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Monthly Wrap-Up – September

Life:

September flew by in a blur with our lives consumed with soccer and swimming!  I’m so happy to say that both of them are loving soccer!  And my oldest is now brave enough to go off the high dive at the swim center.  So now we get to watch both of our kiddos do synchronized jumping off the high and low diving boards, it’s hilarious and entertaining to watch!

And the end of September marks my favorite food season!  Summer is my favorite season, but fall has all the food filled with yummy pumpkin and pumpkin spice.  And in case you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with it.  Here’s a picture I posted on Twitter showing my latest shopping trip at Trader Joes, you can see it here.   And that’s only the beginning since I pulled out all my recipes for what I’m going to bake/make.  Now my husband is not a pumpkin fan.  But each year I’m slowly converting him, even if he’s rolling his eyes the whole time.  The best thing is I caught him two nights ago having a late night bowl of Pumpkin O’s (like Cheerios) muahahaha.

During our Monthly Wrap-Up we’ll take a look at what has happened around here in the last month.  That’ll include what we read, any other posts we may have had, giveaways still going and books that I’ve added to my ever-growing TBR.

♥ Enjoy!

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What We Read:

5 Stars:
Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel
Ninja Girl by Cookie O’Gorman
The Great Pursuit (Eurona Duology #2) by Wendy Higgins

3.5 Stars:
Thunderstruck by Brenda Drake
The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) by Roshani Chokshi

3 Stars:
The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

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Favorite Books of the Month:

Here’s the thing, I can’t choose between a Paranormal book and a Contemporary book.  They’re worlds apart and encompass so many different elements, so here are the two best books of the month –

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel (Jen’s Choice)
The creatures and curses were not only unique, but an eerie combination that at times terrified me.  There were so many moments of subtle humor that had me laughing out loud and kept a smile on my face.  And when you add to that characters that won my heart, well Black Bird of the Gallows easily became one of my favorite books from this year!

 

Ninja Girl by Cookie O’Gorman (Jen’s Choice)
If you adore YA romance that makes you smile, laugh and leaves you feeling oh so happy, then I highly recommend Ninja Girl!  And Adorkable too, if you haven’t read that one yet.

 
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Other Posts:

Our Most Anticipated Releases For September
TOP TEN TUESDAY – Books We Loved Before We Started Writing Reviews
TOP TEN TUESDAY – What’s On Our Fall TBR
BLOGIVERSARY + GIVEAWAYS – Our Favorite Female Leads
BLOGIVERSARY + GIVEAWAY – Our Darkest BBFs
BLOGIVERSARY + GIVEAWAY – Our Most Tortured BBFs

 

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Giveaways:

COVER REVEAL + GIVEAWAY – Brave (A Wicked Saga #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

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Added To My TBR:

Here are some of the books I added to my TBR in September.  I’ve realized that I always tend to add more books to my TBR than I’m able to read in a month lol.  And just a heads up – I don’t include books that don’t have a cover yet.

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Did you read any of the same books we did?  Or did we share the same favorite book?  If not, what was your favorite?  Or have you read any of the books I just added to my TBR?

Here’s hoping you all had a wonderful September and cheers to October being just as fabulous!

**Linked this post to the August Round-Up Link-Up at Feed Your Fiction Addiction**

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BOOK REVIEW – Ninja Girl by Cookie O’Gorman

BOOK REVIEW – Ninja Girl by Cookie O’GormanNinja Girl by Cookie O'Gorman
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Snow-Soon Lee kicks ass--literally. She teaches at her family-owned martial arts gym, The Academy, and cares more about training to be the next Bruce Lee than hooking up. In fact, Snow's never even been kissed. But when Girls Night rolls around, Snow decides to prove to her friends (and herself) that she's not just some boring tomboy. Impulsively, she kisses a hot stranger and even manages to escape his two security guards.

