Birthday Book Haul

Hello lovelies! Last week on January 14th I turned 28 and I was absolutely spoiled by my family and friends. They all made my day so special considering it was yet another lockdown birthday here in Canada. My brother gave me the most thoughtful gift and brought me to Indigo that weekend to buy me whatever book I wanted and one of my best friends sent me an Amazon gift card (which obviously I used for Kindle books). So here’s my little birthday haul from last week!

Jade City by Fonda Lee

The Kaul family is one of two crime syndicates that control the island of Kekon. It’s the only place in the world that produces rare magical jade, which grants those with the right training and heritage superhuman abilities.

The Green Bone clans of honorable jade-wearing warriors once protected the island from foreign invasion–but nowadays, in a bustling post-war metropolis full of fast cars and foreign money, Green Bone families like the Kauls are primarily involved in commerce, construction, and the everyday upkeep of the districts under their protection.

When the simmering tension between the Kauls and their greatest rivals erupts into open violence in the streets, the outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones and the future of Kekon itself.

Not Pretending Anymore by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

Finding a good roommate through a classified ad isn’t as easy as it sounds.

I was starting to lose hope.

Until a knock at my door came and God answered my prayers.

Except…uh…wrong prayer, God.

I’d definitely requested the big guy find me a drop-dead gorgeous man on more than one occasion…just not as my roommate.

Declan Tate talked me into interviewing him anyway.

While he was amusing and charismatic, I wouldn’t have been comfortable living with a man, so I regretfully declined.

Then cupcakes showed up at my door—freshly baked by Declan and just as sinfully delicious as he was.

You could say he was persistent.

I eventually folded. It wasn’t like I had another viable candidate anyway.

Plus, I was interested in someone else. And Declan was into another woman. So it wasn’t like anything would happen romantically.

After he moved in, the two of us became the best of friends. We even started to give each other advice on getting our crushes to notice us.

Eventually, Declan concocted an idea: we should pretend to be a couple to make our love interests jealous.

I was hesitant, but went along with it anyway. To my utter shock, his crazy plan worked.

Now I was dating the supposed man of my dreams, and my best friend had the woman of his.

But there was one problem.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Declan.

Those feelings we were trying to fake?

Yeah…I wasn’t pretending anymore.

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets.

With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.

Bunny by Mona Awad

Samantha Heather Mackey couldn’t be more different from the other members of her master’s program at New England’s elite Warren University. A self-conscious scholarship student who prefers the company of her imagination to that of most people, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort–a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other “Bunny,” and are often found entangled in a group hug so tight it seems their bodies might become permanently fused.

But everything changes when Samantha receives an invitation to the Bunnies’ exclusive monthly “Smut Salon,” and finds herself drawn as if by magic to their front door–ditching her only friend, Ava, an audacious art school dropout, in the process. As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into Bunny world, and starts to take part in the off-campus “Workshop” where they devise their monstrous creations, the edges of reality begin to blur, and her friendships with Ava and the Bunnies are brought into deadly collision.

Enemies Abroad by R.S. Grey

It’s simple: Noah Peterson and I are enemies. Our fellow teachers know it, our friends know it—even the Starbucks drive-through lady knows it since every Monday she scrawls the name A. Hole for me on Noah’s cappuccino when I pick up the weekly group order.

The shrill whine of the school bell announces the start of each day’s no-holds-barred grudge match. Since neither of us is looking to get fired or thrown in prison, we war with our words and our wits. We prefer banter that bites. All day, I’m on edge, looking around every corner, expecting him to do his worst. Just when I think I can’t take the sight of his (regretfully) handsome face for one more minute, the school day is done.

Summer usually offers the sweetest relief—a two-month Noah detox—but not this year.

“We need two volunteers to chaperone a group of eighth graders in Rome” becomes a game of chicken neither one of us is willing to lose. We both want that bonus check.

“Back out,” I tell him.
“Scared?” he taunts.

No one thinks it’s a good idea for us to go to Rome together, least of all me. Taking this battle abroad will only lead to mayhem and misery.

DING. Ladies and gentlemen of flight UA447 with service to Rome, fasten your seatbelts.
We’re bound to have a bumpy ride.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: The Mirror Man by Lars Kepler

Can't-Wait Wednesday

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Wishful Endings, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s book that I’m looking forward to is The Mirror Man by writing duo Lars Kepler. I saw Crime by the Book mention it on her Instagram story this morning and call it a “dark and creepy serial killer thriller.” I was instantly intrigued so I went to check out the synopsis. 5 minutes later I had it pre-ordered from Indigo.

Title: The Mirror Man

Author: Lars Kepler

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Publication Date: January 18, 2022

Indigo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Seventeen-year-old Jenny is abducted in broad daylight and taken to a dilapidated, isolated house where she is chained and caged along with several other girls. Their captor is unpredictable, and as wily as he is cruel: he foils every one of their desperate attempts to escape . . . and once caught, they rarely survive their punishment.

Five years later, Jenny is found dead in a public park, and the police are scrambling to find a lead among the scant evidence. But Detective Joona Linna realizes that this murder has an eerie connection to a death that was declared a suicide years before. When Mia, a seventeen-year-old orphan, goes missing, it becomes clear to Joona that they are dealing with a serial killer–whose murderous rampage has just begun.

As the police close in on the killer, Mia and her fellow captives are plunged into ever greater danger, and Joona finds himself in a seemingly impossible race against time to save their young lives.

Cover Reveal: Falling Embers by Catherine Cowles

Title: Falling Embers
: Catherine Cowles
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 12, 2022

Amazon | Apple | Nook | Kobo

I’ve loved Calder Cruz from the moment he taught me how to fly. Racing down a mountain and giving me the release I so desperately needed. My understanding. My safe space.

