Top 5 Tuesday: Books I Want to Reread

img_2290*Top 5 Tuesday is a meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm. A new topic is posted each week.


The Secret History by Donna Tartt

70897

Every once in awhile I come across a book that is so captivating and resonates so deeply with me, and I can’t put into words why. The Secret History was that kind of book. It’s a monster at almost 700 pages, but I still wanted to absorb every single word. I want to reread this someday so that I can pick up on all the things I may have missed the first time around. I can’t wait to revisit these fascinating characters and this remarkable story.

 


The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

17235026

It’s been a couple years since I read this book, and I remember it being so suspenseful and creepy! I’ve kind of been on a horror/apocalyptic kick lately and I would love to read this book again.

 

 

 


Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

23437156

I have a confession: I still haven’t read Crooked Kingdom. At this point, I’m not sure if I would even remember enough important details from Six of Crows to thoroughly enjoy the sequel. I’d actually like to get caught up on all the Grishaverse books before King of Scars comes out, so hopefully I find time to reread the original trilogy. Anyway, this book is a masterpiece, and I know I’ll enjoy it just as much the second time around as I did the first.

 


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

25489134

This book is a glorious masterpiece and I adore it so much. From the lovable protagonist to the atmospheric winter setting to the intricate weaving of magical Russian folklore, the Winternight series is everything I want and more. The final book doesn’t come out until January (!!) so I’ll have plenty of time to re-immerse myself in this world before then.

 


Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

17571742

The story is heartbreaking and the romance is swoon-worthy. I loved Ten Tiny Breaths so much when I read it several years ago, so I almost want to reread it just to see if I would feel the same way now. Then again, K.A. Tucker has released many books since this one and I have magpie tendencies, so I’ll probably pick up those first.

 

 


 

July 2018 Mini-Reviews, Part 1

img_2257


32620332

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Contemporary/Romance/Historical Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Boston Public Library
Release Date: June 13th, 2017
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This book deserves so much praise, but I really don’t think I could do it justice. Instead, I’ll post links to the reviews that made me pick up this book in the first place.

Check out reviews by:
meltotheany
destiny @ howling libraries
Rachel (rachandbooks)


27833670[1]

Title: Dark Matter
Author: Blake Crouch
Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller
Publisher: Crown
Source: Boston Public Library
Release Date: July 26th, 2016
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

“Nothing exists. All is a dream. God—man—the world—the sun, the moon, the wilderness of stars—a dream, all a dream; they have no existence. Nothing exists save empty space—and you…. And you are not you—you have no body, no blood, no bones, you are but a thought.” 

This book was twisty and turny and weird and crazy, but the craziest thing is probably that this is a science fiction novel and I loved it. I usually steer clear of sci-fi at all costs, but this book sounded so good that it’s actually been on my radar for awhile. I finally grabbed it from the library, and I’m so glad that I did.

“I’ve always known, on a purely intellectual level, that our separateness and isolation are an illusion. We’re all made of the same thing—the blown-out pieces of matter formed in the fires of dead stars.”

In Dark Matter, the main character, Jason, must navigate through an infinite amount of worlds to return back to his family and the life that was stolen from him. Some of these worlds are nearly identical to our own, while others couldn’t be more different or (pun intended) out-of-this-world.

Ultimately, this is a story about the meaning of happiness and the path not taken. It is about looking at the choices we have made and how they have brought us to where we are. Do we regret the choices we have made? Would we be happier if we had chosen a different course? At the end of the day, these choices make up who we are as humans.

“I can’t help thinking that we’re more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.” 

My favorite part of the book was the world-hopping scenes. I loved all the dark and disturbing places that Jason and Amanda encountered while trying to find their way home. I chose to give this four stars instead of five because I thought the ending was a little too easy, but I found the entire book incredibly fast-paced and enjoyable.


5082599

Title: Practice Makes Perfect
Author: Julie James
Genre: Romance
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Source: Boston Public Library
Release Date: March 3rd, 2009
Rating: ðŸŒŸðŸŒŸ

Seeing all the five-star reviews from people I usually agree with, I really thought I was going to love this. Especially because I was in the mood for a romance novel, and this book has been compared to The Hating Game, one of my favorite romance books ever. Unfortunately, I just didn’t like this. There was very little romance and a lot of arguing and miscommunication. I didn’t think it was funny at all, just very over the top silly. I usually love romantic build-up, but it took so long for the two leads to finally get together. When they did, it wasn’t a satisfying pay-off.


18498558

Title: Bird Box
Author: Josh Malerman
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Ecco
Source: Boston Public Library
Release Date: May 13th, 2014
Rating: ðŸŒŸðŸŒŸðŸŒŸðŸŒŸ

So, here’s the thing. I’m a horror movie buff. I love Halloween and all things scary.