One stolen kiss…

Ash Stryker's senior year sucks. His politician father pulled him out of Chariot High, separating him from his championship-winning soccer team. Now he's stuck at a prissy private school with no friends, no team and no chance of being scouted. On top of that, thanks to the death threats his dad's received, Ash has a security tail aka professional babysitters. When the mystery girl from the movies shows up at his school, rappelling from the rafters, Ash knows one thing: he won't let her get away again.

One interesting job proposition…

After a seemingly random attack, Ash's mother surprises everyone. She hires Snow to be Ash's personal bodyguard until after the election. But can Snow's kick-ass skills hold up against the rising threats to Ash's family? More importantly, can Ash convince his ninja girl to screw ethics and kiss him again?

Opposites attract in this YA romance where a smooth talker meets his match in the tough girl who (literally) sweeps him off his feet. Moral of the story:

Sometimes even bad boys need a bodyguard.

Review:

Ninja Girl was the most adorable story ever.  Seriously, I can’t get over how cute it was!  I picked this book up because I fell madly in love with Adorkable, this author’s first release.  And now I’ve fallen just as hard for her second release, Ninja Girl.  So if you adore ya romance that makes you smile, laugh and leaves you feeling oh so happy, then I highly recommend Ninja Girl!  And Adorkable too, if you haven’t read that one yet.

“Alright, alright,” I shrugged. “You caught me. I’m here for you.”
“Me?” she said in surprise. God, she was cute when she was confused. “Why?”
I couldn’t resist. Leaning in close, my gaze locked on her, I plucked the eyelash from her cheek and blew it off my finger, loving the way her eyes widened. “I just wanted to see you, ninja girl. That so hard to believe?”

Now you have to know, I had already fallen for Ash Stryker in Adorkable.  So I was over the moon happy to hear that he was going to get his own book!  But things have changed since Adorkable ended.  Ash had to move to a new school.  And this one didn’t have a soccer team, soccer’s his passion in life fyi.  As if that wasn’t enough, his father had been receiving threats to get him to drop out of the Senate race.  So security guards had been hired to protect them.  And down the road, Snow would be one of them.

Turning, I said, “Listen, I’m sorry, okay? What happened at the movies was a mistake.”
“So, you’re saying you accidentally jumped into my lap and your lips just fell onto mine? Sounds like the best mistake ever.”

Snow-Swoon Lee met Ash for the first time at the movie theater, when he was with two of his security guards.  The other girls at the theater were making fun of her for being clueless about boys.  Snow knew she was inexperienced, but she wanted to show them she wasn’t as clueless as they thought she was.  So Snow literally dropped in, stole a kiss from Ash, and escaped from his security guards.  It was so fierce and brave, I loved it!  Her confidence over what she could physically do was amazing and made me so proud of her.  It was so easy to like Snow right away.

He looked up suddenly. “I think it’s a great idea.”
“You do?” I asked. “Good Lord, why?”
In answer, he simply shook his head. “Anything that involves you guarding my body can’t be all bad now, can it?”

From that one interaction, leads to more.  And after an attack, Snow got hired to guard and protect Ash at school.  And thanks to getting to alternate between the two of them, we got to hear how much Ash was interested in Snow.  He was determined to kiss her again, but with Snow taking her job seriously it wasn’t going to be easy.   So I kept wondering how Ash was going to get Snow to cave.

“You know, you’re kind of arrogant,” I said.
“And you’re kind of beautiful.” Ash smiled and nodded to the bar while I tried to recover. Who said things like that?

Thankfully Ash was beyond cocky and confident.  He knew exactly what he wanted, and that was Snow.  And Ash wasn’t afraid to let it be known.  So his attempts at even just talking with Snow had me cracking up while also sighing at the same time.  Ash was seductive while also being hilarious without even trying. And I quickly got caught up in his spell!  Granted he made mistakes at times, but I loved that he wasn’t perfect.  It made me love him and his faults that much more.

Min sighed. “Snow-Soon Lee, I love you and your violent ways. You’re the best friend a girl could ask for.”
I hadn’t known how much I needed to hear those words until she said them. “Love you, too, Min.”

