#LoveAThon: Mini Challenge #4: Sweethearts Candy Messages

This is the third year I’ll be participating in the Book Blogger’s Love-A-Thon and this year, I’m cohosting the event alongside Alexa ofAlexa Loves Books, Cee of The Novel Hermit and Mel of The Daily Prophecy.  Sign-ups are still open so there’s time if you want to join in (and you should) and the Love-A-Thon takes place from February 19th – 20th.  It’s the perfect way to meet new book bloggers and make new friends<3

You’ve received a box of Sweethearts candy, and you’re asked to share the candy with a person or couple – fictional or real. Tell us who you’d give these messages to:

Love Wins – A couple you didn’t think would get together, but against all odds, they did – Cress & Thorne <3 One of my #1 OTPs of all time.  I love those two silly lovebirds!

I Do – A character you’d marry – That would have to go to my first book crush, Ron Weasley<3!


Dream Big – A character whose dreams you want to come true – Cath is so passionate about writing and she’s such a relatable and wonderful characters that I truly just want all the good things for her in her future.  I wish we could see how her second year of college went!

Crazy 4 U – A character you’re crazy about – Will Herondale <3 <3 <3 – You guys, I read the Infernal Devices series this year and I TOTALLY get it now.

True Love – Your Ultimate OTP – No explanation necessary.

Te Amo – A language you’d want to be wooed in – French of course! It’s the language of love<3

BFF – A character you’d want to be your best friend – Lara Jean! Get ready for so much Song sisters love over the next two days<3!

Wink Wink – A character you’d want to wink at you – Definitely Wesley aka Guyliner! He just has that certain something and he was irresistible to me from the first page he appeared on!

Sweet Talk – A character who knows how to sweet talk / flirt – Kvothe definitely doesn’t necessarily get flirting but he sure is a sweet talker.  His mouth gets him out of and into lots of trouble so life with him would be nothing short of an adventure!

Best Day – A moment from a book you wish happened to you or your IRL best day – I would love to attend Caraval, most likely as a spectator and not as a participant because the roses, chocolate and wine appeal to all of my senses! It sounds like it would be the experience of a lifetime.

Ooh La La – A character you’d want to slow dance with – I recently finished reading Alex, Approximately and Porter is for sure a new book boyfriend.  He’s a beautiful surfer boy with so very many layers and I have no doubt he would be a great dancer.

Love You – The character that gets your undying love – Gansey<3 He is my favorite Raven Boy of all time and I will love him forever and ever.

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#LoveAThon: Mini Challenge #3: Fancy Yourself a Poet?

This is the third year I’ll be participating in the Book Blogger’s Love-A-Thon and this year, I’m cohosting the event alongside Alexa ofAlexa Loves Books, Cee of The Novel Hermit and Mel of The Daily Prophecy.  Sign-ups are still open so there’s time if you want to join in (and you should) and the Love-A-Thon takes place from February 19th – 20th.  It’s the perfect way to meet new book bloggers and make new friends<3

One of the most popular Love-a- Thon challenges is returning this year! All you have to do is create book spine poetry. You can either take a photo of the books, type out the titles in a post, read them out loud for a video or even get creative and collage it. Get as creative as possible!

I’m hoping that the third time is a charm for me when it comes to book spine poetry.  This is my third year participating in the LoveAThon and my first time ever competing this challenge because I never felt like I could do it- tbh, I still don’t but here’s my best attempt! I was so tempted to end every try with Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies because it would be funny but I decided that was too macabre ha!

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#LoveAThon: Mini Challenge #2: Mix + Match

This is the third year I’ll be participating in the Book Blogger’s Love-A-Thon and this year, I’m cohosting the event alongside Alexa ofAlexa Loves Books, Cee of The Novel Hermit and Mel of The Daily Prophecy.  Sign-ups are still open so there’s time if you want to join in (and you should) and the Love-A-Thon takes place from February 19th – 20th.  It’s the perfect way to meet new book bloggers and make new friends<3

We all love books, but there are other things we’re passionate about too! All you’ve got to do is mash-up a non-bookish hobby/passion/talent/fandom with your bookish life. Do it through photos, collages, or videos. Get as creative as you’d like to!