Hadley has fought for a life of her own ever since her sister’s kidnapping. When she was drowning in expectations and family pressures, Calder was always the one who understood her.

Until one night changed it all. From best friends to strangers in a single breath.

She’s like a fire that lives inside me. Even when I thought it was all burned out, there were still embers that lived in my bones.

Calder knows what it’s like to almost lose the people he loves most. He’ll never make that kind of mistake again. Working at the fire station and taking care of his daughters are the only things he needs.

All it takes is a single moment to make him realize how wrong he is. A split second of coming close to losing the woman he has always loved.

But as long-buried embers light anew, there are those who lurk in the shadows. And they’ll do whatever it takes to extinguish that flame for good…

About Catherine Cowles:

Writer of words. Drinker of Diet Cokes. Lover of all things cute and furry, especially her dog. Catherine has had her nose in a book since the time she could read and finally decided to write down some of her own stories. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring her home state of Oregon, listening to true crime podcasts, or searching for her next book boyfriend.

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December 2021 Wrap Up

Hello lovelies! I’ve reappeared out of thin air once again to post my December wrap up. December was actually a decent reading month (6 books!!) and I read some absolute gems so I thought I’d pop in and share them with you guys.

1. The Package by K. Bromberg (5 stars)

Christmas week can’t get any worse for Jules Jilliland.

Dumped by her boyfriend, rear-ended on the freeway, and fired from her job, she finds herself stuck in an elevator with a handsome stranger.

When their packages are accidentally swapped, will it end up being a misfortunate accident that suddenly brightens her holidays?

2. Jess by Lana Dash (3 stars)

I need some serious rest and relaxation after completing a major acquisition at work that’s consumed most of my life for the last year. I’m turning off my phone, heading out to my family’s lake house, and taking with me a pile of romance books I’ve been meaning to get around to reading but I haven’t yet. I thought I would have the place to myself, but after I arrive, someone from my past walks into the cabin and back into my life. Will we be able to survive the weekend together without driving each other crazy?

I thought I’d have the place to myself, but I’m shocked when the fiery redhead from my past is standing in front of me. I never thought I’d see her again. We’ve both changed so much, and yet there is still something simmering under the surface between us, no matter how much she tries to fight it. I’m ready to show her the man I’ve become, but will she accept what I have to offer?

3. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (4 stars)

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

4. The Detour by K. Bromberg (5 stars)

Bestselling author, Harley Humbug, needs an escape.
From the current state of her own love life.
From her deadline she blew past weeks ago.
From Christmas that’s just around the corner and the bad luck it usually brings with it.

When a snowstorm causes a road closure, she chalks it up to one more thing to go wrong.
Little does she know the detour will take her to a town she never knew existed, and right into the path—and possible arms—of a man who might just be her real-life muse.

5. Eight Winter Nights by Liz Maverick (3.5 stars)

Last year, Rachel Bacharach met the man of her dreams at a Hanukkah party — and then her outgoing best friend Tamara swooped in and “called” Oz Caplan for herself. It’s a typical outcome for the dependable, bookish Rachel, who is never able to extinguish the spark she immediately felt for Oz. But being secretly in love with her best friend’s boyfriend all year hasn’t been easy.

As this year’s party approaches, Oz and Tamara break up. It’s a worst-case scenario when Oz asks Rachel to help him write Tamara love letters to win her back in time for their Hanukkah anniversary. Rachel’s been writing love letters to Oz in her journals for a year; she knows all the words he would need. But will Rachel be able to hide her true feelings from Oz any longer? And might this year’s party finally be Rachel’s chance to trust her heart and put everything on the line for love?

6. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson (4.5 stars)

She flees on her wedding day. She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection. She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father. She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia escapes to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Pet Peeves


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature over at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s theme is bookish pet peeves. Apparently I have quite a few… I’m sorry.

1. Stickers printed onto the book

You know those stickers that say “Now A Netflix Movie” or “Reese’s Book Club Pick” that look like stickers you can peel off but are actually printed on the cover? That’s what I mean. I literally do not care about any of those things. There’s no need for them to be permanantly ruining the cover.

2. Stickers that leave a sticky residue

And then when books have regular stickers, there are so many of them that leave a gross sticky residue when you peel them off. Why. WHY.

3. Cover changes in the middle of a series

Ok. Yes. Sometimes the cover changes are for the better. Remember the original Throne of Glass cover? But most times you just end up stuck with some books having the old covers and some having the new ones and then nothing matches.

4. When the spines don’t match

This is even worse. Because it’s one tiny detail but it’s all you can see from the bookshelf.

5. Deckled edges

I can’t stand the feeling of deckled edges.

6. Stepbacks on any book that isn’t a historical romance

Stepback are only acceptable on historical romances. That’s it. It’s like a second cover. A nice surprise. When it’s on any other genre of book, it’s a quote page. Hard pass. No thank you.

7. Being interrupted while reading

There is nothing that grinds my gears more than being interrupted on my lunch break. I usually put in my headphones even though I’m not listning to music to drive the point home that I am not to be bothered. I still get bothered.

8. When the synopsis happens later in the book

After a certain point, if the main event in the synopsis hasn’t happened… it’s a spoiler.

9. “Miscommunication” trope


10. “Love as the cure to mental health problems” trope

Being in love is a wonderful feeling. Knowing you’ve been with the love of your life is great. But I hate books that use love as the cure to mental health issues. Love is incredible and it can make you feel so happy and give you strength and make you function better than you were before. But it’s not going to cure you.