June 9, 2017

LGBTQ YA Reading List

In honor of June being Pride month I think it is important to highlight some YA LGBTQ titles. I made a list of some of my favorite LGBTQ books and a few that I have yet to read, but can't wait to do so! If you haven't read them yet you should give them a try.

My Favorites

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
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Summary: Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
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Summary: Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone. And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met—open, honest, kind—and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant the truth, he won't be able to see past it. Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that she used to be Andrew.
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
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Summary: New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS.

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
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Summary: When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever. Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought. While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own. Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to.

On My TBR Pile

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
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Summary: There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets. Caden is a Nice: the boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: the brooding, dark-souled guy who is dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose the Nice or the Bad? Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be—whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die. What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
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Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever. Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi.The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. Her growing affection for Freddie makes her question her sexual identity.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
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An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

June 5, 2017

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: One S'more Summer by Beth Merlin

One S'more Summer by Beth Merlin (May 30, 2017)
Length: 264 pages
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Ink Monster LLC
Source: I received a free copy from the author as part of Xpresso Book Tours! This did not affect my honest review.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Synopsis: If you love Sophie Kinsella and Emily Giffin, you’ll love this heartwarming
debut from a fresh voice in contemporary chick-lit that offers a lighthearted and fun take on friendship, love, and how to recover from past mistakes. For twenty long years, Gigi Goldstein has been pining away for her best friend’s guy. She knows it’s wrong and it has to stop, but she hasn’t been able to let go ever since they all met on the bus to summer camp back when they were 7 years old. The same week that her best friends finally announce their wedding date, Gigi loses her high-profile design job. With all of her dreams unravelling, she runs to the last place she remembers being happy. Taking the Head Counselor position at Camp Chinooka, Gigi hopes to reclaim the joy she felt as a camper, but the job isn’t all campfire songs and toasting marshmallows. Gigi’s girls are determined to make her look bad in front of the boys’ Head Counselor—the sexy but infuriating Perry—and every scrap of the campground is laced with memories. When Gigi finally realizes she can’t escape the present by returning to her past, she’s forced to reexamine her life and find the true meaning of love. But will she be able to mend fences and forgive herself before she loses her one real shot at happiness?

My Review

One S'more Summer in Three Words: Charming. Summer. Nostalgia.

One S'more Summer was a fun read full of good summer vibes, new and old friendships, and some romance. I enjoyed the quick read and its interesting story.

When Gigi flees real life,  since the whole loving the guy your best friend is engaged to is a problem, she takes a job at her old summer camp as head counselor. While there she struggles with past memories while trying to make new ones. I loved the setting of a summer camp. If you have ever attended any kind of camp you will get a big wave of nostalgia thrown your way, and I really liked that. It put me in the summer mood. I could smell the campfires, envision the cabins, and delight in my own summer camp memories while enjoying Gigi's story.

Gigi was a main character that was hard to like at first, but grew on me just as she did throughout the book. She was always making such frustrating decisions that I wanted to smack her for, but her character has some growth, thanks to the help of her campers, her new friend, and Perry. Perry is the hot counselor that Gigi is always arguing with, but well... I'm sure you know what eventually happens between those two. I liked Perry more than Gigi, and found him to be mysterious and fun, two things I look for in a book boyfriend.

Camp shenanigans, summer romance, a well paced plot with a nice unfolding between the past and present, and interesting characters, are what drove me to give this book 3.5 stars. The ending left me a little annoyed, but there will be a book two so I think that will make a difference!

The Verdict: One S'more Summer is the perfect book to bring to the beach. It may have its flaws, but it was very enjoyable.

The Author

Beth Merlin has a BA from The George Washington University where she minored in Creative Writing and a JD from New York Law School. She’s a native New Yorker who loves anything Broadway, rom-coms, her daughter Hadley, and a good maxi dress. She was introduced to her husband through a friend she met at sleepaway camp and considers the eight summers she spent there to be some of the most formative of her life. One S’more Summer is Beth’s debut novel.

The Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


May 30, 2017

Mini Reviews: Queens of Geek, The Valiant, & These Ruthless Deeds

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (March 2017)

Queens of Geek was such a fun read! It was beyond adorable, full of laughs, and had relatable characters. Did I mention it is also a diverse book? For all those fellow geeks out there I suggest you read this one. The setting is a comic con people! I love that this story isn't just about love, but also about friendship, fandoms, and life. It's a quick read that would be perfect for your beach bag this summer.

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (Feb. 2017)

I was disappointed by The Valiant. I can't even decide if I should really give it a full three stars or two and a half. Why was I disappointed? There simply was not enough gladiator fighting (although the scenes that were in it were pretty awesome), it was predictable, the pacing was off, and the romance was unbelievable and happened too fast. I really wanted to love this one, but I just couldn't look past its short comings. I do know a lot of people that did enjoy this book, but it just wasn't working for me.

These Ruthless Deeds (#2) by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas (March 2017)

I think I may have loved this book even more than the first book, These Vicious Masks. The ending left me in shambles and everything before that was wonderfully intriguing. The main characters are interesting and hilarious. The pacing of the plot was perfect, and my favorite part were all of the powers (new and old) everyone had. This book is perfect for fans of Historical Fiction and/or X-Men. It's a quick read offering many laughs and a few twists and turns along the way.

May 15, 2017

Recently Added to My TBR Pile

I love seeing the books people add on their shelves on Goodreads and I certainly really love adding books to my own TBR pile. (Perhaps a little too much.) Therefore, I thought maybe that when I add some good stuff I would share it with you guys! Here are some of the recent books I have added to my Goodreads shelf. I include a short summary from Goodreads along with a link in case you what to add these bad boys to your own TBR pile. Anything I can do to help out my fellow book nerds. ;)

Airports, Exes, and Other Things I'm Over by Shani Petroff

A bad storm, two canceled flights, stuck in an airport with a hot stranger and the guy who broke her heart... what could go wrong? After Sari caught her boyfriend Zev cheating on her, their romantic Florida vacation was ruined. She can't get back to NYC soon enough. Unfortunately, mother nature may have different plans. A huge storm is brewing in the Northeast, and flights all over the country are getting canceled—including Sari's. She winds up stuck at the airport for hours. With Zev! When another stranded passenger (a hot NYU guy) suggests a connecting flight to Boston, Sari jumps at the chance. But when her mom freaks out about her traveling alone, she has no choice—she has to include Zev, and somehow survive being trapped with the guy who broke her heart!

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash though firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius. That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own. When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race. Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

Shortly after 17-year-old Maren Hamilton is orphaned and sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland, she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that makes her and everyone around her a target. It confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends. With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.


May 8, 2017

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon: Sign-Up, Goals, & Updates

Well, I just can't say no to a Bout of Books read-a-thon! I just finished my first semester of grad
school and I have a few weeks off until my summer classes start. Woot!
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

My Goals

Reading Goals
~ Read at least three books.
~ Write a review within 48 hours of completing a book.

Social Goals
~ Participate in one Twitter chat.
~ Participate in one mini challenge.

Some Reading Options
~ The Valiant by Lesley Livingston
~ Cashmere by Temple West
~ Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
~ The Stone Heart by Faith Erin Hicks
~ Real Friends by Shannon Hale


I read The Valiant and although I liked it, I was a little disappointed.

I didn't read anything today. :(

Nothing today.

I started ACOWAR! I made it to pg. 78.

I am further into ACOWAR!


I had to work so no reading today.

Two Books = 1,077 pages

Looking Back

I didn't participate in a single challenge or chat, but I did get some reading done! I call that a win.

May 5, 2017

ARC Review: Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

Shacking Up by Helena Hunting (May 30, 2017)
Length: 480 pages
Genre: Romance
Publisher: Swerve
Source: I received a free copy from Netgalley. This did not affect my honest review.
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating:
Goodreads Summary: Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before. Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick. Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. Filled with hilariously awkward encounters and enough sexual tension to heat a New York City block, Shacking Up, from NYT and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting, is sure to keep you laughing and swooning all night long.

My Review

Shacking Up in Three Words: Funny. Teaser. Enjoyable.

This book was a whole lot of fun to read! Shacking Up was exactly what I needed to read to take a break from all my reading for grad school.

