ADULT, ARC, BOOK REVIEW, Book Reviews, CONTEMPORARY, Fantasy, HISTORICAL FICTION, New Adult, RETELLING, Sci-fi, Wrap Up, Young Adult

February Wrap Up | 2020

Hello bookworms! I’m Nia and today I’m going to be talking about the books I read in February.

February was a pretty great reading month for me. I read some amazing books that are definitely a favorite of this year, and others I didn’t love them as much. I still need to post some reviews, so please be patient with me, but hopefully I’ll write them soon.

As always, I’ll be leaving a synopsis of each book I’m going to be mentioning, in case you’re interested in any of them.

Without any further ado, let’s start with this week’s topic!

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The Poppy War | R.F. Kuang

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My review: I’ll be publishing a review of this book shortly, so stay tuned if you want to know my thoughts about it.

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When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

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The Dragon Republic | R.F. Kuang

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My reviewI’ll be publishing a review of this book shortly, so stay tuned if you want to know my thoughts about it.

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In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

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The Hand on the Wall | Maureen Johnson

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.5

Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph . . .

She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.

At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.

Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.

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Infinity Son | Adam Silvera

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My reviewI was so excited to read this book because I’ve enjoyed most Adam Silvera’s books that I’ve read, and this sounded like something that was going to be so much fun and a quite an unique concept for him, so I was pretty curious to read and know my thoughts about it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the story and ended up DNFing it halfway through because I knew it wasn’t going to get better, and by that time I was pushing myself to continue reading it.

The thing about Infinity Son was that it had a great start. There was an action packed scene at the very beginning of the book and an introduction to these magical world and creatures, and I was so interested immediately. However, I found that the world building was so lacking as you kept reading, and there wasn’t any explanation of the magic nor the creatures, and there came a point where not only I was confused but also I was bored because nothing was really happening and the story became quite repetitive.

When it comes to the characters, not only they didn’t stood out to me, but also I kept mistaking the two protagonists’ POVs. None of them had a very unique or different voice or personality, and I couldn’t tell them apart. Also there wasn’t anything particularly interesting going on in neither perspective, so that only made me distance from what was going on in the story.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with Infinity Son. I had such high expectations and I thought I was going to love it, but unfortunately I didn’t click with the story nor the characters, and ended up putting it down.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.

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Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

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The Midnight Lie | Marie Rutkoski

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My review: I’ll be publishing a review of this book shortly, so stay tuned if you want to know my thoughts about it.

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Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.

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We Unleash The Merciless Storm | Tahlor Kay Mejia

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.5

My review: I was so excited to read this sequel because I really enjoyed the first installment, and it ended in quite a high note, so I had to know what was going to happen next. I went into it with pretty high expectations, and though I overall ended up enjoying it, I think this book had the second book syndrome, because not much was going on, and I wish I’d known more things about the characters.

One issue that I had with We Unleash the Merciless Storm was that the first half of the story was pretty much irrelevant. There was basically no plot besides Carmen trying to save Dani, and I just wasn’t fully engaged in the story until the second half, where it started to get so much better and the pacing was faster.

Though one of the main focuses of the novel was La Voz and everything they were trying to do, I feel we didn’t get to see much about it. It’s true that we learnt a few things about the organization, but they weren’t much and given the fact that it was a second book, I expected to see a much more complex view of that.

The characters however, were my favorite part. I adored Dani and Carmen’s relationship, and I was so glad we got to see them together again (though I wish we’d gotten more scenes of them together!). There were a lot of cute scenes and interactions between them though, and I really enjoyed the evolution each of them had throughout the novel, and the path they were following.

The ending was a bit predictable, and though the second part was definitely my favorite because the plot started to develop and things made more sense, but I have to admit that I just wasn’t the biggest fan of that revelation, because I think we didn’t get to see much depth of that character and their reasons weren’t convincible enough for the reader.

Overall, though I had some issues with We Unleash the Merciless Storm and it suffered from second book syndrome, I still enjoyed it. It was super fast paced and I remembered a lot of things from the first book, so it didn’t take me long to get into the story.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.

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Being a part of the resistance group La Voz is an act of devotion and desperation. On the other side of Medio’s border wall, the oppressed class fights for freedom and liberty, sacrificing what little they have to become defenders of the cause.

Carmen Santos is one of La Voz’s best soldiers. She spent years undercover, but now, with her identity exposed and the island on the brink of a civil war, Carmen returns to the only real home she’s ever known: La Voz’s headquarters.

There she must reckon with her beloved leader, who is under the influence of an aggressive new recruit, and with the devastating news that her true love might be the target of an assassination plot. Will Carmen break with her community and save the girl who stole her heart—or fully embrace the ruthless rebel she was always meant to be?

