December Reading Plans

The last month of the year is upon us! My theme for the month is…

DIVERSE BOOKS!!!

That’s right! It’s time for Diverse December. My goal, as in previous months, is to complete 10-books that can comfortably fit within this category. I am classifying any book as diverse if the main character of characters has an identity or lifestyle different than my own.

This can be race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health or disability representation, anything like that. Obviously, the books I could read to fit into this category are plentiful, therefore, I am confident I can meet my 10-book diversity goal!

I’m so happy with how my reading year has gone so far. Just today I completed my 171st book of the year!!! I cannot even believe that. Just a few years ago I was happy when I read 70-something. We’re in all new territory now!

What are your reading goals for the end of the year? I want to know! Leave a comment here or contact me through any of my social media links. Until next time, Cheers & Happy Reading!

Themed Reading: November Wrap-Up

Seven days into December and I think I am finally ready to bring to you my November Wrap-Up!! My apologies for the delay, it’s been a crazy week recovering from Thanksgiving and all the travel that comes with it.

We did have a fabulous holiday and I hope all of my book friends in the U.S. did as well. Even with the holiday week at the end of the month, I was still able to complete 14-books!

My reading theme for November, as some of you may recall, was ‘New Releases’. For me, this meant that I could read any book published in the 2019 calendar year. My goal was to complete 10-books that fit this theme.

It turned out that all 14-books I completed in November fit this category! Without further ado, let’s get into the books I completed, the genre, when they released and my star rating for each:

  1. The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah – YA science-fiction released in October, 4.5-stars.
  2. The Last Woman In The Forest by Diane Les Becquets – Adult Mystery/Thriller released in March, 4-stars.
  3. The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams – YA Horror Comedy released in September, 4-stars.
  4. The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White – YA Fantasy Retelling released in November, 4-stars.
  5. The Long Call by Ann Cleeves – Adult Mystery released in September, 5-stars.
  6. The Deep by River Solomon – Adult Fantasy Novella released in November, 3.5-stars.
  7. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – Adult Thriller released in November, 3-stars.
  8. Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon – YA Fantasy released in October, 4.5-stars.
  9. The Turn Of The Key by Ruth Ware – Adult Thriller released in August, 5-stars.
  10. Story & Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout – YA Fantasy released in June, 4.5-stars.
  11. A Violet Fire by Kelsey Quick – YA Vampire Dystopian released in December, 4-stars.
  12. When The Sky Fell On Splendor by Emily Henry – YA Contemporary Science Fiction released in March, 3.5-stars.
  13. Remarkables by Margaret Peterson Haddix – Middle Grade Magical Realism, 3.5-stars.
  14. The Last Affair by Margot Hunt – Adult Domestic Thriller released in November, 4.5-stars.

So, as you can see, I had a pretty even split between YA and Adult books this month; with one Middle Grade. I also had a fairly strong month as far as ratings go, with my lowest rating being a 3, which is still a good book.

As far as my regular monthly TBR-challenges go, I only completed two out of the four. I completed a New Release from the current month by finishing The Guinevere Deception and a New Release from the next month by finishing A Violet Fire. I failed to read a New Release from 2018 or a Sequel.

But December is a new month and I am already doing well! Just a side note, this week I completed my 170th book of the year!!! I can hardly believe it.

How did your reading month go in November? Did you complete all your goals? I want to know! Leave a comment below and contact me through any of my social media links! Until next time, when I should be bringing you my December Reading Plans, cheers and happy reading!

Review: Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

Keeping LucyKeeping Lucy by T. Greenwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

When Ginny Richardson’s second child, a girl named Lucy, is born with Down Syndrome, the baby is quickly whisked away from her. Not just to be placed in the NICU or given special care, literally taken away from her.

Her husband, Ab’s, wealthy family decides immediately the child would be best dealt with by shipping it away to a ‘special school’ never to be thought of, or discussed, again.

Unfortunately, Ginny’s in such a drug-induced state at the hospital, she doesn’t even realize what is happening until it’s too late.

With her baby gone, Ginny is forced to try to go forth like nothing ever happened, like there never was a baby.

For the next two years she goes on this way. In a deep state of depression, she feels like she is in a fog, with no idea of what to do to make her situation better.

When her best friend brings some newspaper articles to her attention that feature the ‘school’ at which Lucy has been committed, she cannot believe what she is seeing.

