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TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books On Our Spring 2019 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday.13

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl
Today we’re sharing Books On Our Spring 2019 TBR.  And they are…..


Cassie’s Choice

Chelsea’s Choice

1. Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi  (Releases 4/02)
Amazon * Book Depository * Goodreads

 

2. Last Girl Lied To by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn  (Releases 4/16)
Amazon * Book Depository * Goodreads

 


Chelsea’s Choice

Jen’s Choice

3. Pretty Reckless (All Saints High #1) by L.J. Shen  (Releases 4/29)

Goodreads

 

4. It Started with a Cowboy (Cowboys of Creedence #3) by Jennie Marts  (Releases 4/30)
Amazon * Book Depository * Goodreads

 


Jen’s Choice

Arielle’s Choice

5. Prom-Wrecked by T.H. Hernandez & Jennifer DiGiovanni  (Releases 5/06)
I got to beta-read a super early version of this story and oh my gosh it was AMAZING!  It’s being released by Entangled Teen in May, so keep an eye out for it. 

 

6. Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman  (Releases 5/07)
Amazon * Book Depository * Goodreads

 


Cassie’s Choice

Cassie & Arielle’s Choice

7. Broken Throne (Red Queen #4.5) by Victoria Aveyard  (Releases 5/07)
Amazon * Book Depository * Goodreads

 

8. Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber  (Releases 5/07)
Amazon * Book Depository * Goodreads

 


Arielle & Cassie’s Choice

Cassie & Arielle’s Choice

9. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston  (Releases 5/14)
Amazon * Book Depository * Goodreads

 

10. Kingsbane (Empirium #2) by Claire Legrand  (Releases 5/21)
Amazon * Book Depository * Goodreads

 


Chelsea’s Choice
 
Jen’s Choice

11. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson  (Releases 6/04)
Amazon * Book Depository * Goodreads

 

12. Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout  (Releases 6/11)
Amazon * Book Depository * Goodreads

So these are the Books On Our Spring 2019 TBR.  Do you have any of these books on your TBR?  If not, then what books are you looking forward to reading this Spring?

BOOK REVIEW: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

BOOK REVIEW: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuistonRed, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends...

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Thank you to NetGalley (for granting my wish!), Casey McQuiston and St. Martin’s Griffin for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I’m going to try and make this review as coherent as possible, but not promises. I’m honestly just so filled with emotions and glee and joy from this book. I have so many highlights from this book and they are all SO GOOD.

Welcome to 2018 and in a far better timeline than the one we currently find ourselves in (*sob*), the successor to Barack Obama is democrat President Claremont, a divorced and re-married bad ass lady, who made two wonderful, half Mexican-half American children in Alex and June.

We start this story in the months leading up to her reelection bid. Alex, the first son, makes a fool of himself, as well as his sworn enemy Henry, at Henry’s brother’s wedding. In attempt to show that there is no animosity between the countries, Henry and Alex are forced to show the world they are indeed, close friends. And cue the start of the enemies to lovers trope, in the best way possible.

“I think it’s amazing,” Nora says. “Sworn enemies forced to make peace to settle tensions between their countries? There’s something totally Shakespearean about it.”

“Shakespearean in that hopefully I’ll get stabbed to death,” Alex says. “This sheet says his favorite food is mutton pie. I literally cannot think of a more boring food. He’s like a cardboard cutout of a person.”

As you can imagine, as Alex and Henry are forced to spend time together, their feelings begin to blossom. While Alex had only been with women up until this point in time, I appreciate McQuiston not dragging out Alex questioning if he could possibly like other men. Alex pretty quickly accepted that he was bisexual; while I can totally appreciate this is not easy for many, it kept the story moving along nicely with Alex’s quick acceptance.

While Alex and Henry’s relationship is very much rooted in friendship as they put on a carefully cultivated PR trip in Great Britain, things really get going with Henry’s visit to a New Year’s Eve party in D.C. It eventually leads to one of the best first kisses I have ever read. There’s so much tension leading up to it and I devoured every interaction between the two.

“C’mon, it’s like in the hips. You have to loosen up.” He reached down and put both hands on Henry’s hips, and Henry instantly tenses under the touch. “That’s the opposite of what I said.”
“Alex, I dont’–“
“Here,” Alex says, moving his own hips, “watch me.”
With a grave gulp of champagne, Henry says, “I am.”