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | Taylor Jenkins Reid

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My review: I’ll be publishing a review of this book shortly, so stay tuned if you want to know my thoughts about it.

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Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

When she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now? Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

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Bone Crier’s Moon | Kathryn Purdie

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My review: I cannot express how excited I was to read Bone Crier’s Moon. I’ve read a book by this author before and even though I had mixed feelings about it, I had such high expectations when it came to her most recent book, so I expected to love it. Unfortunately, though the premise sounded absolutely fantastic and like something I would definitely enjoy, I just wasn’t the biggest fam of the characters nor the romance.

The thing about Bone Crier’s Moon was that the first couple of chapters really caught my interest, and I found it was quite easy to get into it, but as I kept reading the book I became less and less engaged with the story, sadly. I found that there weren’t answers to most of the questions asked, and though I understand it was the first book in a series, I still was expecting certain things to be addressed.

Unfortunately the world building and the magic system were so lacking. To be honest, I think the magic was so cool and interesting, but we as a reader didn’t learn how it worked or its limitations, and there were certain times when I was so confused and didn’t really understand what was going on or how that system worked. And it happened the same with the world, which was a bit of a bummer because I think it would have made such an intriguing book if done differently.

When it comes to the characters, I have to be honest and say I wasn’t impressed. They were very stereotypical and clichéd and a bit underdeveloped. There wasn’t anything that made them stood out to me or different from any other character that I’ve read before. I don’t know, they were all very generic and plain, and I was expecting much more from them.

The book was told from three point of views, and I have to say that I just only enjoyed one of them. I think that the others didn’t add much to the story and they were so uneventful that I was bored while reading about those characters, and most of the time the interactions between them were so awkward and cringey.

Another thing I just wasn’t a fan of was the romance. There was no chemistry whatsoever between our protagonist and her love interest, and I just didn’t believe that romantic relationship. Their dynamics felt so off and the romance was so rushed and insta lovey that I couldn’t care less about them.

Overall, Bone Crier’s Moon had a very interesting concept but sadly I didn’t like how it was executed. The characters could have been more complex and their relationships more real and raw, and the pacing was quite slow and uneventful until the very end of the book where there were a lot of predictable revelations.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.

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Bone ​Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.

Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.

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Scavenge the Stars | Tara Sim

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.75

When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.

Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…

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If I Never Met You | Mhairi McFarlane

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My review: I admit I’m a sucker for anything that has to do with fake dating, so when I knew about this book I immediately added it to my TBR, and I was so excited to pick it up and was waiting for the perfect moment where I was craving some romance. And to be honest, I’m still a little bit on the fence about it, because there were things that were so good and I was really loving them, and others that I wasn’t the biggest fan.

Like I mentioned before, I still don’t know how I feel about this book, because even though there were certain things that I really enjoyed, I had quite a few issues with the story, or more likely with how the story was done and things that were missing. First of all, the thing that I loved the most was the romance. I really adored the love interest and the chemistry he had with our main character, and how slow burning the romance was. The dynamics between them were really well written and basically I love me a good trope, and I think this was well developed.

The only thing was that it felt so short. I had the feeling that even though the romance was a pretty important part of the novel, there wasn’t enough of that romance for me to call this book a contemporary romance story. It started quite late so by the time they got together there wasn’t enough time for the reader to ship them entirely.

My other issues were related to the plot. Although I was pretty impressed that it had a solid plot, it felt a little bit over the place sometimes. There were times where the tone of the book suddenly changed from being that funny and fast paced to a darker one, and it dragged at certain points.

When it comes to the characters, I think that the two main ones were actually pretty well written but the side characters were so underdeveloped. Even though we got to see a lot about our protagonist and her love interest, and got to know them throughout the story, I feel like the side characters only appeared to help the main character with something or to stir some drama, which was a bit of a lackluster.

Overall, there were some parts of If I Never Met You that I really enjoyed and wish I’d seen more, and there were others that I had my issues with. I still think that it was an entertaining book and fast paced.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.

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If faking love is this easy… how do you know when it’s real?

When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.

Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend…

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Be Not Far From Me | Mindy McGuinnis

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My review: I’ve said plenty of times that Mindy McGuinnis is an auto-buy author to me, because she has a way of writing things that I honestly adore and so I went into it with pretty high expectations, and I have to say that even though this wasn’t a topic I tend to reach in contemporary stories, I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this book.

First of all, I have to mention her writing, because it is absolutely fantastic. She has a way of describe things and characters in such a different but unique way that it is one reason why I always end up deciding to pick up more of her stuff, because she tends to write about dark and realistic topics in a very engaging way, and that’s exactly what happened in Be Not Far From Me.

