a torch for each other almost a decade late, I was more than willing to roll with it. Perry managed to have me so firmly onboard the Nick & Emmy love train that even Nick’s insistence that she was his wife (which, technically she still was) had me swooning instead of rolling my eyes. When drama arrived at their doorstep I was so invested that I was turning the pages as fast as I could. While I didn’t love this one quite as much as the first book, I was still all-in for Nick and Emmy’s story. (The Clover Chapel is the second book in the Jamison Valley series but can easily be read as a standalone.)

by Corinne Michaels
Come Back For Me, the first book in the Arrowood Brothers series, had the perfect set-up for Declan and Sydney’s story so I was excited to learn their background and watch how they reconnected. Declan and Sydney had been Declan+Sydney since they were kids. The best friends/lovers were a perfect match – until Declan abruptly broke things off and walked away. Years later, forced to return to his childhood home for several months, Declan had to face the fallout from his actions. There were times when I wanted to throttle both characters for keeping secrets, and their back and forth started to feel a little repetitive, but in true Michaels fashion, she made me care. And when the real emotional scenes came, I was right there, dabbing my eyes and forgetting all about wanting to throttle anyone, and just wishing for a happy ending. (While it’s not necessary to read Come Back For Me first, the brothers’ background is explained a lot more in that one and would probably help make sense of Declan’s decisions and actions.)

by Natasha Madison
Hailey seems to have the perfect life – until her husband is killed in an accident and she learns that he wasn’t only her husband. He had another wife - and children. Devastated, she retreated to a beachside home to lick her wounds. Jensen (totally digging that name) was married to his high school sweetheart and thought his whole life was mapped out until his wife walked out on him and their daughter. When a new woman moves into the house he built for his ex it raises his hackles and the sparks fly. There’s no other way to say it: Jensen was a total dick at the beginning of the book. The way he treated Hailey was pretty atrocious and uncalled for. To Hailey’s credit, she didn’t just take it and she let him know what she thought of him. Eventually they did find common ground in their shared losses/betrayals and a relationship grew from there. Their story was mostly drama-free which I appreciated, but I also didn’t feel much of a connection with either character or their relationship. Even so, I appreciated their openness and honesty with each other and the ease they had together. Jensen’s daughter was totally cute and it was heartwarming to see the bond grow between her and Hailey.   


by Claire Contreras
The Player was a bit of a mixed bag for me. Warren was an international soccer star at the top of his game and Camila was a mere mortal who lived in NYC and worked for a non-profit. A chance meeting had Warren desperate to get in her pants during the two weeks he’s in NYC. So yeah, that felt like the entire premise for at least the first half of the book. Eventually they started spending time together and some real feelings started to develop but it took so long for there to be anything substantial to their relationship that it was hard to feel invested. As much as I liked Warren, Camila was hard to take. She had a total bias against anyone with money and was hung up on social class/standing. It was maybe a bit understandable considering her past but she took it to an extreme. And she played hard to get for so long I couldn’t understand why Warren persisted. When a secret was revealed late in the story, Camila overreacted and used it as an excuse to push Warren away (even her sister tried to reason with her), and Warren’s grand gesture, while huge, felt undeserved and as if he was the only one compromising. As much as I liked Warren and his story, Camila wasn’t particularly likable and that made it hard to pull for her.

by Megan McCafferty
I had such high hopes. I mean, it’s a book set in 1991 and is practically an ode to late 80’s/early 90’s pop culture (90210, Designer Imposter perfumes, Wilson Phillips and Color Me Badd). And it’s Megan McCafferty, the creator of the Jessica Darling series (which, by the way, never got the attention it deserved). But I’m sad to say, The Mall just didn’t do it for me. Main character Cassie was quite a pill. Cassie was wallowing in post break-up status and absolutely oblivious to anything or anyone around her. She was super judgey about everyone she encountered and behaved like a total brat with her parents. So there was that. It’s the summer between high school graduation and college and Cassie was meant to be spending it working with her longtime boyfriend at America’s Best Cookie. Instead, he cheats on her, they break up, and she gets fired (I never did understand why she got fired.) She finds a job at another mall shop, working with her former bff, and gets pulled into a bizarre scavenger hunt while continuing to be whiny and self-indulgent. By the end it seemed like she supposedly learned a lesson from the other mall-ites she encountered which felt too after-school-special for me. I’m bumping this one up by a half-star sheerly for the nostalgia factor of all the 90’s references. (Side note: The 90’s setting, while fun, seemed like an odd choice considering that anyone old enough to actually remember and appreciate the references is much older than the intended YA audience.)

Have you read any of these books?

WWW Wednesday #96 | July 15, 2020

Yesterday I DNF'd an audio book that wasn't working for me.
Sad face.

But then I started an audio book that I instantly fell in love with.
Happy face.

Even though I didn't have a burning desire to read Get a Life, Chloe Brown (I just wasn't on the hype train for this one #sorrynotsorry), my library had the audio version available so I decided to give it a go. The overall narration wasn't bad - I didn't love it but it was okay - but the voice the narrator used for Chloe's sister Evie was awful. We're talking nails on a chalkboard. Screechy and cartoonish and I just couldn't do it. So, goodbye annoying narration! Maybe I'll try Get a Life again at some point but it definitely won't be on audio. 

Things turned around immediately when I started my next audio book. It was love at first sight listen! See what it is right down there ↓.



Currently reading: Last week I read King and Tyrant and I was so hooked that I kept right on going with the third book in the series. I was happy to find that Lawless is Bear's story. He's kind of messed up after what happened to him in Tyrant but I'm guessing Thia will help heal that. 
Current progress: 42%

Currently listening: It was practically love at first listen with Boyfriend Material. From the first chapter I was hooked and completely charmed. The writing is so snappy and so clever and it's the kind of humor that just does it for me. Luc is kind of a hot mess and I can't wait to see where things go with Oliver.
Current progress: 17%

Read: Having already read one by Frazier (The Dark Light of Day) this year, I knew that she gets dark. And since that's what I was in the mood for, I picked up King, which has been sitting on my shelf for at least 3-4 years. I was totally hooked on both King's and Doe's story and the way it ended had me jumping up and running for the second book. 

Listened to: The Player ended up being an okay read/listen but nothing that thrilled me. I liked Warren but never warmed to Camila. She was completely hung up on money and social status and it was annoying. She could also be whiny and self-pitying and I just wasn't there for it. But I did like Warren and the overall story was entertaining enough so there was that.

Read: Tyrant was the continuation of King and Doe's story and if things were intense in the first book they were amped up times ten in this one. Frazier definitely isn't afraid to go there. 


I'll either continue my binge-read of the King series with Soulless or, if I need a break, I'll pick up my ARC of Want You To Want Me.

What are you currently reading?
I wanna know! :)