I mean, be still my swooning heart. I was a little surprised how quickly Alex and Henry got together (not that I’m complaining!) as I expected a little more build up. However, I really liked how much attention was given to the complexity of navigating their relationship. There are so many laugh out loud funny moments – I know I was grinning like a fool like 85% of this book.

How dare Henry come into Alex’s house looking like the goddman James Bond offspring that he is, drink red wine with the prime minister, and act like he didn’t slip Alex the tongue and ghost him for a month.

He kisses Henry until it feels like he can’t breathe, until it feels like he’s going to forget both of their name and titles, until they’re only two people tangled up in a dark room making a brilliant, epic, unstoppable mistake.

While most of the attention is on Alex and Henry’s relationship, there’s a lot of great subplots happening and excellent side characters. I absolutely adored June, Alex’s sister, and Nora, June and Alex’s best friend and Alex’s sometimes girlfriend. They are both wickedly funny and smart and incredibly real. I also adored Zahra, Amy, Bea, etc. There are so many excellent characters in their own right, even if they revolve around Alex and Henry.

There’s some also serious issues brought up, like the fact that Alex struggles with his mixed heritage, Henry struggles with anxiety and both struggle what it means to carry on a high profile family legacy.

If there’s a criticism to be made (besides giving me more books in this world), is that you can fairly easily guess the major plot points. There’s nothing terribly unpredictable about them, but honestly, I didn’t find myself caring all that much. They needed to happen and I was more interested in how these characters were going to handle them.

Take for instance Alex’s mother learning of his relationship and her immediate reaction was to make a powerpoint to lead their discussion, including this title for the ages:
EXPLORING YOUR SEXUALITY: HEALTHY, BUT DOES IT HAVE TO BE WITH THE PRINCE OF ENGLAND?
She apologizes for not having time to come up with better titles.

If I didn’t love Alex’s entire family already, this would have certainly sealed the deal. The ending, while a bit cliche, was still entirely wonderful and really tied up the book nicely. As I said, before, I would love a follow-up book in the future to see what all these amazing people are up to. I truly did not get enough of them in fantastic 432 pages McQuiston gifted us.

While I certainly have started to read more romance stories in the last few years, I still would not certainly consider myself a big reader of this genre. I tend to only like contemporaries and they definitely need to be well-done and bring something different to the table. I’ve only found a few so far that fit this billing that I’ve enjoyed and Red, White & Royal blue is certainly at the top of these.

I can’t wait to get this in printed form and read it whenever I need a pick-me-up. I cannot say enough positive things about this book and from everything I’ve seen, just about everyone else who’s read this agrees. It’s sexy, it’s funny and it’s emotionally heart-warming.

“You are,” he says,” the absolute worst idea I’ve ever had.” Henry’s mouth spreads into a slow smile, and Alex kisses it.

Red, White & Royal Blue will be released on May 14, 2019.

BOOK REVIEW: Risky Play (Red Card #1) by Rachel Van Dyken

BOOK REVIEW: Risky Play (Red Card #1) by Rachel Van DykenRisky Play (Red Card #1)
by Rachel Van Dyken
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Even one-night stands deserve a second chance in New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken’s novel of sporting desire.

What else can a virgin do when she’s ditched at the altar? Seattle heiress Mackenzie Dupont is treating herself to a single-girl honeymoon in Mexico and a desire to relinquish her innocence to a gorgeous one-night stand. Fake names. True pleasure. But when she wakes up alone, Mackenzie realizes just how much anger is left in her broken heart.

Suffering a tragic personal loss, pro soccer player Slade Rodriguez has his reasons for vanishing without a goodbye. Right or wrong, he’s blaming the beautiful and infuriating stranger he never wants to see again. They’re both in for a shock when Mackenzie shows up as his new personal assistant. And they both have a lot to learn about each other. Because they share more than they could possibly know, including a common enemy who’s playing his own games. And he’s not afraid to get dirty.

Now there’s only one way Mackenzie and Slade can win: to trust in each other and to stop hiding from the lies they’ve told, the secrets they’ve kept, the mistakes they’ve made, and the attraction that still burns between them.

Review:

Risky Play was an emotionally heartfelt story that started out with a bang.  It had everything I’ve come to love in a Rachel Van Dyken book. Characters that felt real, a story-line that pulled at my heart and scorching hot scenes that made me fan my face.  But there was also a strong hate to love vibe that made this story such a winner. If you’re a fan of sports romances, Rachel Van Dyken or hate to love romances then definitely pick this one up!