I would say that the content in this book was a bit more graphic that what I anticipated, because not only it describes her experience and survival in the woods alone, but also how she lived with a very severe injury, so it’s true that sometimes I was a bit overwhelmed by that gore content, but I think that it was to be expected, knowing the synopsis.

It’s true that because survival stories aren’t usually what I tend to reach often nor is my preference, I found that the book wasn’t exactly repetitive, but if we erase that exploration of our main character throughout the story and the evolution of her arc, there wasn’t much else. There wasn’t hardly any dialogue except for some flashbacks, which I sometimes missed a little bit, but I have to say that because it was such a fast paced story and I was at the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen to our main character, I didn’t get bored at any point, which is something that I deeply appreciated.

Also, I really loved the protagonist. It’s curious because Mindy McGuinnis writes about heroines that are so different from me, but somehow I ended up understanding them more than myself (sad but true). In this particular book I think she did an amazing job at creating this strong minded and resourceful character, who isn’t afraid to do anything that it takes to survive, and I admired that so much about her because there were times where I was reading it and thinking that if that were me lost in the woods and in her situation I’d have probably ended up dead.

Overall, I think Be Not Far From Me was such an interesting exploration on one’s individual and survival, and again she did such an incredible job crafting this main character and making her so raw and real that it would be so easy for the reader to relate and connect with her. I for sure will be picking up anything that she will write in the future, because not only she writes such unique stories but her writing is fantastic.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.

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The world is not tame.

Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof. So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine. Morning brings the realization that she’s alone – and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive despite the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.

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Whatever it Takes | Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie

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I HAVE A BAD REPUTATION.

Call me what you want: Bad Boy Next Door. Trouble. That Kid Who Can’t Do Anything Right.

When Willow moves into my neighborhood, nothing should have happened. She’s geeky. Shy. A true wallflower.

Willow is a good girl.
Too good for me.

And how the hell was I supposed to know that she’s related to Loren Hale–yeah, that douchebag celebrity that lives on my street. The same guy I’ve been pranking by spray painting vulgar words on his mailbox and worse. Much worse.

Don’t ask me why I do the things I do.
Don’t ask me why it had to be her.

I’m cursed. Simple as that. But here’s the thing about people who are cursed–they break everything they touch.

And yet. . .I still want to touch her.

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Yes, No, Maybe So | Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed

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My review: Even though I had a love/hate relationship with Becky Albertalli’s books, I was so excited to read this book because the synopsis sounded really cite and adorable, and though it took me quite a long time to finish it, I overall had a good time reading it and enjoyed the story.

It’s true that there came a point in the book where I was reading it purely because of the characters, because I didn’t really care about the politics or the subplots. I think it was clever and had some similarities to the real life and what is going on right now, so that was refreshing.

The characters were actually amazing. I adored our female protagonist and her personality so much. She was so smart and had such a bright personality, and I found myself connecting with certain things she was going through with her friendship and personal life. Also I really enjoyed the cute friendship (and later on romance) she had with our male protagonist, and how that was the star of the book.

Their friendship was so wholesome and I really enjoyed how real and slow burning it was, which was quite unlike a lot of other contemporary stories. Both of these characters had very interesting dynamics and their interactions were pretty well written and realistic.

My only complain was that there was something in the writing that didn’t click with me that much. I’ve had this same problem with Becky Albertalli’s books in the past, where I enjoy certain things but find her writing write juvenile and awkward, and this same thing happened to me in Yes, No Maybe So. There wasn’t a big issue and I still enjoyed the characters and the plot, but it was there.

Overall, I enjoyed Yes, No Maybe So and think it was a great mixed of plot versus characters, and it talked about more serious but important issues like racism in America and religion in a very respectful way, so that was something that I really appreciated.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.

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YES
Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state senate candidate—as long as he’s behind the scenes. When it comes to speaking to strangers (or, let’s face it, speaking at all to almost anyone), Jamie’s a choke artist. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

NO
Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is canceled, and now her parents are separating. Why her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing—with some awkward dude she hardly knows—is beyond her.

MAYBE SO
Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer—and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural romance of the century is another thing entirely.

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Lock Every Door | Riley Sager

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.5

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

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Wherever You Are | Krista Ritchie & Becca Ritchie

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I WILL RUIN HER.

You know that old saying “opposites attract” — well, no one ever tells you what happens after the attraction part.

Do opposites stick together forever?

Or do they just self-combust?

And then there’s the third option: someone or something forces them apart.