Fashion – I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology for college and my love of fashion has never wavered! I’m definitely a smarter shopper now and I love finding the silhouettes, colors and styles that I’ve adapted as my style.  The joy I feel when finding that perfect piece of apparel (or shoes) is incomparable!  I am the girl that spends a good portion of her day checking all of the new arrivals sections on her favorite shopping sites.

Baking – Admittedly, I haven’t been baking as much lately as I used to but that doesn’t mean that I love the process any less. I still visit baking websites daily and save the most decadent looking recipes to my various pinterest boards for one day when I have more time<3.

Makeup – I am a complete and total sucker for makeup.  Do I need anymore Too Faced eyeshadow palettes? No.  Will I buy them anyway if they’re scented and packaged in an adorable manner? Yes, absolutely.

Japanese Culture – (excuse the photo, I don’t have the best lighting situation near my manga shelf!) – My love of manga and all things Japan runs deep.  I dream of visiting Tokyo one day (but I’ll seriously need to psych myself up for that plane ride!) and visiting the Studio Ghibli museum, all of the cute Nintendo attractions, Hello Kitty cafes, cat cafes, maid cafes and of course, Akihabara! Plus the food is my absolute favorite.

Disney – I’ve always been a Disney girl at heart.  In fact, my hair is currently so long that’s its reached Rapunzel status which is exactly how I’ve always wanted it.  I love Disney so much that Andrew and I even went there for our Honeymoon last year! I’m dying to go back in the Fall when the weather is cooler and we can enjoy the Christmas decor!

Christmas – My favorite season of the year is Christmas season.  Every since I was a little girl I’ve adored the magic of Christmas and all of the warm feelings that go along with it.  And for those who aren’t aware, Christmas season begins at the end of July in my heart.

Link Up Your Posts!


PRIZE PACK (US): Passenger, Vassa in the Night, Amberlough, Be Good Be Real Be Crazy, Metaltown tattoo, Tor Teen pin, The Dark Talent pin, Amberlough pin

PRIZE PACK (INTL): Passenger, Truthwitch, To Catch a Killer, The End of Our Story, Metaltown tattoo, Tor sticker, Arabella of Mars paper dolls, Becoming Bonnie newspapers

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#LoveAThon: Mini-Challenge #1: Mad Libs Fairytale Edition

This is the third year I’ll be participating in the Book Blogger’s Love-A-Thon and this year, I’m cohosting the event alongside Alexa ofAlexa Loves Books, Cee of The Novel Hermit and Mel of The Daily Prophecy.  Sign-ups are still open so there’s time if you want to join in (and you should) and the Love-A-Thon takes place from February 19th – 20th.  It’s the perfect way to meet new book bloggers and make new friends<3

I’m so excited that we’ve already kicked off this year’s Love-A-Thon (link to post) and that we have so many lovely book addicts joining us this year!  The first challenge of the Love-A-Thon was created by Mel of The Daily Prophecy and it’s one of the most fun and creative challenges I’ve ever had the pleasure of participating in.  Mel crafted an adorable Mad Libs version of a fairytale, giving us prompts to come up with answers for and then the full fairytale text where we could insert those answers.  I had so much fun reading this one I finished coming up with prompts and some of the answers had me laughing out loud! If you also came up with your own version of the fairytale, don’t forget to link your post over on Mel’s blog so you can be entered in the giveaway!