“More champagne?” He pointed to my hand still clutching the champagne with a vise-like grip.
“Yeah,” I croaked.
“Are you by yourself?” he asked a few seconds later.
“Yes.” Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.
“Do you want to be?” he asked softly.
I shook my head, no…
Just then he hopped over the partition, swept me into his arms, and lowered his head.

Six months after we watched Mackenzie be ditched at the altar, she treated herself to her honeymoon.  Alone. She met a man named Slade on the airplane and I absolutely loved how their time together progressed, eeks!  With fake names, a whirlwind day of fun and a night that was steamy and romantic, it was absolutely addicting watching them be together.  But that next morning, Slade left without a word.  While they never thought they would see each other again, one month later Mackenzie ended up being Slade’s assistant.  And it definitely wasn’t a warm and fuzzy reunion.

He was barely touching me, and my body hummed to life.
I stepped away.
I had to.
I didn’t trust him.
I couldn’t.

While Mackenzie was the heiress to one of the largest wine brands, she was completely down to earth and I easily connected with her.  She was kind, patient and I loved that she took risks and was brave.  But my heart hurt for her.  Mackenzie had been burned by men and never seemed to be enough for them.  So when Slade started using Mackenzie as an emotional punching bag, she held nothing back and stood her ground.  She didn’t understand why she was now hated. But she’d much rather spend her time with Slade, instead of going back to the winery.  Where she would have be around the man who left her at the alter.

“You’re making this harder than it should be.” I crossed my arms.
“And you make me harder than I should be. And yet, here I am.” He crossed his arms.
Don’t look down. Do not. Look. Down.
I gulped.
His smile broke out into a huge grin. “You were saying?”

Oh Slade.  He was such a complex man.  And one that I absolutely loved.  He was the number one soccer player in the world, but his trust was definitely jaded from his past and his fame.  But thankfully we got to see his softer side in the beginning. When he was in Mexico with Mackenzie, Slade was charming, seductive and fun.  But when we saw him a month later, he was cold and callous.  He could be so mean and hurtful to Mackenzie, it hurt to watch.  Since we alternated between Slade and Mackenzie, you’ll find out why he is the way he is.  He was so bad, but I also knew just how amazing he could be.

I had to convince myself that the man in Puerto Vallarta didn’t exist.
Because if he did?
I wouldn’t let him go.

As Mackenzie invaded Slade’s life, doing her job, I was so proud that she would continually throw Slade’s attitude back in his face.  She never took it lying down.  And probably the most amazing thing about Mackenzie is that she took a bad situation and found a way to be positive about it.  I absolutely loved her! As the story progressed, I loved seeing peeks of the old Slade. The one I fell so hard for. When his charming or seductive side would come out, I couldn’t stop the smiles.  But best of all I loved watching the moments when Slade was fiercely protective of those he cared for. It was crazy hot!

Her hands dug into me, clung to me like I was going to let her go, and it broke my fucking heart that she might actually think I would do that because of our history.
I wasn’t letting this go.
Her go.

While the sexual tension was absolutely delicious, I loved when Rachel Van Dyken took them a step further.  Not only was it seductive, but I loved how she could seamlessly lace humor into those moments. There was a shower scene that had me laughing so hard I was crying.  But outside of Slade and Mackenzie, there was also friendships that I adored reading about. Matt and Jagger were my two favorite side characters, you have to meet them!  Also you have to meet Slade’s dog, Alfie. He was such a cutie! So yes, I definitely recommend this book! Risky Play made me laugh, cry, smile and fall in love.  And it gave me ALL the tears with that ending. It was so perfect!  Now I can’t wait to read the next book, which is about Matt.  That man made me crack up and smile so hard, I can’t wait to hear every single one of his thoughts!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: We Told Six Lies by Victoria Scott

BOOK REVIEW: We Told Six Lies by Victoria ScottWe Told Six Lies by Victoria Scott
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Remember how many lies we told, Molly? It’s enough to make my head spin. You were wild when I met you, and I was mad for you. But then something happened. And now you’re gone.

But don’t worry. I’ll find you. I just need to sift through the story of us to get to where you might be. I’ve got places to look, and a list of names.

The police have a list of names, too. See now? There’s another lie. There is only one person they’re really looking at, Molly.

And that’s yours truly.

Thank you to NetGalley, Victoria Scott and Entangled Publishing for my free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

3.5/5

Did you know it, then, that I already belonged to you? Because I did, you beautiful, wicked girl.