Look, the third option isn’t happening to us. I will end the bastard who thinks he can keep me from her. I only need to worry about one thing. . .

Epic, soul-crushing self-destruction.
Because I screw up everything I touch.
Even her.

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Frozen Beauty | Lexa Hillyer

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My review: Ever since I knew about Frozen Beauty I knew I had to pick it up, because I’m always looking for good mystery/thriller stories, and this sounded really great and right up my alley, but unfortunately I just wasn’t the biggest fan of this novel, and it ended up being such an unremarkable book to me.

My main issue was that the plot wasn’t as mysterious as I would have loved. It was more a suspense novel with a little bit of a mystery, but I just wasn’t engaged with the story at no point of the book, which is sad to say, but that was what happened. The plot dragged a lot throughout the novel, and the pacing was a bit off and sometimes there were a lot of things happening at once (mostly towards the ending) and other times literally nothing was happening (most of the novel).

Also, there was a lot of drama going on that took away that mystery the synopsis promised us, and the interactions between the characters were just so cringy and juvenile that it was pretty hard for the reader not only to empathize with our protagonist but also to understand them. The relationship between the sisters, which I thought was going to be explored throughout the story was barely addressed and we didn’t get to see that sisterhood between them or what was going on.

The ending was pretty predictable to me, and it was a bit anticlimactic. I was expecting to be al least a bit surprised, but once we reached that point I felt so disconnected with the story and the characters that not only I knew who the killer was beforehand, but also I didn’t care when everything was solved.

Overall, I had such high expectations and thought I was going to enjoy Frozen Beauty, but I ended up not liking it as much as I thought, and not only the characters were bland and childish, but there were two perspectives, and one of them didn’t add much to the plot, and I think things could have been solved way before they did.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.

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Everyone in Devil’s Lake knows the three golden Malloy sisters—but one of them is keeping a secret that will turn their little world inside out….

No one knows exactly what happened to Kit in the woods that night—all they have are a constellation of facts: icy blue lips and fingers cold to the touch, a lacy bra, an abandoned pick-up truck with keys still in the ignition. Still, Tessa, even in her fog of grief, is certain that her sister’s killer wasn’t Boyd, the boy next door whom they’ve all loved in their own way. There are too many details that don’t add up, too many secrets still tucked away.

But no matter how fiercely she searches for answers, at the core of that complicated night is a truth that’s heartbreakingly simple.

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Pucked Off | Helena Hunting

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I’m NHL defenseman Lance Romero, AKA Lance “Romance.”

I’m notorious for parties and excess. I have the most penalty minutes in the league. I get into the most fights. I take the most hits. I’m a player on and off the ice. I’m the one women with no inhibitions want.

Not because I like the notoriety, but because I don’t know how to be any other way.

I have secrets. Ones I shared with the wrong person, and she used them against me. Sometimes she still does. I should cut ties. But she makes it difficult, because she’s the kind of bad I deserve.

At least that’s what I believed until someone from my past gets caught up in my present. She’s all the good things in this world. She lights up my dark.

I shouldn’t want her.

But I do.

I should leave her alone.

But I won’t. 

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Pucked Love | Helena Hunting

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As an NHL player, relationships haven’t been my thing. Shrouded in secrecy and speculation, they never last very long. But then that’s what happens when you require an NDA before the first date.

Until Charlene. She’s like a firefly. She’s elusive, and if you catch her she’ll burn bright, but keeping her trapped dulls her fire and dims her beauty.

I caught her. And as much as I might want to keep her, I’ll never put the lid on her jar. Not at the risk of losing her. So I’ve let her set the rules in our relationship.

But as long hidden secrets expose us both, I discover exactly how fragile Charlene is, and how much I need her.

We’re all broken. We’re all messed up. Some more than others. Me more than most.

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Flow | Kennedy Ryan

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In 8 years, Marlon James will be one of the brightest rising stars in the music industry.
Bristol Gray will be his tough, no-nonsense manager.

But when they first meet, she’s a college student finding her way in the world, and he’s an artist determined to make his way in it.
From completely different worlds, all the things that should separate them only draw them closer.

It’s a beautiful beginning, but where will the story end? 

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Grip | Kennedy Ryan

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Resisting an irresistible force wears you down and turns you out. I know. I’ve been doing it for years.

I may not have a musical gift of my own, but I’ve got a nose for talent and an eye for the extraordinary. And Marlon James – Grip to his fans – is nothing short of extraordinary.

Years ago, we strung together a few magical nights, but I keep those memories in a locked drawer and I’ve thrown away the key. All that’s left is friendship and work.

He’s on the verge of unimaginable fame, all his dreams poised to come true. I manage his career, but I can’t seem to manage my heart.

