ARC Review: The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

37584991The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

Release date: October 30th, 2018
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genres: Contemporary, adult, romance
Format: eBook

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When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn’t come as a surprise–or happen in front of 45,000 people.

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…

Contemporary romance is a genre that I’ve been exploring more of as of late and I’m so glad that I stumbled upon this book while browsing through NetGalley. This novel was exactly what I needed! It’s beyond adorable and so much fun from beginning to end. A perfect summer read for lounging by the pool and soaking up the sun (too bad that it’s scheduled for release in October…what a wasted opportunity!).

Before I start my review, I do want to say that I have never read the author’s debut, The Wedding Date. The Proposal features characters from this book but it’s not promoted as a sequel or companion novel. Not reading the first book didn’t impact my enjoyment of this one at all. So, you don’t have to worry at all, however, I now really want to read The Wedding Date. It sounds like another great romantic read!

The story begins with a woman having her boyfriend of only a few months propose to her at a Dodger’s game. She declines his proposal and is judged by thousands of people in the stadium. Right away I was behind her 100% because I would hate having such a public proposal. I cringe just thinking about it. I could really put myself in the main character’s shoes and I loved that about this book. Anyway, as the lead character is trying to deal with the awkward situation, she’s aided by a man who had watched the whole thing a few rows back. This intervention changes both of their lives and kicks off a series of events that made me smile uncontrollably, laugh out loud, sigh and shake my head in disagreement. I cheered the characters on and found myself mumbling about some of their choices…basically I was fully invested in this story and was so sad when it ended.

What I especially loved was how the romance was friends to lovers. The two characters had to navigate through a lot of personal issues to figure out how they could make what they had work. Things weren’t easy but that’s what makes for a good story! The book is also very diverse with a cast of characters that actually reflect the world that we live in. For example, there is a black main character and a Latino love interest. The writing was simple, but it flowed and I just kept on turning the pages. I read this book rather quickly and totally didn’t mean to…I just couldn’t help myself! 

So, if you are looking for a fun romance book to read or need a good pick-me-up then this book is totally for you! I know that I’ll be getting a copy of the author’s first novel very soon and will be keeping on eye on her future releases.


About the Author

16287225Jasmine Guillory is a graduate of Wellesley College and Stanford Law School. She is a Bay Area native who has towering stacks of books in her living room, a cake recipe for every occasion, and upwards of 50 lipsticks. As well as writing books, Jasmine sometimes writes about books, pop-culture, and food, some of her favorite things.

Website | TwitterGoodreads | Facebook | Instagram

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The Grishaverse Book Tag

Book Blitz_

I completely love the Grishaverse and everything about this tag! I found it on Annalisse’s blog Hopeful Reads a while ago and knew I had to try it out for myself. Please go visit her blog…it’s super cute! This tag was originally created Rebecca Books.


The Questions:

1. Kaz Brekker (A Book You Shouldn’t Judge By It’s Cover)

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The book cover is so not accurate! You wouldn’t know it based on the cover, but this super steamy book features a fat heroine. Someday I would love to see her on the cover and not this boring romance stock image.

2. Nina Zenik (A Book That Made You Feel Empowered)

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This poetry collection is gorgeous. The last section of it is all about loving yourself and it really stuck with me. I remember crying a bit while reading the last part. Sometimes I get really down on myself for every little mistake that I’ve made or things I should have done or said. This reminded me that there’s more to life than being crippled by self doubt/hate. I am AMAZING. I am PERFECT. I think we all need to remind ourselves of that everyday.

3. Inej Ghafa (A Book With A Good Balance of Character and Plot)

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Leigh Bardugo is seriously the master of writing books with totally engaging plots and characters that latch onto your heart. I this is one of the many reasons why I adore everything that she releases. The balance between characters that you really get to know and a plot with tons of twists turns is hard to write but she makes it look so easy. ❤

4. Alina Starkov (A Book Unlike Anything You’ve Ever Read)

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I keep on raving about The Fourth Element series and for good reason. It’s just soooooo good! I wish more people were reading it. Kat Ross’ world building and characters are unlike anything I’ve read about before. I simply can’t get enough of them!