“We Told Six Lies” is a captivating and well written YA thriller from Victoria Scott. However, there were a few things that held the story back from being great.

As with many thrillers, this book is told from varying perspectives and time jumps. The main players in this book are Cobain and Molly. Yes, you read that right, Cobain is a character’s first name. This book has a number of questionable first name choices, but I digress.

Molly is new to the high school and area, but quickly finds friends and becomes interested in shy and socially awkward Cobain. Cobain’s chapters often reminded me of Joe from Caroline Kepner’s YOU books, as he was truly smitten with Molly, even to his own detriment. Thus, when Molly goes missing, it’s not a surprise the police are most interested in Cobain, who also has a well-known anger management problem.

“Follow me,” you said, and I recognized that you were about to do something you shouldn’t. It was your favorite pastime, and you knew I’d do it beside you without question.

Cobain was an OK main character. He has a lot of issues, both with himself and with his family. I truly did feel badly for him many times, but I never quite loved him. On the other hand, I really liked Molly, even as flawed as she is. We unfortunately only get Molly’s perspective in present day and not in the flashbacks, as opposed to how we get Cobain’s. Molly has a lot of layers and is smart and determined. She also uses people to get what she wants, just like her father taught her.

Molly wanted freedom. But he wanted Molly. And love always triumphed in the end.

Without giving away much more of the plot, I was slightly surprised at the “twist.” I think part of it becomes fairly clear as the story goes on, but not all of it is easy to guess. The last couple chapters are wild and thrilling, but then it fairly abruptly ends. I would have liked to see more of the aftermath and a hint at the future, as opposed to ending it where it did. Also, it was never clear what exactly those specific six lies were referenced in the title. It’s not a big deal, but it was just weird to have the book titled something that wasn’t explicitly explained within the book.

So many lies. More than any of us can count. And with every lie, we had a chance to make things right. How could we have been so stupid?

BOOK REVIEW: Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) by LJ Shen

BOOK REVIEW: Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) by LJ ShenVicious (Sinners of Saint #1)
by L.J. Shen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Emilia

They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.

Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.

Vicious

She is a starving artist. Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom. Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down. She paid the price.

Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate. That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t. So she hates me. Big fucking deal. She better get used to me.

 

You were always mine.

Not so long ago a friend insisted I read The Kiss Thief. I’d been ignoring it with good reason (that reason being that I’m always always always let down by contemporary NA, it seems), but decided why not? I trust my friend. Thus began my journey through a book I didn’t think I could possibly love, leading to a curiosity that couldn’t be satiated until I got my hands on another of this author’s books-Is this woman my NA soulmate?

My Grandma once told me that love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances.

Turns out? This woman is a wizard, and I am under her spell. I was extremely sick with a savage head cold my Little gave me, and I generally can’t read when such occasions occur. The words are fuzzy, my brain doesn’t compute quick enough, feels are lost when they would have slayed me any other normal day. But. BUT. Somehow, even though the words didn’t go to my brain fast enough, this story broke through the fog and STILL gave me feels that were unparalleled to any NA I’ve read in recent memory. THAT is the work of something larger than myself, and I love this author for it. Bravo for being the first and ONLY author to write a book that broke through a sickness induced word coma.

I shook my head quickly. “I’m just not sure how you can be both nice and compassionate and a terrible asshole all at the same time,” I muttered.
He smiled. “It’s a hard job, but someone’s gotta do it.”

I loved The Kiss Thief-more than was safe for my own health-but when I picked up this book? It sang to my soul and dragged me down into the watery grave of obsession, because I literally could not get enough of each word spoken on every page. It was like there weren’t enough words, yet they were all so perfect no more could be said. Which is the best kind of predicament to be in, naturally, for a book DEVOURER such as me. But now, of course, I’ve spiraled into a void I can’t get out of, because literally no other book is going to compare now. Like, ugh.

The bottom line was I hated him. I hated him so much it made me sick to my stomach that I loved the way he looked, on and off the field. Hated my shallowness, my foolishness, at loving the way his square, hard jaw ticked when he fought a smile. I hated that I loved the smart, witty things that came out of his mouth when he spoke in class. Hated that he was a cynical realist while I was a hopeless idealist, and still, I loved every thought he uttered aloud. And I hated that once a week, every week, my heart did crazy things in my chest because I suspected he might be him.