It’s wild, reckless, disobedient. And it remembers all the things I want to forget.

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Still | Kennedy Ryan

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I’ll be there.
Through thick and thin.
Ride or die.
You can count on me.

The promises people make. The vows we take.
Assumptions of the heart.

Emotion tells us how we feel, but life… life has a way of plunging us in boiling water, burning away our illusions, testing our faith, trying our convictions.
Love floating is a butterfly, but love tested is an anchor.

For Grip and Bristol
Love started at the top of the world
On a Ferris wheel under the stars
But when that love is tested, will they fly or fall?

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Girl in Luv | Jay Crownover

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Langley Vaughn is in desperate need of a date.

But not just any date.
She’s looking for a date to the wedding from hell. It isn’t every day you’re forced to be in the bridal party while your first love marries your arch nemesis… otherwise known as the world’s worst stepsister. The entire situation is a nightmare, and Langley is sick and tired of taking orders and forcing a fake smile. She’s done being the bad guy when she was the one who was wronged.

She needs to find a date who’s not afraid of her family’s money and someone who is willing to shake things up. She needs someone outside of her normal social circle, someone ready to go to war with the well-to-do. She needs someone who won’t back down. Someone willing to play the complicated game of tug of war she’s been engaged in with her family for years.

Never in a million years did she think she was going to stumble across her very own heroic heartthrob when she set her crazy plan in motion.

Not only does Iker show up for her time and time again, he also forced her to finally fight for herself.

He says he’s only there for the money… but his actions speak so much louder than his words.

Iker Alvarez would do anything and everything to get his hands on some quick cash.

Not just any cash, but enough to make sure his younger brother gets into the college of his dreams.

Thank goodness for a desperate, pretty little rich girl with too much money and her heart set on an outrageous scheme. Being in the right place at the right time might just be the answer to both of their prayers — and this smart soldier has never let a golden opportunity slide by.

Iker doesn’t mind coming to Langley’s rescue and being her plus-one… as long as the price is right.

Only, he didn’t plan on liking the blonde socialite as much as he does. He is totally unprepared for the pull he feels toward her, coupled with his growing desire to protect her from the vultures and villains living under the same roof.

He wants to be the guy who keeps her safe and gives her the courage to fight back that she obviously needs… But someone else, someone far more powerful and influential than Langley’s wealthy family, has dibs on Iker’s time and on his future. He knows he isn’t the guy Langley can count on in the long run, but damn if he doesn’t want to do everything in his power to be that man.

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Angry God | L.J. Shen

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Vaughn Spencer.
They call him an angry god.
To me, he is nothing but a heartless prince.
His parents rule this town, its police, every citizen and boutique on Main Street.
All I own is a nice, juicy grudge against him for that time he almost killed me.
Between hooking up with a different girl every weekend, breaking hearts, noses and rules, Vaughn also finds the time to bully little ole’ me.
I fight back, tooth and nail, never expecting him to chase me across the ocean after we graduate high school.
But here he is, living with me in a dark, looming castle on the outskirts of London.
A fellow intern. A prodigal sculptor. A bloody genius.
They say this place is haunted, and it is.
Carlisle Castle hides two of our most awful secrets.
Vaughn thinks he can kill the ghosts of his past, but what he doesn’t know? It’s my heart he’s slaying. 

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Discretion | Karina Halle

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The Riviera means indulgence—if you’ve got money. For Sadie Reynolds, a down-on-her-luck student, the Riviera means dingy hostels and back streets. When a wrong turn puts her in jeopardy, the last thing she expects is to be saved by the most handsome stranger she’s ever locked eyes with. When she later wakes up in a luxury suite with a Mediterranean view, she’s in the tender care of her rescuer: Olivier Dumont, France’s most eligible bachelor, billionaire hotelier, and heir to the Dumont fashion fortune.

Olivier also owns his reputation for scandal. But Sadie is unlike any woman he’s ever met. Her humble persona and wild innocence promise real passion. He’s promising Sadie something too: anything she wants. From Bordeaux to Cannes to Paris, Sadie’s past in America is swept away and replaced with a fantasy too good to be true.

Pulled into Olivier’s orbit of wealth, glamour, and excess, Sadie discovers that the Dumont dynasty comes with a legacy of wicked secrets. And Olivier’s secrets may be the most damning of all…

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What books have you read lately and which one has been your most and least favorite? Have you heard about any of these books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “February Wrap Up | 2020”

  1. You’ve got some interesting romance choices, nice list, I’ve shared with a friend who would love it!.

    Loving your site so far!
    Keep up the good work 😄

    Like

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