5. Mal Oretzev (A Book That Always Sticks With You)

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I couldn’t stop thinking about this book when I finished reading it. It honestly ripped my heart out. I don’t think I have ever cried so hard while reading. Even now when I think back to its ending I get emotional.

6. The Darkling (A Book With a Dark Plot)

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This book is all about a serial killer in 1880s New York City. The murders are pretty grisly and the entire atmosphere of the book is dark and gloomy. I absolutely loved every second of its twists and turns! If you like murder mysteries mixed with magic paranormal elements then this book is for you!

7. Jesper Fahey (A Book That People Always Seem to Leave Out)

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I honestly don’t know why more people never jumped on the original duology (The Assassin’s Curse/The Pirate’s Wish) or the re-release. The story features a curse, magic and sassy mythical creatures, plus pirates and assassins….what more could you ask for? These stories were so much fun to read!

8 & 9. Wylan Van Eck (A Book That Wasn’t What It Seemed At First) / Matthias Helvar (A Book That Was Bad At First But Turned Out Good)

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This book has a super slow start! Things don’t actually really pick up until the mid-way point. At first it’s all about the societal expectations, balls, pretty dresses and so on. Then it completely changes and becomes about the battle between good vs. evil, demons, magic and secret societies.

10. Nikolai Lantsov (A Witty Book)

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The conversations between the two main characters in this book were pure gold! I found myself grinning (and sometimes laughing out loud) while reading this book. Throw in some pretty sexy scenes and this is a must read!


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ARC Review: Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

36430924Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

Release date: October 9th, 2018
Publisher: Amulet
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook

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In the city of Eldra, people are ruled by ancient prophecies. For centuries, the high council has stayed in power by virtue of the prophecies of the elder seers. After the last infallible prophecy came to pass, growing unrest led to murders and an eventual rebellion that raged for more than a decade.

In the present day, Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. Her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt, and Cassa struggles to come to terms with the legacy of rebellion her dead parents have left her — and the fear that she may be inadequate to shoulder the burden. But by the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city — or themselves.

I absolutely adored Destiny Soria’s debut Iron Cast and automatically requested Beneath the Citadel when I saw it posted on NetGalley. While it’s very different from her first novel, Beneath the Citadel was just as good or even better! The book is full of adventure, magic and political intrigue and I simply couldn’t get enough! For being almost 500 pages long, I read through it so quickly and was so sad when it ended.

The story begins with four of the characters being sentences to death for the involvement in a treasonous plot. It starts off with no explanation and throws the reader right into the world of the characters. This was exhilarating…I could feel the danger the characters faced, their urgency to find a way out and escape. Books that start this way are always my favourite. The author wasted no time in getting right into the story and the rest of the book was the same way. There was never a moment when the characters weren’t on their toes, not having to solve a puzzle or fight for their freedom. This made me want to keep reading and reading, even when it was 2am and I was extremely tired. I just had to keep on going to find out what would happen next!

I really feel that this novel and its themes can tie in to what is currently happening in the world today. It focuses on topics such as the abuse of power, corruption, censorship, violence and mass murder. The main characters are fighting against this but along the way also realize that sometimes people who want to help are actually only in for it to help themselves. Nothing in this book is black and white. The characters and the situations that they find themselves in are very complex and fluid.

Talking about characters, the novel is very much driven by hem, with six different points of view. This method of story telling could have become confusing, but the author has masterfully created six unique characters with very different voices. The book also features gay, bisexual, aromantic/asexual characters, as well as fat representation. Now I can’t comment on how well this representation was written, however, I did like how this didn’t become what the book revolved around. Instead, it was who the characters were and wasn’t add to create drama or shock value. I loved how everything was slowly explained through their narratives. The beginning of the story didn’t feature an information dump. Instead, the reader had to be patient as the secrets of the characters and the world were revealed.

Beneath the Citadel is a fantastic standalone that fans of YA fantasy and adventure should totally check out. Go add it to your TBR and don’t forget to pre-order it now! Also, in the meantime, you can listen to the book’s soundtrack recorded by the Paper Crane Society (which I think is such a cool idea).

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About the Author

14757755Destiny Soria writes Young Adult fiction. Her debut novel Iron Cast was published by Abrams/Amulet in Fall 2016. Her second novel Beneath the Citadel is slated for Fall 2018.