Besides Snow and Ash there were so many other wonderful things in the pages.  Such as previous characters, since we got to see Sally and Becks *jumps up and down*.  Also I adored the side characters.  Snow’s best friends Min-Hee and Bae Bae had so much depth.  And if that wasn’t enough, I was shocked to find that I had sweaty palms during some moments.  Wheeeeee that was fun!

Ash Stryker was dangerous, I decided. The small jolts in my stomach could easily turn into a wildfire. I’d have to lock down my shields if I didn’t want to get burned.

So yes I definitely recommend Ninja Girl, plus Adorkable if you haven’t read that yet!  Or if you’ve read Adorkable and loved Ash then there’s a good chance that you’ll fall madly in love with this book too!  Cookie O’Gorman has officially gone onto my favorite authors list, and I can’t wait to read all of her future releases!

P.S. I’m going to throw out a huge random guess that the next book is about Sadie.  Fingers crossed.

BOOK REVIEW: The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

BOOK REVIEW: The Midnight Dance by Nikki KatzThe Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

I’m… not quite sure how to feel. On one hand, the writing was absolutely lovely, but I think the story was a bit of a miss for me personally, though that might be due to personal preferences! But let me say this first- this would make an incredible film! Can someone please make this into a movie? Thanksssss.

Penny is one of many dancers held up in the Master’s estate. At the beginning, she starts to realize her memories are off kilter and something is very wrong. Despite being drawn to the (very handsome) Master (the owner of the estate), Penny discovers he’s doing something to manipulate all the girls. (Sounds cool right?)

I was super into the first few chapters. The plot takes no time to dive you in deep, and I was totally into the whole Master concept. So much in fact, that I think it set my hopes too high for the end. I was expecting some majorly cool plot twists and while there were a few small ones, nothing really caught me off guard. So that’s probably my fault-my expectation levels with the whole mystery thing were sky high, so I was sad when there were no big surprises. I DID like the few small ones though. I also felt like there were quite a few loop holes, but it could be that I missed some important details.

The concept was strong, but the characterization fell a bit flat for me. The focus was much more on the present circumstances and mystery vs the character’s pasts or personalities, so I had a difficult time connecting to anyone, especially at the beginning. I get it, everything was supposed to be a mystery, but since the mystery aspect didn’t have many surprises, I just had a hard time with it.

The Master totally had ‘Darkling’ vibes, and I LOVED that bit, but he kinda disappointed me in the end. It was cool that we saw bits of his story in the past but it didn’t feel like strong enough motivation for him to become who he was. I’m SUPER particular about my villains though, so I doubt anyone else will feel the same.

Now I know that all sounds a bit negative, but trust me, those are all personal opinions that I doubt others will share. This book had MANY redeeming qualities. For instance, the setting was SO COOL and the writing (which I mentioned earlier) was absolutely lovely. While the mystery aspect was a bit of a let down for me personally, the story was still really cool and I really enjoyed several bits. I would definitely read another book by Nikki because she’s an extremely talented author.

So all in all, If you’re in the mood for a mystery/semi-thriller with hints of romance, check out this book!

BOOK REVIEW – The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) by Roshani Chokshi

BOOK REVIEW – The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) by Roshani ChokshiThe Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1)
by Roshani Chokshi
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

Review:

The words that spilled from the pages was breathtaking. The story that took place was beautifully enchanting. Yet every time I put the book down, I never felt the urge to pick it back up again. And I never once caught myself thinking about the story or the characters outside of reading. Which isn’t normal for me, at all. So I was left feeling torn towards The Star-Touched Queen. Since I’m stuck in the middle, here are some of my scattered thoughts about this uniquely, beautiful book –

✮ Fabulous world building –

I could glimpse the moon folding herself into crescents and half-smiles. When I looked up, I could imagine an existence as  vast as the sky. Just as infinite. Just as unknown.

The world building was fascinating, and I loved learning everything I could about Indian folklore. They were both richly described, and I felt as though I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to learn more. Those two elements were my favorite things about this book!