Shacking Up has an interesting plot and some fun characters. Ruby may have had an amazing random kiss the night before, but isn't happy that it made her sick, especially since it is the reason why she bombs her audition the next day. Luckily for her, her best friend knows the guy and they end up hooking her up with the temporary job of taking care of his pets while he is out of town. Ruby is in desperate need of money and will do anything.

Bancroft (what a name!) feels incredibly guilty for getting Ruby sick and doesn't hesitate to offer her a job to watch his pets. Bancroft is described as a sexy ex-rugby player. I liked him. He is a good guy, which is a nice change of pace from some rich guys in other romance novels. Ruby also comes from money, but refuses to accept it and instead follow her dream, she too is a nice girl. Ruby and Bancroft are very likable people, unlike a few other characters that make an appearance.

There is a lot of teasing and flirting between Bancroft and Ruby, and it was adorable. It brought a lot of heat and a few laughs. Their interactions had me fanning myself a few times. If that doesn't make for a good romance novel then I don't know what does.

The Final Verdict: All you romance fans out there will enjoy reading Shacking Up.

April 21, 2017

Insider Library Tips: Checking Out Books at Your Local Library

This is an insider's guide on how to properly handle your transaction at the your local library's check-out desk. You may be surprised that I have to mention some of these things, but sadly, they do happen more often than not.

**REMEMBER we LIKE working at the library and with the public. We are here to help! BUT we also are human beings and deserve respect. Just be nice. Kindness goes a long way.

DO have your library card or driver's license handy. At most libraries you must have one or the other to check out. Also, make sure your license has your current address. If you are a child and don't have a driver's license yet you can always use a school id. It's a privacy thing.

DON'T get upset with us if you can't check out because you have no form of identification on you. We can hold the books for you at the desk if you want to come back later or tomorrow, or even the day after that.

DO gently (no throwing) hand the card to use when you get to the desk. If you need to grab it out of your wallet that is fine, but let's try not to hold up the line of people while you search your entire person. Just please don't put your card in your mouth or lick your fingers before handing it to us. That is gross.

DON'T just throw your bag full of books up on the counter and not say anything and just stand there. Say hello. (Although we usually greet you first so this should be even easier to do.)

DO unpack your bag so we can check your stuff out. We really would prefer it if we didn't have to put our hands in your personal bag. (If it is a library bag from us that is more reasonable.) It's awkward and weird. Unless you have your hands full with a baby, or for health reasons, or what have you, then that is understandable and we will help.

DON'T complain about your fines. It isn't our fault you turned your books in late or lost an item. We have late fees to encourage people to turn in their items in a timely manner so other patrons can check them out, we are not out to get you. We love seeing our library items being checked out.

DO tell us when you have had a family emergency, or were in the hospital, or something else happened, because we will be understanding and will waive your late fees. For the most part, late fees do not break libraries. Just be nice.

DO ask for us to renew your items. We can usually do this, unless the item is on hold or is brand new. We try to be accommodating even if some people may not think so.

DO check out as many books as you want! Our limit is 100 books (limits vary by library) total so feel free to check out whatever you like. We won't judge you. We usually have a fair amount of books checked out ourselves.

DON'T stand there twiddling your thumbs instead of packing up your own bag if we have a lot of items to check out for you. Please, pack your own bag if you are able. Packing up your own bag while we are checking out your items usually makes the process go a lot quicker for everyone involved. We don't normally mind doing this if you have less than 10 items, but if you have more than that you should help pack up your bag, especially when there is a long line behind you.

DO say thank you. It sill surprises me how many people don't thank me or are rude in general. Also, please don't be on your cell phone when completing a transaction.

DON'T ask us to throw away your trash. There are a lot of trash cans set up around the library. I really DON'T feel like I should throw away your trash for you. It's rude to ask me. If it is just an old library receipt that is one thing, but I really don't want to throw away your old coffee cup or food wrapper.

DO ask us what you need to get a library card or to renew your card. We will happily tell you. We love when people ask us in advance. Call us on the phone or look it up on the website if you are new in town. Don't just assume you can get a library card without proof that you live in that town. Taxes are what fund the library.

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