The Prompts / My Answers

  1. LOCATION – Hogwarts
  2. CHARACTER – pirate
  3. TYPE OF STORE – Book Store
  4. BODY PART (plural) – eyes
  5. ITEM – tea cup
  6. ROYALTY – Princess
  7. REPEAT ITEM FROM #5 – tea cup
  8. ACTIVE VERB – prancing
  10. AN EMOTION – happiness
  11. MUSICAL INSTRUMENT – lyre (wow that is the actual first instrument that came to mind!)
  12. PIECE OF FOOD – cupcake
  13. NUMBER – seven
  14. TYPE OF HOUSE – castle
  15. VOICE ADJECTIVE – loud
  16. DESCRIBE A SOUND (ending with –ing) – banging
  17. ROOM IN A HOUSE – library
  18. OBJECTS – candles
  19. DESCRIBE AN OUTFIT – fitted pinstripe suit, skinny tie and cognac oxfords
  20. INFINITIVE VERB – swimming
  21. REPEAT MUSICAL INSTRUMENT from #11 – lyre
  22. A JOB – social media manager

The Fairytale with my Answers

Once upon a time, in a far away (1) Hogwarts, there lived a smart (2) pirate. She lived alone in a (3) Book Store, where she had grown up with the deceased owner. She had beautiful (4) eyes, and she was known for her shiny red (5) tea cup, the only thing she had left of her parents.

Alas, the (6) Princess of the country became jealous and wanted to own this (7) tea cup. So, she became a wanted person and had to flee into the forest to find a place to hide. After (8) prancing around for hours, hungry and tired, she stumbled upon (9) Mordor. An old lady appeared, offering her shelter from the bitter cold.  She looked at her with (10) happiness and said “I will protect you, but I need your help first. Years ago I lost something precious and I want it back. You need to climb into the sky and get my (11) lyre back. Here is a magical (12) cupcake, throw it into the earth, sprinkle it with water and it will sprout a beanstalk. You have (13) seven days to return before the stalk withers.”

She followed the instructions given to her, and lo and behold, a beanstalk grew and grew and grew all the way up to the clouds. After an exhausting climb, she saw a huge (14) castle. She walked to the door and knocked. A (15) loud voice said “Fee-fi- fo-fum, who dares to come and enter my house?” She was not afraid and said “My name is Jamie and I’ve come to collect an item.”

The door made a (16) banging sound when it opened and revealed a large (17) library filled with golden (18) candles.  She stepped inside and walked towards the spiraling staircase, where a figure moved, cloaked in darkness.

“Who are you? Step in to the light, so I can see your face.”

The beast growled angry. “Why did you come here? I just want to be left alone.” Still, she moved and stood in front of it. There were three horns on his head, and hair all over his face and his mouth was filled with large teeth. He wore (19) a fitted pinstripe suit, skinny tie and cognac oxfords. “What happened to you?” She reached out to touch one of the horns, but the beast flinched. “Many years ago I was cursed by a witch. I have one year left (20) swimming so I can break the spell, but I’m not brave enough.”

“If you give me the (21) lyre, I will help you.”

In keeping her promise, the beast and her worked for a few hours and that afternoon, the beast transformed into an ordinary older guy. “I can’t wait to return to my job as a (22) social media manager in the normal world. Can I come with you?” Together they climbed down the beanstalk, carrying the instrument for the old lady. The moment she saw the guy and her beloved instrument, she started to weep.

“My husband, you have returned!” They hugged and looked at her.

“We have to tell you something” the old lady said. “You are our child. We were separated after the curse, but now we are reunited!” From that day, the three of them lived together in the forest, happily ever after.

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#LoveAThon: 2017 Kick Off (Questionnaire + Participant List + Giveaway)!

This is the third year I’ll be participating in the Book Blogger’s Love-A-Thon and this year, I’m cohosting the event alongside Alexa ofAlexa Loves Books, Cee of The Novel Hermit and Mel of The Daily Prophecy.  Sign-ups are still open so there’s time if you want to join in (and you should) and the Love-A-Thon takes place from February 19th – 20th.  It’s the perfect way to meet new book bloggers and make new friends<3

THE LOVEATHON IS OFFICIALLY HERE!!!! Me, Alexa, Cee and Mel are so excited to be kicking off this years event tonight! Since I’ve already answered the majority of the questionnaire in the past two years and some of the questions are similar to those in the BookTube tag, I decided to stick to favorites for this post and share my video here!  I hope everyone has a wonderful time participating this year!


1. Favorite food? Beverage?

Tea, tea and more tea! Particularly chai, Earl Grey and all kinds of green tea.