And this book terrified me.

In the world of Bird Box, there are creatures that humans and animals cannot look upon without going mad. A group of survivors, including the pregnant Malorie, have blocked the windows and locked the doors, surviving on their dwindling food supply and their blindfolded walks outside for water and provisions. They lose hope of survival with each passing day, relying on the optimism and leadership of a man named Tom. All of these events unfolded in the past, while in the present (four years later), Malorie must escape down the river with her two children to an unknown safe haven. A few different timelines are intertwined, connecting the past and present while keeping you guessing as the events unfold.

I’ve never thought a book could be genuinely scary, but apparently I was wrong. This book is loaded with atmosphere, tension, and paranoia. The characters are blindfolded, so you are just as in the dark (literally) as they are. We are given the sounds and smells of the characters’ surroundings. We feel the same fear, paranoia, mistrust and confusion that they do.

Is it gray? Have the trees gone mad? The flowers, the reeds, the sky? Is the entire world insane? Does it battle itself? Does the Earth refute it’s own oceans? The wind has picked up. Has it seen something? Is it mad, too?

I recommend reading this book, but I don’t recommend reading it before bed.


 

Wrap-Up, June 2018

img_1854

My goal was to read ten books this month, but I only ended up reading six. Close enough, right? I have a few trips planning for July, but I may be able to squeeze in some quality beach reading while I’m away! We’ll see.

Anyway, here’s my wrap-up for the month of June:


Books I’ve Read and Reviewed

36626748[1]3595974036199084[1]3633708236373481[2]

Reviews:

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
Circe by Madeline Miller
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Legendary by Stephanie Garber
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware


Other Books I’ve Read:

37903770Something about Neil Gaiman’s writing just makes his books so compelling. His style is unique, and some might even say jarring, but it works. I didn’t want to put this book down… in fact, I didn’t. I read this entire book in just a few hours.

Norse Mythology reads like an anthology. Each chapter is a different short story, but they are all connected and build off each other until we reach Ragnarok. You don’t need to be familiar with nordic myths to understand this book. The extent of my own background was what I’ve seen of Thor and Loki in the Marvel movies… which, it turns out, is pretty accurate personality-wise. You have Thor, the arrogant, cocky, somewhat dim-witted powerhouse. There’s Loki, the conniving, mischievous troublemaker. There’s Odin, the wise all-father. These, I was familiar with. But in Norse Mythology, I was also introduced to several new worlds and gods that I had never before heard of.

If you are in the mood for an interesting, captivating, and informative read on mythology, look no further than this book.


Currently Reading:

32620332Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But 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 through the decades—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.


What I (Might) Read Next:

35566332

There’s more than one way to stoke the flames of revenge…

Charlotte Rowe spent the first seven years of her life in the hands of the only parents she knew—a pair of serial killers who murdered her mother and tried to shape Charlotte in their own twisted image. If only the nightmare had ended when she was rescued. Instead, her real father exploited her tabloid-ready story for fame and profit—until Charlotte finally broke free from her ghoulish past and fled. Just when she thinks she has buried her personal hell forever, Charlotte is swept into a frightening new ordeal. Secretly dosed with an experimental drug, she’s endowed with a shocking new power—but pursued by a treacherous corporation desperate to control her.

Except from now on, if anybody is going to control Charlotte, it’s going to be Charlotte herself. She’s determined to use the extraordinary ability she now possesses to fight the kind of evil that shattered her life—by drawing a serial killer out from the shadows to face the righteous fury of a victim turned avenger.

Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

36626748[1]

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.


Title: The Last Time I Lied
Author: Riley Sager
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Dutton
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: July 3rd, 2018
Rating: ðŸŒŸðŸŒŸðŸŒŸðŸŒŸðŸŒŸ

*ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Two Truths and a Lie
1. This book kept me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.
2. This is the perfect summer mystery read.
3. I’ll never read another Riley Sager book.

Obviously, the last one is a lie. I loved this so much that I need to get my hands on Riley Sager’s Final Girls.

The Last Time I Lied is about a girl named Emma, who went away to a summer camp when she was thirteen and stayed in a cabin with three older girls. She becomes very close to the queen bee, Vivian, who calls Emma her little sister and who Emma idolizes/obsesses over to the point of copying her every move. One night, the three girls slip out of the cabin without Emma and never return. Their disappearance is never solved. Fifteen years later when the camp reopens, Emma is asked to return as an instructor. Wanting to find the truth, Emma agrees, but it is obvious from the moment she arrives that something is very wrong.

There are plenty of generic mystery/thriller novels out there. They might still be fun to read, even as you see all the twists coming and make accurate guesses the entire way through. That wasn’t the case with The Last Time I Lied. This book will keep you guessing, but none of the reveals are obvious. I had so many different theories and none of them came close to the truth.