Destiny lives in Birmingham, AL, where she spends her time trying to come up with bios that make her sound kind of cool. She has yet to succeed.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Playlist Book Tag

Book Blitz_-2I absolutely love tags where books and music collide! I found this one on Lost in Pages and decided to give it a try. It was originally created by Little Red Reader.

Here are the rules: Shuffle your playlist (no skipping!) and pick a book that reminds you of that song! It can be a character, a scene, etc. You can do this for as many songs/books as you would like.


1. “Light Me Up” by Birdy — Damaged Goods by Talia Hibbert

This song reminds me of the wonderful love story from the novella Damaged Goods. Basically, the two main characters were once in love as teenagers, but ultimately torn apart. They meet again and so many things have changed. This song is about moving past  previous heartbreak and finding someone who loves you know matter what.

2. “Glory” by Bastille — Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

This book features its two main characters taking a walk down memory lane before heading off to college. In a way, this song is very much about that. It reflects on past experiences, mistakes and looking forward to the future.

3. “Where’s the Revolution” by Depeche Mode — The Black Key by Amy Ewing

The final book in The Lone City trilogy is all about rising up against the royals who suppress, abuse and manipulate their subjects for their own benefit. I really think that this song perfectly captures the techniques used by the royalty to maintain power. It’s also a call to arms for a revolution, which is basically what the entire series is all about.

4. “Big God” by Florence + The Machine — Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda

This is one of my all time favourite graphic novels! With this edition, Maika Halfwolf takes on ancient gods in order to find out more about her past. While the lyrics of the song don’t really match the subject matter of the book, I do think the tone and darkness of it do.

5. “Talking Man” by Bedouin Soundclash — The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen

This song is all about how people like to talk trash and spread rumours about others. The Way to Game the Walk of Shame opens up with the lead character, Taylor, being gossiped about because of an incident that happened at a party. She wants people to just stop being so cruel, but they don’t seem to care and find great happiness in her misery.

6. “Lions in Cages” by Wolf Gang — Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

The song is all about suppression and feeling constrained by society. In Beneath the Citadel, the main characters are fighting against a society where a small group of privileged people have complete control over the lives of many. The story begins with the characters in prison and trying to break free.

7. “Mathematics” by Little Boots — Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

This song reminds me of the relationship between Lara Jean and Peter. Over the three books their relationship goes through a lot of ups and downs. They learn that love isn’t just something that is there, you actually need to work hard at maintaining it. However, no matter what obstacles were thrown in their path they battled through it. I don’t want to say anymore and spoil things for people who haven’t read the trilogy. If you haven’t you honestly really should!


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The ABC Book Challenge | “I”

Book Blitz_I first saw this book tag/challenge on the Life of a Literary Nerd and was super excited to try it myself. This week’s post focuses on amazing titles and items on my TBR that start with the letter “I”. I was actually surprised to see on my Goodreads that I haven’t read/added to my TBR many books that start with this letter. Hmmm…I wonder why?


Memorable Titles That Start With “I”

The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller was one of the first fantasy book series that I just couldn’t get enough of. It also marked my first foray into adult fantasy as a teenager. Iron Cast by Destiny Soria was such a surprise of a book. I went into not expecting much but was blown away. It’s such a fun adventure post-war Boston with magic, friendship, lies and betrayal. I Remember Beirut by Zeina Abirached is a unique graphic novel that explores a religious civil war from the eyes of a child.

Books Starting With “I” On My TBR

I added Invictus by Ryan Graudin right after finishing the Wolf by Wolf duology. I love everything time travel and it just sounds so good! I was very excited when Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh was released. I even pre-ordered it and still haven’t read it. Ugh…that needs to change ASAP. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo sounds so adorable. I’ve heard great things about it and the cover is just so darn happy. I have an eBook version waiting for me on my iPad. Soon…soon!


Which memorable books that start with an “I” have you read? Have you read any of the books included above? What were your thoughts about them? ❤

Blog Tour: Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel (Review & Giveaway)

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

37638219Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel

Release date: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Genre: Young adult, fantasy

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Keeper of the Bees is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways.

Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.