2. Favorite color?


3. Favorite tv shows?

Pushing Daisies, The IT Crowd, Battlestar Galactica, New Girl, Riverdale, Gossip Girl, Doctor Who, Pretty Little Liars and The OC (I could go on and on and on!).

4. Favorite movies?

Harry Potter (1-7 pt. 2), Almost Famous, The Illusionist, Star Wars (IV-VII), Lord of the Rings (all of ’em!), Clueless, Mean Girls, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Tangled, The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Elf!

5. Favorite Anime?

Ouran High School Host Club, Sailor Moon, Yuri!!! on Ice, One Punch Man, Sword Art Online

6. Favorite musical artists?

Jenny & Johnny, Rilo Kiley, Fleet Foxes, LCD Soundsystem, Chvrches, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., She & Him, Tennis, Summer Camp, Cults, Metric, Best Coast, Arcade Fire and lots of showtunes!

7. Favorite places to shop?

Nordstrom, Revolve, Shopbop, ModCloth

Book Talk

1. Favorite childhood books?

Harry Potter, Goosebumps, Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High

2. Favorite books read in the last five years?

The Name of the Wind, The Night Circus, The Raven Boys series, A Court of Mist and Fury, Throne of Glass series, Crooked Kingdom, The Infernal Devices, Passenger, The Archived, The Lunar Chronicles, Fangirl, Anna and the French Kiss, Pivot Point

3. Favorite genres?

Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller

4. Underrated book, series or author you love?

The Girl at Midnight series by Melissa Grey

5. A book you want to see made into a film or tv show?

The Night Circus

6. Book boyfriend/girlfriend? Book BFF? Book family?

BF – Gansey (The Raven Boys), BFF – Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), Family – The Weasleys

7. Books you want to read in 2017?

Oh gosh, so very many! Top 5 are 1) Leviathan’s Wake by James S.A. Corey, 2) Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, 3) The Magician’s Land, 4) The Star-Touched Queen, 5) The Forbidden Wish.

BookTube Challenge

Participant List



Vassa in the Night, Arcanum Unbounded, High Stakes Tor Teen, A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, Shades of Magic series book huggers, NOVL water bottle, NOVL tote bag, Tor Teen pin, The Dark Talent pin, Game of Shadows tattoos, Game of Shadows postcards, Arabella of Mars paper doll, Becoming Bonnie newspapers, Amberlough pin, Ronit & Jamil, The You I’ve Never Known, Frostblood ARC, The Bone Queen ARC, Blueberry Pancakes Forever ARC, Iron Cast ARC, Also Known As


Vassa in the Night, Arcanum Unbounded, High Stakes, A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows
Shades of Magic series book huggers, The Dark Talent + Amberlough pins, Game of Shadows tattoos, Game of Shadows postcards, Arabella of Mars paper doll, Becoming Bonnie newspaper, NOVL water bottle + tote bag, Ruined, The Inside of Out, Second Chance Summer, Traveler, To Catch a Killer, Geekerella, Spontaneous

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Tea & Book Chat: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Personal Thoughts:  I had been wanting to read Girl Against the Universe since it’s debut, largely due to the gorgeous cover.  I’m not really a fan of the color orange but this beautifully illustrated tennis court just works for me.  And I love that Maguire is strewn across the corner, looking like she’s given up on everyone and everything.  I knew going into it that Maguire believes she’s bad luck, but I was never expecting to find a character that I personally relate to as much as I do to her.  Maguire suffers from anxiety (with a slightly different thought process than mine manifests in) and “listening” in on her therapy sessions with Dr. Leed was an added bonus for my own personal mental health.

Plot Summary:  In Girl Against the Universe, our main character Maguire believes she’s bad luck.  She would rather just stay home and far away from other people because she doesn’t want anything bad to happen to them on her account.  She is the survivor of several accidents which is where her fear stems from and after her most recent mishap, she moves with her mom, stepdad and step-siblings to a new town in California for a fresh start.  Her mom pays for a preset amount of therapy sessions with Dr. Leed and it’s there that Maguire meets Jordy, another one of Dr. Leed’s patients with his own set of issues.