✮ I loved how fate and choices was a strong theme –

I pushed myself off the wall. I knew all the rumors, and I didn’t care to hear them again. Their words crawled over my skin. I wanted to shake off the insults, the laughter, the shadows. But all of it clung to me, thick as smoke, pushing out the blood from my veins until I pulsed with hate.

In the beginning, we learn that one’s fate and love revolves around horoscopes. And it’s taken as the literal truth. Which was awful for Maya, our main character, because her horoscope was viewed as horrific and tragic. It caused prejudice towards her, and others who had a less than desirable horoscope. But as the story progressed, we saw how not only fate but choices too played an integral part in the story and Maya’s life. It was fun watching everything unfold.

✮ Ambiguous scenes –


I see only night and smoke, dreams and glass, embers and wings. And I would not have you any other way.

There were moments where not everything was explained. And while those moments were filled with beautiful words, I was left with nothing to grip onto. I’d end the scene confused and left wondering what in the world just transpired?! Each time I tried to shrug it off and keep going. Which is a littler harder than it sounds, because I’m one who would prefer to have a solid understanding with what’s taking place in a scene. So I did struggle with this aspect.

✮ Not connected to the romance –

“My star-touched queen,” he said softly, as if he was remembering something from long ago. “I would break the world to give you what you want.”

I never connected to the romance. I liked Maya and Amar separately, but when they were together I never felt much emotion. I would get a small smile from time to time, but I definitely didn’t get that butterfly inducing, wishing they would just get together already feelings. I think part of the reason I didn’t connect with them was that I was always left wishing that I had more of a backstory. Yet that never happened.

So I’ve decided that I do need to try another book by this author. I have a feeling that will push me into the love or pass category for her future releases. But if you’re thinking about picking this one up, I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something unique and beautifully crafted!

COVER REVEAL + GIVEAWAY – Brave (A Wicked Saga #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I absolutely LOVE this series!  So of course I’ve been dying to see how it all ends with the final book!  It’s coming out December 11th, yay!  And if you haven’t heard me gush about this series before, well it’s seductive, insanely addicting and I laugh so hard that I have tears pouring down my face.  So check out the cover for the final book below, there’s also a link and information if you want to order a signed book and don’t forget to enter a fabulous giveaway!

Now here’s the beautiful cover…..

 

Synopsis:

Ivy Morgan hasn’t been feeling like herself lately. Not like anyone can blame her. After all, being held captive by a psychotic fae prince hell-bent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld is bound to leave some mental scars.

It’s more than that, though. Something dark and insidious is spreading throughout Ivy, more powerful than she could ever imagine… and it’s coming between her and the man she’s fallen deeply in love with, elite Order member Ren Owens.

Ren would do anything to keep Ivy safe. Anything. But when he makes a life altering choice for her, the fallout of his act has far reaching consequences that threaten to tear their lives apart.

If Ivy is going to have any hope of surviving this, she must put aside the hurt and betrayal she feels, and work with not only those she loves, but with an enemy she would rather kill than ever trust. War is coming, and it soon becomes clear that what Ivy and Ren thought they knew about the Order, themselves, and even their enemies, has been nothing but a cluster of dangerous, deadly lies. Ivy knows she must be more than just brave to save those she loves–and, ultimately, to save herself.

Because behind ever evil fae Prince, there’s a Queen…

Add To Your TBR:

Click here to add this book on Goodreads

 

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
wicked jennifer l armentrout
Wicked #1
Reviews:

Jen
torn jennifer l armentrout wicked trilogy
Torn #2
Reviews:

Jen

Brave #3
Virtual Signing Information:

To celebrate the upcoming release of BRAVE (book 3 in the Wicked Saga), Jennifer is offering an exclusive virtual signing! Through this virtual signing, you will be able to order SIGNED & PERSONALIZED copies of WICKED, TORN, and BRAVE!
And best of all — This is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY!

– Virtual Signing opens 9/21/17 at 11AM ET
– Virtual Signing ends 11/17/17
– Open Internationally

Click HERE to access the virtual signing.

About Jennifer L. Armentrout:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. She spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Website Facebook Twitter Instagram

 
Giveaway:

Open International

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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