I just finished reading Black Bird of the Gallows (a book that I thoroughly enjoyed) and was super excited to pick this novel up. Now, Keeper of the Bees is technically a companion novel to Meg Kassel’s debut, but can be read as a standalone. So, if you haven’t read Black Bird of the Gallows (which you really should) don’t worry. You can still completely enjoy everything about this book. 🙂

Before I start my review, I just want to say that originally I turned my nose up at Black Bird of the Gallows. I unfairly dismissed it as being too Twilight sounding and turned down a chance to review it when it was released last year. When I received the blog tour sign-up for Keeper of the Bees I was really excited because of the cover and synopsis. Then I made the connection and decided to give it a chance. I’m just really, really glad that I did. I’ve totally been missing out! Anyway…time for the actual review.

Things I Liked:

  • The book was very easy to read through and I was completely engaged from the first page until the very end. It really didn’t feel like I read 400 pages. I’ve lately been struggling with books longer than 300 pages. Why? I have no idea but I’ve been losing interest midway through and with this story that didn’t happen. I actually read it within a couple of day it was that good!
  • The story is told through multiple points of view. Sometimes this can get a bit confusing because the characters tend to sound too similar. However, I really enjoyed reading the two POVs. Both were totally unique and I never found myself wanting to skip over a certain chapter because it revolved around a particular character.
  • Adding on to the point above, I loved the two main characters! Essie was absolutely wonderful. Throughout the story she suffered from hallucinations and I liked how the author invited the reader into her head during these periods where she wasn’t fully in control. I felt like I really got to know Essie and sympathize with her struggles. Dresden was very interesting to read about because of his “curse”. My heart really hurt for him.
  • I liked the Beauty and the Beast vibes that the story gives off. The lesson or main idea is that we all have our issues or problems, things that we struggle with. We shouldn’t judge others based on what we initially see because underneath there is great beauty. The romance between Essie and Dresden really went up against the odds and I cheered them on the entire time. You can’t help but rally behind them and become invested in their fight to be together and defeat their own personal demons.
  • If you have read Black Bird of the Gallows, then you already know a lot about the harbingers of death. This book immerses the reader into the world of the beekeepers and further adds to the mythology previously introduced. I liked getting to see the other side of things and to further understand how things work in Kassel’s super unique world.

Things I Disliked:

  •  The romance was a bit too insta-love for me. Things moved really fast! I kind of rolled my eyes a few times, but at least there weren’t any love triangles or squares. That would have been too much for me! I prefer slow burning romances that take time to develop.

So, if you were a fan of Black Bird of the Gallows or like paranormal romances than this book is totally for you! It’s very heartwarming, easy to read and very additive. I’m eagerly looking forward to Kassel’s next release.


About the Author

8353652Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before embracing her true passion, writing. She now lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her family, and is busy at work on her next novel. A fan of ’80s cartoons, original Netflix series, daydreaming, and ancient mythology, Meg has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. When she’s not writing, Meg is reading, hanging out with her husband and daughter, hiding her peanut butter cups, or walking her rescue mutt, Luna. She is a two-time finalist and the 2016 YA winner of the RWA Golden Heart© contest. Her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows, was released in 2017.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Giveaway

Click the link to enter an international rafflecopter giveaway. You could win ____________. Good luck! 🙂


The Tour

ih9zuluDon’t forget to check out the rest of today’s stops organized by YA Bound Book Tours.

See the rest of stops on the Keeper of the Bees blog tour here.

20 Books of Summer Challenge Wrap Up!

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Summer has basically come to an end and that means that it’s time to wrap up my progress in the 20 Books of Summer challenge. This year, the challenge ran from June 1st to September 3rd and was hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. The goal of this challenge was to read 20 books throughout the summer.


What I Read:

So, I didn’t complete the challenge but 17 out of 20 books isn’t too bad! I think this is a pretty huge achievement since I gave birth at the end of July and had very little to no time to read throughout August. A lot of these books weren’t on my original TBR but were added due to blog tour commitments. I don’t even know why I create TBRs…I never stick to them! 😛

What I Had Left on My TBR:

I had three books left on my TBR for this challenge. I really wanted to read them but books that I received for review kind of took over my original list of books to read and these sadly were pushed aside. I do plan on reading them within the next few months.

Did you take part in the 20 Books of Summer challenge? What other challenges or read-a-thins did you participate in this summer?