Critique:  I can’t even pick a favorite thing about this book because I loved the entire thing so deeply so I’ll just start explaining why.  Girl Against the Universe is not a girl with mental illness meets boy and then suddenly everything is better story.  Maguire and Jordy are each dealing with their own set of very unique issues and the book shows the two of them working through things on their own and with each other.  Maguire never lets Jordy push her into anything she’s not ready for.  With Dr. Leed’s help, she comes up with a list of challenges to try to push herself into being more social and experiencing the world instead of sitting home while life happens around her.  As it turns out, Jordy is something of a niche celebrity.  He’s by no means super famous but he’s well known enough that he’s used to girls using him for his notoriety and access to fancy parties.  His parents have a one track mind when it comes to his future and until now, Jordy has been on board even though it’s not necessarily what he really wants out of life.  The friendship that he and Maguire form is incredibly adorable and I like that they’re able to find strength within themselves as a result of their relationship.  Also notable are the amazing and unlikely friends Maguire makes along the way.  They’re supportive and helpful and I just want to give them a big hug.  I also loved the family aspect of the story.  Maguire has a complicated relationship with her stepfather and she hasn’t told her mother all the details of her mental illness.  As the story progresses, there are some pretty heartwarming family moments and your heart is sure to melt.

Do I Recommend?: Yes! Girl Against the Universe is a new favorite for me, particularly for the relatability factor when it comes to anxiety.  This book means so much to me.  To see something that I’ve experienced portrayed so accurately and without any negative connotations, is more than I ever could’ve wished for.  I’m so happy there is a substantial backlist of Paula Stokes books that I have to look forward to reading!

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Tea & Book Chat: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (Hundred Oaks #2)

Personal Thoughts:  I read Catching Jordan, the first book in the Hundred Oaks series last year but I had been hesitant going into it because in my own personal life, I could not care less about sports.  As it turns out, I love sports anime and contemporary romances where sports play a part.  I think what I’ve learned here is that if real life sports games had more monologues and less play time, I would probably enjoy those as well.  I was excited to start Stealing Parker because one of my reading goals for the year is to catch up on the Hundred Oaks series and because this book focuses on softball.  I played softball from third grade through my junior year of high school (when I wanted to spend more time with my friends so I purposely threw the tryouts since my parents forced me into them despite my disinterest).  There ended up being a lot more baseball than softball but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I even loved it more than Catching Jordan!

Plot Summary:  Stealing Parker is about a girl name Parker who has a very complicated life.  Her mother came out and left her family and she hasn’t been handling the fallout well ever since.  Parker is shunned by her best friend, the people at her church turn on her and in order to dispel rumors that she’s like her mother, she ends up kissing a few more boys than she cares to.  Things get even more complicated when she becomes the manager for the boys baseball team and starts taking an interest in her very adult coach.

Critique:  I really enjoyed this one!  Stealing Parker was not at all what I had been expecting,  I’ve never read a YA contemporary romance where religion plays such a huge role.  I love that Parker begins to question everything she’s been taught once the people at her church turn their back on her and her family over the “scandal” involving her mom.  It’s not just a coming of age novel in the general sense but it also focuses on finding yourself spiritually.  Each person in Parker’s family is handling everything differently so this is in no way, a cute fluffy contemporary.  It covers everything from underage relationships to slut shaming to drug abuse to eating disorders to best friend break ups and more.  Parker ends up making a slew of bad decisions while going through her depression and as I’m sure you can imagine, things continue to spiral downward into even more of a mess before a resolution is reached.  I absolutely adored the romance in this book (and no, not the sleazy teacher / student relationship).  My only complaint is about Parker’s best friend Drew.  His piece of the puzzle was a little ridiculous to me because of certain circumstances but overall, that didn’t hinder my opinion at all.

Do I Recommend?: Yes! Stealing Parker is the second book in the Hundred Oaks series but it’s not at all necessary to read these books in order.  There are cameos of characters from the first book, but they wouldn’t be noticeable if you aren’t familiar with their story and you don’t need any background information on them to enjoy what’s currently going on.

