Love and Other Words

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

love and other words book by christina lauren
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Author: Christina Lauren

Published: April 10, 2018

Goodreads rating: 4.22/5

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book or any other book on Amazon, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

My Mini Review:

I knew as soon as I started to read this book that it would break me, but in a good way. The characters met at the same age my husband and I met, and I knew I would be getting flash backs to our own story the whole time. I was surprised to find so many similarities in our stories, but I was glad we didn’t struggle so much to reach our happy ending. I’m used to laughing out loud in all Christina Lauren books, and this one had its funny moments, but there was a more serious tone to the story. The main characters, Elliot and Macy, dealt with issues such as grief and post traumatic stress. Both their characters had amazing character arcs and they were beautifully developed. I highly recommend this book to all Romance and Women’s Fiction fans.

Series I Need to Start

There are a lot of series I need to finally start. I have the first books from various series just sitting there on my shelf. Let me know in the comments which one of these I should definitely read next!

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

1. We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya, #1) by Hafsah Faizal

we hunt the flame by hafsah faizal
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Goodreads rating: 3.8/5

This is one of those books that was inside one of my book subscription boxes. I don’t even know which one, because it was so long ago. It has decent reviews on Goodreads, but I just haven’t had the time.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

2. The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

city of brass book one of the daevabad trilogy by s.a. chakraborty
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Goodreads rating: 4.15/5

I’ve heard so many great things about this one. It has been recommended to me over and over by all Fantasy lovers, but somehow I’ve put off starting it. I’ve seen the excited posts on Instagram from those finally getting their copies of the third book in the series The Empire of Gold, which was just released June 11th.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

3. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

Picture from Goodreads. Buy on Amazon.

Goodreads rating: 4.25/5

I know, I know, have I been living under a rock? Somehow I grew up with Harry Potter and not Percy Jackson. Now that the new T.V series is about to be released, I really need to get to reading these.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

4. The Bromance Book Club (The Bromance Book Club, #1)

the bromance book club #1 by lyssa kay adams
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Goodreads rating: 3.95/4

I’ve had friends who have read this one and really enjoyed it. I need to start it soon when I’m in one of my light romance moods. The reason I put a lot of these series off is because I’m a major mood reader and I have to be in the right kind of mood.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

5. Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

ninth house alex stern #1 by leigh bardugo
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Goodreads rating: 4.07/5

I love Bardugo’s YA/Fantasy series, so when I saw she was publishing an Adult/ Fantasy I pre-ordered it immediately. I then decided not to read it due to some trigger warnings about rape. I had a friend who read it some time later and she said that the rape scene was not too descriptive and it was necessary to the story. The book has been sitting on my shelf since then, and it probably will be until Bardugo announces a sequel, because she has so much on her plate that I doubt she has even written one.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

6. Get a Life Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1) by Talia Hibbert

get a life chloe brown by talia hibbert
Picture from Goodreads. Buy on Amazon.

Goodreads rating: 3.85/5

I recently added this series to my TBR after reading some glowing reviews on Instagram. I really like the premise of the story, and that the main character Chloe makes a list that she thinks will help her “get a life.” I’m interested to see if she will follow through with her list. The second book in the series Take a Hint Dani Brown was just released June 23. I hope I can catch up with this one soon.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamorous family’s mansion. The next items?

• Enjoy a drunken night out.
• Ride a motorcycle.
• Go camping.
• Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
• Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
• And… do something bad.

But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Author: Christina Lauren

Published: September 4, 2018

ISBN: 1501165852

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

My Review:

I fell in love with Christina Lauren’s writing after reading their book The Unhoneymooners. Josh and Hazel’s story was full of all the humor and laugh-out-loud moments that I’ve come to expect from their writing. I’ve added most of their books to my TBR after reading this last one. I feel like all these books would make great romantic comedy movies one day.

Hazel reminded me of Louisa Clark, one of my favorite Contemporary female characters from the novel Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes. She was so full of life, and so unapologetically herself. She dressed how she wanted, and was not afraid to speak her mind.

Josh was down to earth, and so sweet. His OCD reminded me a lot of myself. Except, I honestly don’t know if I would ever be able to deal with someone like Hazel. Although I feel like you don’t really “deal” with Hazel, you just suffer through and hope you survive in one piece.

I enjoyed how realistic the story was, full of awkward moments, and a lot of romantic tension. I admit I did not expect a lot of the plot twists, and they kept me very engaged and invested in the characters’ futures. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all Romance fans, and to readers who just need a feel-good book along with some good laughs.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

Call It What You Want

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer is a Contemporary/ YA novel involving two teenagers Rob and Meagan. Rob is living with the consequences of his dad’s actions, while Meagan is dealing with the repercussions of her own mistakes and those of her sister Sam.

People love finding the weak link that makes them feel superior.”

Sam

I usually try to avoid Contemporary, because good Contemporary fiction always ends up making me cry. But Kemmerer wrote this one so I just had to read it. Kemmerer paints such a vivid picture of what it’s like to a be a High Schooler that it brought back all my horrible High School memories. I hated High School. Emotions are so real in this story, and by real I mean not described in flowery detail, but in basic and deeply relatable terms.

My life has collapsed to the point where a ninety-nine-cent cup of coffee with a stranger is meaningful”

Rob

Another thing I liked about this story was Kemmerer’s inclusion of other books I love, like An Ember in the Ashes and Harry Potter. Call It What You Want is the only book that has ever made me add another book to my “to be read” list. She kept mentioning all these books I love, so when she mentioned Winner’s Curse I had to add it.

One choice doesn’t determine your whole future.”

