1187 Followers
154 Following
TBalla04

99 problems, and a book ain't one

Hello. My name is Tricia, and I have an addiction, an addiction to fiction. Fellow addicts, I welcome you with open arms. Blogger over @ bookwormcoalition.wordpress.com

Happy Valentine's Day, book lovers! Wishing you all HEAs today ❤
Happy Valentine's Day, book lovers! Wishing you all HEAs today ❤

BAKING WITH A ROCKSTAR BY: JASMIN MILLER

 

Baking with a Rockstar was just as sweet as it sounds! Honestly maybe even sweeter than I would typically expect from a rockstar related romance novel, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It was also a nice balance of sweet and heat that shouldn't be too much to keep anyone out of this kitchen.

 

 

 

 

My absolute favorite things:

 

 

 

 

1) The characters. Which ones, you ask. ALL. OF. THEM. Omg seriously, can this PLEASE be only the beginning of series set around this awesome group of characters? Most notably the entire Mitchell family. Shoot, you can even throw in a Grandma Hannah novella and I'll be there for that. The whole family is just so darn likeable, and better yet each member is incredibly intriguing, I would love to get a book devoted to each one of them! I want to explore what's going on between Mo and Gabe, I want to tour Dahlia's school for the arts, I need to find more out about Rose, hell I want to hang out with Hannah and her whole granny squad! And while all this is going on we can see more from the fast faves, Hudson and Charlie (and Mira too, of course!).

 

 

 

 

2) THE TWIST. Guys, I can't say what it is and that kills me in a way because it is soooooo good. It isn't all that often that I'm genuinely 100% surprised by a plot twist, but this one got me. It got me good. And it was EVERYTHING. It was honestly refreshing to have something that isn't exactly your run of the mill go-to romance tropes. I dig that in a big way.

 

 

 

So all in all lots of flavor in this charming little read. If you're looking for something fun and swoon-worthy with downright loveable characters and a surprise or two along the way then this is the story for you.

 

 

I won an ARC of this book from the author and this is my honest review.

THE BOYFRIEND BET BY: CHRIS CANNON

The Boyfriend Bet - Chris Cannon

The Boyfriend Bet was a quick(ish) light read. I feel like there was something missing though. I don't quite know what that is but I know I kept waiting for something MORE as I  read and it was something that never came, unfortunately. I know this was a high school romance but it felt very immature to me. This story started with a kiss between strangers in the first couple of pages but ultimately seemed to almost lose traction from there, which was surprising. All in all I thought it was a cute story, but missing some key attention/emotion grabbing elements. 

KING OF SCARS NAKED COVER LOVE

King of Scars - Leigh Bardugo

@Ani's Book Abyss this one is for you :)

 

 

SCREWDRIVERED BY ALICE CLAYTON

Screwdrivered - Alice Clayton

Screwdrivered was pretty much everything you'd expect from an Alice Clayton novel, reads quickly and full of sweet, funny, and sexy. Some faves from previous books make an appearance, which is always nice. This one was a real slow burn, which can be both great and maddening at the same time. I liked that it diverted at least a bit from the typical romance formula. I miss Clive cat and his escapades from the previous books though! 

THE KISS QUOTIENT BY HELEN HOANG

The Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang

This book was an interesting Romance paradox to me. It somehow managed to be really freaking cute and heartwarming while also being sort of taboo and dirty. The characters were very likeable, I definitely found myself rooting for both of them. It was also a quick read that grabbed you from the very beginning and I honestly couldn't put it down until I finished. I read this all in one sitting. One of my favorite things was I felt like I found it very insightful as to how a person with asperger's syndrome thinks and operates. I love it when you're reading fiction and feel like you're also learning some things.