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Tea & Book Chat: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #2)

Personal Thoughts:  Boom! It only took an entire year but I finally read A Gathering of Shadows right in time to catch up with V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series before it’s final installment, A Conjuring of Light debuts at the end of February.  I have no idea how I waited this long to dive back in but I do know that I never would’ve been able to wait another 12 months for the rest of this story after the unreal cliffhanger at the end of book two.  V.E. Schwab has NEVER done that to us readers before so it was completely unexpected (and I loved every minute of it!)!  I ended up loving A Gathering of Shadows even more than it’s predecessor, A Darker Shade of Magic but I’ll get more into the why of things below!

Plot Summary:  A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in the Shades of Magic trilogy so if you haven’t read A Darker Shade of Magic, proceed with caution because there will be spoilers ahead.  The second book picks up four months after the events in A Darker Shade of Magic.  Having purged the obsidian stone through a rift into Black London along with Holland’s dead body, you would think things in Red London would begin to improve.  Think again! Kell and Rhy are dealing with the consequences of their actions but only Kell is being punished for them.  For someone who craves freedom, Kell seems to be less in control of his own life than ever before.  Meanwhile, Lila Bard is off gallivanting with pirates aboard a ship called the Night Spire.  As fate would have it, our two heroes become involved in the Essen Tach, or game of elements where folks compete using their magic to battle each other.

Critique: I’m a huge fan of elaborate competitions so A Gathering of Shadows was destined to secure a place in my heart.  But it had me even earlier because following Lila’s adventures was my favorite element of this second book (okay, one of them but it’s just so hard to choose because I loved so much about this book!).  The imagery that Schwab conveys about life aboard a pirate ship is the ultimate in appealing alternative lifestyles.  Normally, life for a woman aboard a pirate ship might be a bit of a challenge but as you’ll remember from A Darker Shade of Magic, Lila Bard will give any man a run for his money using her plethora of weapons and a bit of her charm.  Early on, I was living for those Lila scenes.  Then we have Kell and Rhy, irrevocably bound to one another after the events of the first book.  I am so glad that we got to see more of Rhy in this book because while he was charming and funny in book one, his added perspective uncovered an extra layer of depth that we weren’t privy to until now.  I’m pretty sure everyone saw one specific thing involving Black London coming but I’m not going to say anything about it here just in case.  Except to say THAT ENDING THOUGH.  While we spent most of the story in Red London, we did find out some important information about the state of things in Grey, White and Black London so I’m really excited for the final book.  So overall, the world VE Schwab built continues to be intriguing, the allure of the games kept everything exciting, the character relationships became stronger and the unexpected cliffhanger had me shaking my fist and screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Do I Recommend?: YES YES YES. There a bunch of people who have said that this series isn’t their favorite of VE’s works but I would still recommend continuing even if you didn’t love the first book.  A Gathering of Shadows is a game changer and the antics of Kell, Lila and Rhy are sure to keep you hooked until the very end.

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Tea & Book Chat: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (The Fixer #1)

Personal Thoughts:  For my second read of 2017, I wanted to consume something quick paced and exciting so I landed on The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.  I remember seeing a bunch of positive reviews from trusted blogger friends when it first debuted and I had been meaning to check it out ever since.  In recent reading years, I’ve noticed that I’m really interested in fictional politics.  I never thought I would be, but it’s always what I end up loving most about stories with any type of political element so when I read the synopsis of The Fixer and found out that it’s a political thriller, I was so in!

Plot Summary:  The Fixer is about a sixteen year old girl named Tess Kendrick who is forced to move from her grandfather’s ranch to Washington D.C. to live with her estranged older sister Ivy.  It turns out that Ivy has quite the reputation around Washington which she uses to secure Tess a spot at Harwicke Academy, a prestigious school attended by basically every rich politicians offspring.  Tess gets completely thrown into this new life that she never asked for but since she’s a bit outspoken she quickly acclimates and becomes her classmates go-to for fixing their issues, big or small.  She gets involved in investigating a potential conspiracy theory involving her classmates family and it’s not long until lie after lie surfaces.