I have to say that this book is way more trigger-happy for people than TKT ever was, which is why I told my friend to probably stay away from this one. What ignites my passion and hunger would surely repulse any sane human being-or, at least, my said friend. Vicious was…well….freaking vicious. He was crueler, less sane, and way colder to reach his goals. And, if I think about it, der??? It shocked me at first, but then I remembered something-Senator Wolfe Keaton was underhanded and dirty, sure, but he was, above all else, a good standing and well-liked politician of the public’s eye. OBVIOUSLY these two characters differ, seeing as Barron (Vicious) was just, well, a spoiled, self-entitled, destructive both physically and mentally, partying rich boy brat.

Vicious was right. I was a liar.
Because I told myself I could do casual.
When there was nothing casual about what I felt for him. Not even one bit.

Clearly a misguided (and yes, I’ll go there-misunderstood) soul, I couldn’t help but fall for him, now could I? This book gave me the closest/strongest vibes that reminded me of one of my favorite books of all time (Yes, I have issues), Punk 57, that I’ve had in a while. They’re nothing alike, yet, the back and forth, the anger, the savageness, the filthy, hot, dirty sex scenes. Come on. I’m a f****** goner, ya know? I’m TRASH for these types of books (not the sex, I just mean the enemies to lovers mixed with the story line and heat), and they are just so few and far between. And, while I loved TKT, that was technically older-ish, whereas this was, too, but we got that HS vibe as well, that underlying layer of why things were the way they were between these two, and I am so here for it. All of it. Even the bad, dirty, nasty. Because of it, even.

I love possessive dickheads in books. I do. I’m sorry. I’m a failure to womankind, surely, but I. Do. Not. Care. It’s alarmingly hot, okay?

Mine.
You’re mine.
You were always mine.
Because she was mine.

Yes to this? All of it? Can I read more of it? And I’m a sucker for it. No shame in my game, and judge as you will, cuz this chick ain’t a changin’.

But, besides all of this, I suppose this is a more ‘sophisticated’ (baha this book as sophisticated) way of me being able to enjoy YA without being considered kind of weird. It’s a past and present deal, which I generally loathe, yet it was done so frikkin’ well that, after my initial disappointment, I totally forgot because the book took me out of my own body and into their skewed version of the world, and I fell so in love none of my peeves mattered. I loved this book, wholly, and I now would not change one thing about it because-be still my beating heart-I consumed it and would re-read it in a second just to get the same feels again.

I realize that this isn’t necessarily realistic-it’s not-and that if a girl were in this situation, she obviously would need to RUN AND RUN FAST…but isn’t that what fiction is? A fantasy? A way to escape the world? No, I would not want a Barron Spencer chasing after me-he’s batshit crazy, okay-but to read about it? To just immerse myself into a nonexistent world? I dig it. It’s fun. It’s addicting as hell. And it’s shameful. But it’s my guilty pleasure read-I hardly read any of these all year long, tending to fall prey to my YA fantasies-and I am entitled to it now and again. No, I don’t think it’s a good book to let my daughter-or any young girl, for that matter-read. But it’s simple. I won’t suggest she read it. There. It’s easy, honestly-monitor what your kid reads as much as you can, and teach them what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s all we can do-the book won’t cease to exist no matter how much some people may will it , so as long as I do the best as I can for my children, then I may as well enjoy what this author has to offer-and it’s pure gold.

Yet here he was, in my house, in my room, near my bed. Even if he’d come here just to threaten me some more, he’d still made the trip. I got to him.
He was in my veins.
But I’d managed to crawl under his skin.

Now that that’s out of the way-this woman writes the hottest intimate scenes ever. At least, the hottest I’ve read in a while. And the ones from this book? They made me a total and utter mess. It was sick and depraved and I do not give one crap about it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been affected by a book in such a manner, and I’m almost (but not really) ashamed to admit…this one got to me. And I’m not even one to generally enjoy these scenes, because they scarcely measure up. But this woman? Wow. That’s all I can say without sounding like a total pervert lol.

All in all this book had it’s ups and downs, I suppose (for some), but I never once lost enjoyment, even through my hazy fog days. I looked forward to it every minute of the day I wasn’t reading it and didn’t want to put it down until I absolutely had to. To say this book gave me life when I was down and out would be an understatement, so I’ll go as far as to say it brought me back to life. There. BOOM. I said it. It made me unsick, and if that’s not worth a read, I don’t know what is.

***********

So. Fucking. Good.

RTC

View all my reviews

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