NO EXIT BY: TAYLOR ADAMS

NO EXIT a gripping thriller full of heart-stopping twists - William Taylor Adams

A truly chilling page-turner! I was on the edge of my seat the entire time with this gritty thriller. LOVED IT! This book surprised me. I love the way Darby evolved in a deliciously dark knight kind of way. She was undoubtedly a hero, but she also had to become a monster, in a sense, to fight against the real monster. Some twists I saw coming, but it didn't make them any less awesome, and others blindsided me in the best way. Highly recommend this one to fans of thrills and chills. 

VISION IN SILVER BY: ANNE BISHOP

Vision in Silver - Anne Bishop

I'm obsessed with these books. I have to say how much I love this unique world Bishop has created. These aren't your typical shifters. I really like the fact that they're a little darker, a lot less human and a lot more other. It makes it that much more interesting to see them evolving as the story goes. The bits of humanity that are creeping in. It isn't only Meg's journey. They are all learning different things in different ways. I truly can't put these down. I'm moving right along to the next bomb installment!

DARK MATTER BY: BLAKE CROUCH

Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch

I thought this was a really unique, dark & twisty read, and I loved it! Crouch has a way of talking about these huge intricate things but in a really down-to-earth way that makes it seamless to follow right along. It was really fast paced and it honestly kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Surprisingly romantic in a really weird/frightening/fantastic way too lol. I definitely see why so many people were raving about this one.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 176 out of 352 pages.

— feeling evolution
Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch

Did I just become a scientist? Lol I love that Crouch makes you feel as if you're actually smart enough to kinda grasp the idea of a multiverse and how to traverse it.

 

SEVERANCE BY: LING MA

Severance  - Ling Ma

Not quite what I thought it was going to be like but very well written and interesting none the less. The abruptness of the ending was a bit of a let down though tbh. 

CROWN OF THUNDER BY: KARISSA LAUREL

Crown of Thunder  - Karissa Laurel

While I'm saddened to see this fantastical adventure come to an end, what a way to go! Crown of Thunder gives us the end of a magical journey, but also a hopeful beginning of sorts that is just as important.

 

 

One of the things I found most enchanting about this addition might not be what you would expect. Can we please take a minute to talk about the storyline between Evie and Jackie Faercourt? I never in a million years could have envisioned their inevitable culmination to play out the way it did. Absolutely brilliant! I'm at war with myself a little where this is concerned because the ultimate reconciliation was EPIC, but there's also a part of me that really would have LOVED even more Jackie. That's really a testament to just how well written a character he was and also how he surprisingly added more depth to Evie as well. I was not prepared for him to rise to these all new heights in this book. I thought I knew him. I thought I knew how things would go when their paths crossed again. I thought wrong. At one point I thought PLEASE LET THIS BE A SET UP FOR A SPINOFF ANTIHERO STORY. He ultimately became one of the most interesting characters to me, and although I do not see any antihero redemption stories in his future, the way that things played out was really quite perfect. Evie suddenly becomes all of us, confused by the warring emotions swirling around inside of her and unexpectedly battered by this sadness that was so unexpectedly powerful where Jackie is concerned.

 

 

 

 

I was so glad to see just how much Evie had grown as a person in this one. Her wild adventure to find her way back home took a young, sheltered, naive girl and helped shape her into a fierce, compassionate, prudent queen. She found herself out on the road, (air and sea too!) and she found her people and her purpose.

 

 

 

I also found that I enjoyed the few quiet moments, in between the chaos. The moments where she strolled with a friend and they reminisced on their childhoods and let themselves think of the homes they desperately missed in a way they haven't in so long. Or stolen moments with her heart's desire that even in a war they took the few moments to remind each other what else they were fighting for.

 

 

I just love this whole world, so full of magic and mayhem, so vibrant and full of the most colorful people. I would be enamored by any one of their tales, I'm sure of it! I'm sad to say goodbye to it, but a girl can always dream that maybe instead it is, until we meet again one day.

 

AN ANONYMOUS GIRL BY: GREER HENDRICKS & SARAH PEKKANEN

An Anonymous Girl - Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

Another twisty, chilling psychological bombshell by the dangerous duo, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen!