There are two timelines. One is from the perspective of modern-day Emma, while the other is the perspective of Emma fifteen years ago. They are interspersed in such away that we are able to see how the past is connected to the present. Everything comes full circle.

I also thought it was interesting to see how Emma’s obsession of Vivian extends into her adult life. She still wonders what Vivian would think as she reaches for a donut or buys a pair of sunglasses, which just goes to show how toxic friendships can be.

I loved the writing style of this book. It’s fast-paced, compulsive, and so, so fun. It’s deceptively simple. You’ll be sucked right in, and the atmosphere will creep you out in the best possible way (seriously, I had chills).

I would recommend this for anyone who loves mystery and thriller novels and is looking for the perfect summer read!

Library Haul (aka Drowning in a Pile of Books)

img_1169

📚Recently, I looked through the Boston Public Library catalog and found many books that have been on my TBR list for awhile, so I did what any sane person would do and checked out all of them. I’m not sure if I’ll get to reading every book before the deadlines, but I guess challenge accepted?

Anyway, here’s a list of my library finds!

32620332

 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’m so excited to read this book! The reviews have been amazing, and it sounds like the perfect summer read.

 

35566332

 

Bone Music by Christopher Rice

The synopsis for this book makes it sound like just the kind of book I’ve been wanting to read.

 

18498558

 

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

This book has been on my to-read list for a very long time, so I was really excited to find it available!

 

35520564

 

The Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White

This book just came out and was available as an eBook! My favorite author loved this book, so I feel like I will too despite my sci-fi aversion.

 

5082599

 

Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

What’s not to love about a law firm romance? This was recommended for people who love The Hating Game, so count me in.

 

30753733

 

Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker

I’ve never met a K.A. Tucker book that I didn’t like. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this for awhile!

 

25558608

 

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Now that the third books is out, it’s about time that I return to this series.

 

24504274

 

Pucked by Helena Hunting

A funny sports romance is the kind of book I need in my life right now.

 

Other Library Finds:

3586156332912923186660471581902829588376

2740500627824826350685852928388425733990

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh
The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastri
The Dry by Jane Harper
Ice Wolves by Amie Kaufman
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

On the Waiting List:

3609969115839976350687622410028536204070

3613603035068830308097863341312834273236

All the Ever Afters by Danielle Teller
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine
Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente
The Book of M by Peng Shepherd
Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
Bear Town by Fredrik Backman
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Some of these books I’m waiting for won’t be available for awhile (I’m #62 in line for Little Fires Everywhere) but judging by the list of books I already have, that’s probably a good thing!

Most Anticipated Releases of Summer, 2018

img_1821This summer is chock-full of books I can’t wait to get my hands on! I’m leaving out the books that won’t be released until 2019, or books that I have already received an advanced reader copy of.

These are just a few of my most anticipated upcoming releases this year:

26856502[1]
Vengeful
by V.E. Schwab

Release Date: September 25, 2018

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

 

36373564[1]

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
Release Date: August 7th, 2018

Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

 

38255342[1]

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Release Date: September 25th, 2018

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

 

Dance of Thieves_FINAL 9.18
Dance of Thieves
by Mary E. Pearson

Release Date: August 7th, 2018

When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.

 

29386918[1]

Wildcard by Marie Lu
Release Date: September 18th, 2018

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

WWW Wednesday: June 13th, 2018

img_1473

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, which asks you to answer the following questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

36626748[1]

 

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

*ARC received from Netgalley via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A summer camp thriller/mystery novel is just what I needed in my life right now. I’m so happy I got approved for this!

 

 

29456569[1]

 

Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

I never thought I would read another book about robots, but here I am. I’m really excited about this one! All the reviews have been amazing.

This will be the first book I’ve read by Jay Kristoff.

 

 


Recently Read

Circe by Madeline Miller
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang


What I (May) Read Next

31179006[1]Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what’s right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved.

 

40182855In the idyllic Atlanta enclave of Sugar Mills, four women are struggling to keep their marriages alive in the hectic whirl of middle-class suburbia.

Adventurous Jess adores her sportswriter husband, but he’s more likely to fall asleep than respond to her creative attempts at seduction. Delia agreed to an open marriage when she had nothing to lose; but now that the reality of her choice has settled in, she feels a void no direct sales commission can fill. Infertility has left ex-tennis star Carras feeling powerless and frustrated. PTA president Maizy is desperate for acceptance in the Sugar Mills community, and with her health-conscious husband.

Enter Parker, a gorgeous young tennis pro moonlighting as a male escort. Could a little well-orchestrated jealousy cure the marital blues? Will a risky scheme put the spark back in their suburban marriages, or burn everything they’ve worked for to the ground?

Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

32454291In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.