Sam

I appreciate authors who can branch out into other genres and still write amazing stories. I loved A Curse so Dark and Lonely by her, which was Fantasy/ YA, and Call It What You Want definitely lived up to all my expectations as well. I would recommend this book to all Contemporary/ YA fans. This book delves into hard topics such as suicide, underage drinking, and abortion, amongst others. Overall, the main lesson I took from this story was that everyone is fighting their own battles and not everything is black and white. Real people live in the gray areas.

Sometimes when we’re trying to protect the people closest to us, doing the right thing doesn’t always look so clear.”

Maegan’s dad

This book released today June 25th. I hope you guys have time to check it out.

Many thanks to Bloomsburry and Netgalley for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Potential Guilty Pleasure

Last week I talked about my guilty pleasures, when it comes to certain books and authors. These are books that I have to be in a certain mood to enjoy. A few months ago I read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and I can see her books starting to become my new guilty pleasures.

Picture from Goodreads

I loved her writing. Her characters were so grounded and real. The story was uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. It gave me all the feels. Even though I knew what would happen because I had seen the movie, the book was really different. Emilia Clarke did a great job in the movie though, and I couldn’t help imagining her as Louisa while I read the book.

I did not continue reading the books that come after Me Before You, because I felt like that story line was over and no other books needed to follow it. But, I will definitely be reading some of her other books. I have added The Peacock Emporium to by TBR list, and I can’t wait to be in the mood to read it.

Have you read any of her books? Any you would recommend?

My Guilty Pleasures

Do you have a certain genre that is not your usual cup of tea, but once in a while you just feel like reading one of those books? For me, it’s any book by Nicholas Sparks or J.R Ward. I know those two shouldn’t even be in the same sentence together, but hear me out.

And though you may call me a dreamer or fool or any other thing, I believe that anything is possible”

Noah -The Notebook

The last Nicholas Sparks book I read was Every Breath, and I was just in a light romantic mood. These are the only times I can read his books. Honestly, I don’t like how every main character always has daddy issues, but I do like the beach settings and I always find meaning in his work. My favorite books of his are The Notebook and The Longest Ride. Both movies were also great, but of course never as good as the books. By the way, The Notebook has been one of the only movies that made my husband cry (that and Marley and Me .p.s. if you love dogs just don’t put yourself through that). We are both hopeless romantics at heart, and this is why I have a soft spot for Nicholas Sparks books.

It’s strange, I think, the way our lives turn out. Moments of circumstance, when later combined with conscious decision and actions and a boatload of hope, can eventually forge a future that seems predestined”

Ira -The Longest Ride

My next guilty pleasure is J.R. Ward books. I came across my first book of hers when I was leisurely browsing through a drug store book isle for something quick to read. It was the first book from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series called Dark Lover. Being just out of High School and still besotted with the Twilight series, I saw “vampires” in the description and I was sold. It turned out to be an awesome book. It was fast paced and entertaining, albeit full of alpha males and testosterone spilling all over the pages, but I loved it.

From then on I was hooked. Now, every time I am in the mood for something full of humorous dialogue and a lot of action, I pick up one of these. There are currently seventeen of these books by the way, along with a shorter spin off series called Black Dagger Legacy. Also, a warning that her books contain very explicit sex scenes.

What are some of your reading guilty pleasures?

Wicked -by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Wicked #1)

⭐️⭐️⭐️


When I started reading this book, I was really in the mood for something light, fun and entertaining, and this did not disappoint. The cover is gorgeous, and I was instantly drawn to it. Once I began, it was impossible to put down. This book is about twenty-two-year-old Ivy Morgan who is juggling college classes during the day and killing faeries for an organization called the Order at night. When Ren Owens joins the Order, Ivy finds herself paired up with him. Ivy, who is still hurting after the loss of her parents and her long-term boyfriend Shaun, struggles to resist her obvious attraction to Ren, while they both attempt to investigate the recent appearance of dangerous faeries called Ancients in the city of New Orleans.

Armentrout has a quirky way to describe her characters which makes it easy to immediately picture them in your mind. One of my favorite passages is when Ren calls Ivy “Merida” from Disney’s “Brave,” due to her unruly red hair and “kick ass hotness,” a statement which just makes her threaten to stab him. Another character who I found absolutely hilarious was “Tink,” a very dramatic brownie (tiny ken doll sized faerie with wings) who Ivy rescued and keeps as a “roommate” in her flat. I found myself laughing like a lunatic at work, earning me weird looks from my co-workers, and then there were further questions upon my sanity when I attempted to explain what I was laughing at. I’m going to go ahead and confess now that I might be a little biased when it comes to Ren Owens because I have a thing for green eyed guys, (my husband has green eyes), that said, Ren did not disappoint. I found his straight forward, no non-sense attitude very alluring. The playful banter between him and Ivy was also very entertaining to read. On a side note, this is not a book for those who are averse to foul language or explicit sex scenes, as demonstrated by my quote above.

There are some cons to this book. If you are looking for something deep and insightful then this is not the book for you. Having just gotten through “Flowers for Algernon -by Daniel Keyes” and “A Cure for Suicide -by Jesse Ball,” I needed some light reading in my life, and this is exactly that. Also, if you have read enough Fantasy books like I have, then you will find this plot predictable. I will not go into details about the plot because I don’t do spoilers. Let’s just say everything from the big secret reveal to the ending I was already expecting, but once again this is what I wanted from this book. I picked it up while in search for an entertaining story, some hot romance, and the fun dialogue I’ve come to love in Armentrout’s books, and it left me so satisfied that I’ve been putting off reading book two. The characters and their interactions were enough to keep me engaged until the bitter cliffhanger end.