 

Desperation is a funny thing. It can lead you to do things you never imagined before. The desperate need to survive, or find the truth, for love and money, to hold onto a secret, and for vengeance. This book is absolutely dripping with it and will keep you riveted as you try to find the answers you are looking for.

 

There's also an unsettling undertone about the risk you take when you let someone into your home, your head, or your life. As well as how powerful the secrets we keep can be. Whether it be a force that drives and shapes your life, or the leverage it could give another to shape it for you.

 

"A secret is only safe if one person holds it..."

 

An Anonymous Girl is fast paced and will keep you guessing until the very end.

 

Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for an ARC of this book! 

THE BLACK WITCH BY LAURIE FOREST

The Black Witch - Laurie Forest

The Black Witch was a bit of a slow starter, but never dull by any means. It slowly sunk its claws into me and wouldn't relent until I finished every book I could get my hands on in The Black Witch Chronicles.

 

Elloren could be hard to like and listen to sometimes, but I found her journey through the world and discovering beliefs and opinions for her herself to be a long, rocky, but ultimately real feeling one that allowed her to grow over time.

 

I was truly impressed with the world building in this book. I easily found myself totally enchanted with this land full of magic and mystery.

 

I do think that this story requires some amount of patience to really get into, but I found that after while I couldn't put the book down and any story that makes me instantly purchase every other book in series is a pretty impressive one, imo. 

 

*I received a copy of this book from Harlequin Teen via Netgalley and this is my honest review*

THE DINNER LIST BY REBECCA SERLE

The Dinner List - Rebecca Serle

I was pleasantly surprised to find The Dinner List in my mailbox a week back. The premise was interesting, I think we've all at least considered the question, if you could name five people, living or dead, who you could invite to dinner, who would they be? So the idea of having this dream dinner come true, what would that ACTUALLY look like, would everyone get along? Would some people end up not being what you thought they'd be like? Etc. Well our MC Sabrina had just this happen at 30th birthday dinner, her five living and deceased people there for her.

 

 

The story takes place over the span of this one time only dinner, and also jumps back to past events between Sabrina and all of the guests. While the story starts off a little awkward between the guests and what they are all really doing there, it starts all coming to light as it progresses. With a twist or two along the way!

 

This was a little of a slow burn. Not action packed by any means, but ultimately very emotional with some truly fantastic ideas about what it is to grow up, relationships, love, loss, and forgiveness.

 

A few things that resonated deeply with me:

 

1) The brilliant portrayal of what it is like to become an adult. To really start to question all the things around you, the relationships, the goals you want to achieve, what you want to do or be, want you really want and need vs what others may want or need or expect you to. The last one especially, we are almost hardwired on what to expect from life, go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house, start a family, etc. I feel like we don't start questioning these things, if any or all of them are truly what we want or if we are just operating on someone else's playbook until we are in our twenties. It was refreshing and so real to see this exactly so beautifully on display in this book.

 

2) How relationships change over time. This can be such a difficult lesson to learn, but as we grow and our lives carry us in new exciting directions, our relationships change. That doesn't always mean they change for the worse, but one they definitely become something other than the center of your life, which is mostly how they feel when you are young. More often than not, it isn't even anything definable that changes it, no big dramatic moment, not one thing, it changes "Not with a bang but a whimper". Just a progressive shift of priorities, opinions, and lifestyles.

 

 

I thought this was expertly portrayed by Sabrina and Jessica in The Dinner List. Sometimes it can be so difficult to see that while your relationships look different, it doesn't necessarily mean make them less than they were. Jessica had a husband and a baby, living in the burbs, while Sabrina was in the city with a job and a long term boyfriend. Neither one being better than the other, but time, distance, priorities, these all account for just how we can be there for each other sometimes.