Critique:  I’m pleased to say that I thoroughly enjoyed The Fixer!  If I could give an initial warning, it would be that you’ll need to suspend all disbelief that a sixteen year old could be so instrumental in solving a national scandal (I’m not saying that it couldn’t happen, I’m just saying it’s a stretch that she had so much access to top politicians including the President and his wife).  Tess is a sarcastic and bossy character with a heart of gold.  She doesn’t take no for an answer and when the well-being of people she cares about is at risk, she’ll stop at nothing to help them.  The secondary characters in the story were also wonderful! I really enjoyed the possibility of a Tess / Asher romance without it actually happening.  It’s so rare to find a YA book without a romance plot and it was refreshing to have Tess be completely focused on solving the mystery at hand instead of fawning over a high school crush.  I also really loved Ivy’s chauffeur / bodyguard Bodie.  He was quite entertaining and his relationship with Tess was adorable from start to finish.  The pacing was incredibly quick and I felt like there was never a dull moment.  The last third of the book was impossible to put down and I was surprised several times by the outcomes. I cannot wait to read book 2!

Do I Recommend?: Yes! This fun political thriller will keep you entertained the whole way through.  Another plus is that it has short chapters (I always read quicker when that’s the case!).

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Tea & Book Chat: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

Personal Thoughts: I’ve told this story on my BookTube channel but I had been offered an ARC of The Female of the Species at BEA in 2016 and after seeing the awful cover, I put it down without a second glance.  Little did I know that The Female of the Species is pitched as a YA female version of Dexter, one of my favorite television shows ever (minus the horrible decline in the plot after season 4 and the worst series ending of all time) and it wasn’t until I got home to NY and started seeing rave reviews from trusted friends that I realized my huge mistake in letting this ARC go.  So you can bet that upon it’s release date, I headed over to my local B&N and picked up at copy! I loved this book hundreds of thousands of times more than I was ever expecting to (even with the Dexter comparison) and I love that Mindy McGinnis wrote this important story for a YA audience.

Plot Summary: Alex Craft’s older sister Anna is murdered three years prior to the events of The Female of the Species but the killer in her small town goes unpunished, by legal means anyway.  Alex, deeply affected by her sister’s murder takes justice into her own hands and avenges her sister’s death but is also not caught by local law enforcement.  Alex always stays away from her classmates until her senior year when she forges a friendship at work with Peekay, the Preacher’s Kid and her high school’s golden boy, Jack Fisher, shows a romantic interest in her.  The three end up at a party together where lots of alcohol and sexual abuse begin occurring and it trigger’s Alex’s dark side that she’s always kept hidden until now.

Critique: WOW. The Female of the Species is such an important story.  Mindy McGinnis covers rape-culture, drugs, underage drinking, feminism and so very much more.  The fact that this book was written for a YA audience speaks volumes about Mindy McGinnis and the lessons she’s trying to teach young women.  I was completely blown away by how these darker issues were handled and what a realistic portrayal Mindy was able to conjure up for this small town.  Each character was completely dynamic, believable and multi-layered.  The Female of the Species is narrated by each of the three aforementioned characters (Alex, Peekay and Jack) and each person brings an interesting perspective to the table.  Even the secondary characters like Branley were just written so perfectly.  Despite all of the darkness, there are some heartwarming moments involving the animals Alex and Peekay care for at their job, and the attitude Peekay’s parents have toward what they experienced as teenagers.  Despite being a Preacher, Peekay’s dad doesn’t turn a blind eye or forbade Peekay from partaking in any social events.  He and her mom both give her one of the memorable parent-daughter talks I’ve ever read.  Seriously, my heart was melting.  If you can handle a very gritty and real contemporary story that delves into important social issues, The Female of the Species is 100% worth the read but there are major triggers for anyone sensitive to abuse.

Do I Recommend?:  Yes! This is by no means an easy read in the sense that it deals with some HEAVY topics but I have no doubt you’ll fall in love with Alex’s morally grey character and her drive for justice in a society that’s otherwise apathetic to the things women experience.

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