Title: Circe
Author: Madeline Miller
Genre: Fantasy/Mythology/Retelling
Publisher: Lee Boudreaux Books
Source: Hardcover
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

I was hesitant to review this book, only because I wasn’t sure if I had everything to add to what’s already been said. I also don’t feel like I could ever do Circe justice, but I’ll try.

This book drew my eye very early on. I love Greek mythology and retellings, and Circe is such a fascinating character to me. I’ll admit, this book took me a long time to read. Three months, to be exact. I kept finding myself putting it down and moving on to other books, then coming back to it. It wasn’t because it didn’t interest me, but rather that it is a very character-driven, inner-monologue focused, slow-burn story. I couldn’t skim or speed-read; I needed to absorb every single word on the pages.

“But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”

A majority of this book is spent on the island of Aiaia where the goddess Circe is exiled. If you are unfamiliar with Greek mythology and the Odyssey, like I was, much of the content in this book will be new for you. Centuries and generations of Greek myths are folded into this book, but they are told in stories by visiting characters. We don’t actually see any of the action, but action and adventure is not what this story is about.

“My divinity shines in me like the last rays of the sun before they drown in the sea. I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now that they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.”

This is the origin story of Circe and her development over centuries of love and loss. She is a goddess with the voice of a mortal, who empathizes with mortals and loathes the ways of all other self-serving gods and goddesses. This is not a happy story. She suffers greatly, but everything that happens to her helps shape her into the strong, powerful, and somewhat jaded witch that she is. She isn’t perfect; at times she is a villain, at times she is a heroine, but it’s interesting to see how she grows from these experiences.

“Her eyes held mine, gray and steady. It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures, flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment’s carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.”

The underlying theme in Circe is how the stories of men are often glorified, while the heroines are undermined no matter how prominent their own role was. This is a very women-empowering, sex-positive book about finding yourself in a world where men are given agency, and women are reduced to being in the background.

“The thought was this: that all my life had been murk and depths, but I was not a part of that dark water. I was a creature within it.”

Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

36199084[1]

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases–a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…


Title: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkeley
Source: Book of the Month
Release Date: June 5th, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

This book is so unique, captivating, sexy, and important.

I love romance novels, but I’ll be the first to admit that many are generic, corny, and sometimes problematic. What makes The Kiss Quotient different is that it’s the first romance I’ve read with an autistic female protagonist. Not only are her quirks and differences prominent throughout the entire book, but they’re also addressed in a way that is positive: there’s nothing wrong with Stella, she’s just a unique person. She is incredibly smart and accomplished, and loves working with data to the point where she chooses to go into work on weekends. She is also extremely sensitive to smells and sounds, gets overstimulated very easily, and has a routine that she can never break from without getting anxious.

“What would he think if she told him how difficult it was for her to do things like dancing and drinking? Going out was supposed to be fun. For her, it was work—hard work. She could interact with people if she wanted to, but it cost her. Some times more than others.”

The way Michael (the love-interest, who also happens to be a mixed-race male escort) treats Stella is also important. He pays attention to her needs and makes adjustments without belittling her or making her feel like she’s different. Consent is also a big thing for him, as there were several times when he would ask for permission or immediately stop what he was doing if Stella appeared uncomfortable. He’s not perfect, but he wants to be a good person and do the right thing. This makes it tricky for him, as his job requires that he keep his “clients” at an arm’s length and not get too attached. Things are different with Stella though and he finds himself falling for her.

I found it very easy to empathize with Stella. Being in her head, we’re given a firsthand perspective on the way she feels in certain situations and why she does or say what she does. At the same time, I understood how other characters could be confused by her behavior and have negative feelings about the way she interacts. This is most apparent in a scene where Stella meets Michael’s family and manages to insult/hurt them without even realizing she was doing it. Scenes like this were hard to read, but helped me to understand how Stella’s mind works differently than other people’s.

The romance is super cute and this book is chock-full of super steamy scenes. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who liked The Hating Game (which I loved), as I got a similar vibe with these two books.

I also loved Helen Hoang’s note at the end of the novel, where she addressed her own experience with autism and provides resources for others who want to know more about it. I never realized that such a large portion of women with autism go undiagnosed because they learn to fake “normal” behavior, even though its exhausting for them.

The Kiss Quotient was such a heartfelt, refreshing read. I feel so warm and fuzzy after reading this book!

WWW Wednesday: June 6th, 2018

img_1473

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, which asks you to answer the following questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

36199084[1]

 

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

This is a unique romance with a autistic female protagonist and mixed-race male escort love interest. I’m having a hard time putting this one down, so I’ll probably have it finished by the end of the day.

Review to come!

 


Recently Read


Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
Legendary by Stephanie Garber


What I (May) Read Next

31179006[1]Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what’s right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she’s ever loved.

 

36626748[1]Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

 

29456569[1]On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.