 

This was also highlighted well with Sabrina's relationship with Tobias as well. With them getting together when they were younger and growing up as a couple. I felt like in some instances as they grew, they started veering in different directions and it can be really hard to accept that some of those directions may just end up being deal breakers. They seemed more content to try and live in a bubble of denial that things were changing, maybe because they were afraid of what that change would mean for them as a couple. Unfortunately denial can only last so long and their bubble was reaching the bursting point for quite some time.

 

3) The absentee parent. Being someone who never met my father, I could relate to Sabrina and her inclusion of her father on her dinner list. If for nothing more than the burning questions, because there are always questions you have for someone meant to be there for you that wasn't. I was riveted by all their interactions with each other tbh. So many small details even, that rang so true, like Sabrina's apprehension to give him a chance to explain things like it would somehow be a betrayal to her mother.

 

There was something so brilliant and sad about them finally having only a few hours to say what they had to say to each other. And something so relatable to anyone, when you finally see your parents for what they are, human. Such a jarring realization to know that these larger than life pillars are merely flesh and bone people who aren't always right, make mistakes, and aren't all good or bad, but varying shades of grey like the rest of us.

 

Honestly, this book was more heavy than I anticipated going in, but in a wonderful way. And the inclusion of Audrey Hepburn and a random teacher of Sabrina's helped lighten the load a little throughout. They ended up bringing a nice balance to the dinner and the story itself. This was one dinner that just might change Sabrina's life, and one book that will make you think about your own. Very well done and I look forward to reading more from this author.

 

*I received an ARC of this book via Flatiron Books and this is my honest review*

 

BABY TEETH BY: ZOJE STAGE

Baby Teeth - Zoje Stage

 

Let me start this review by saying I have a teenage daughter. Now, as a mom, I can't be the only one ever to have one of those dreams...one of those terrifying nightmares where your child is basically the devil incarnate and you're just feverishly drowning in helplessness, no matter what you do the situation/your child cannot be swayed, controlled or tempered. Like trying to slog through the quicksand stairs while the monster is chasing you. This book is like living that nightmare and you just can't escape from it.

 

 

 

 

I was completely riveted by this story. It plays on so so many parental fears, fears we all have,

 

'am I doing this right?'

 

 

'Should I have done it this way or that way instead?'

 

'Am I wrong for thinking this..or feeling that?'

 

'Am I a good mother?'

 

 

 

 

It made me waiver constantly on my feelings towards Suzette. Much of her thought process was so relatable. We tend to, right or wrong, have a constant internal battle with ourselves and Suzette was a pretty spectacular example of this. Even the way she constantly compared her upbringing to that which she provided for her daughter. We all strive to 'be better', we all want for our children that which we felt we lacked and needed the most. On the flip side though, she could be selfish and quick to think or expect the worst, although considering her history it wasn't exactly a stretch to see why she would do so in some ways, and her constant desire to exude perfection, especially to her husband was concerning. Really she was a spectacularly flawed human, much like the rest of us. I mean, can you still call it paranoia if there's a legitimate reason to be paranoid?

 

 

Hannah was an equally compelling character. It was easy to teeter back and forth between feeling sympathy for her and wondering how much of what was happening with her was in fact due to the dynamic in the household, or stemming from Suzette's shortcomings or overreaching and her father's overcompensation and denial, or being terrified of the fact that maybe she is a deeply disturbed little girl capable of horrifying actions. Either way it was impossible to look away, I was as determined as Suzette to get to the bottom of this mystery. Admittedly some of her actions seemed over the top and to be a thrill just for the sake of the thrill, but it was honestly still riveting nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

I don't want to spoil anything because a lot of the page-turning fun of this book is waiting to find out what is really happening and which side you will ultimately fall on. Although I will say that even at the very end I still found myself conflicted on that! But I must say, as frustrating as that can be, it was also an unexpected surprise and I feel like it fit the story as a whole quite well. I truly enjoyed this book and had trouble putting it down, it was pretty much everything it promised it would be, a disturbing, fast paced page-turner that will keep you engrossed till the very end!

 

 

*I received an ARC of this book via St. Martin's Press and this is my honest review*