According to the journalist responsible for the expose, Willowridge is not a good place. It is as bad as can be with serious issues of neglect and even abuse; basically a hell on Earth.

Along with her friend, Marcia, Ginny decides to go see Lucy, to take her out for a visit, to judge for herself.

Once she sees the conditions of the school first hand, she knows there is no way she can ever bring Lucy back there.

What happens next is a road trip adventure spanning from Western Massachusetts all the way to Florida, with her best friend, her young son and the daughter she doesn’t even know. At times touching, at times infuriating, this story dragged me in and wouldn’t let go.

Wonderfully told, this captivating historical fiction novel, will have you wanting justice for Baby Lucy. This was my first book by T. Greenwood and I was definitely impressed. I look forward to picking up more books from her.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I think this is an important story and I know a lot of readers will get so much from it. Well done.

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Review: Remarkables by Margaret Peterson Haddix

RemarkablesRemarkables by Margaret Peterson Haddix
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

When Marin moves to a new town, right before starting the 6th grade, she struggles with thoughts of not fitting in. Through flashbacks, you can tell that Marin may have been victimized by some bullies at her previous school and this has left a mark on her.

While wandering through the woods by her new house, she comes across a group of teens. They seem so alive, laughing and having fun together, then they mysteriously disappear.

She soon finds out, she’s not the only person that can see them. Her neighbor, Charley, a boy about her age, can see them as well. He has been watching them and named them ‘the remarkables’. But who are they and why can just Charley and Marin see them?

Together they come up with some theories, why this could be and what they should do about it. Not always agreeing but definitely both believing that it means something important.

This gripping Middle Grade story explores a lot of important topics: bullying, self confidence, guilt, grief and addiction. I appreciate the conversations had by many of the characters within the story, they were all age appropriate and overall, I enjoyed reading it.

In regards to the ‘bullying’ – I thought this was an interesting perspective on it. Usually in novels where bullying is explored as a topic, it is perpetuated by characters that would be assumed enemies of the character they are tormenting.

In this case, the characters tormenting Marin were actually very close friends of hers. She was scared to speak out against them and even to scared to let her parents know she didn’t want to be friends with them anymore. This topic was explored in its entirety and brought to a conclusion. I thought it was very well done!

It did get a little muddled for me towards the end but perhaps that was just where my head space was at while I was reading it. I think if the synopsis sounds interesting for you, you should definitely pick it up. It delivered more than I even expected.

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Guest Post: Author Chat with Kelsey Quick

On Tuesday, December 9, 2019, a great new addition to the vampire genre is set to be released. This fast-paced and inventive novel is a debut for author, Kelsey Quick.

I had the opportunity, thanks to, GODDESS FISH PROMOTIONS, to ask Kelsey a few questions about her work and what this release means to her.

Before we get into that however, for those of you who visit my blog regularly, you may remember that I just reviewed this novel last week, but for those of you who are new…

…and you can check out my full review by clicking HERE!!!

Without further ado, let’s get into my questions for Kelsey and her responses:

Meg: What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?

Kelsey: Aside from “never give up,” it would have to be: Understand that everyone in this industry gets rejected. That agent who rejected you? They get rejected all the time by editors. The editor that rejected you and your agent’s submission? Acquisitions rejected the last five of his/her/their proposals. If you have rejection issues (like me), this is not your industry unless you can see it for what it really is. It’s an unfortunate consequence of bad luck and, perhaps, a poor product—but that’s where persistence comes in. The more persistence you have, the less luck you need, especially if you keep trying to get better rather than to prove everyone wrong. The better you get, the better chances you have. It’s that simple, although it’s no guarantee. You have to really want it enough to overcome the perpetual sting of being told “no.”

Meg: What were your inspirations for this particular story?

Kelsey: Really, a lot of things! I found the basic framework of the story from reading Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino back in 2007. It was such a chilling, yet romantic manga, especially in terms of artwork. It had a dark, yet shoujo-esque (female-audience intended) style that I’d never seen. My own style of manga was influenced heavily by it, in fact. Aside from the basic framework, I’d always wondered why there wasn’t a big novel featuring vampires ruling over a dystopia, where humans were at their beck and call as slaves. I know they exist and I’ve since heard of them (such as The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa), but at the time, I thought that idea was pretty original, so I stuck with it—and it stuck with me!

Funny enough, a couple of the characters have their own inspirations: Lord Anton Zein is a silver-haired, cruel war general—much like Sesshoumaru from Rumiko Takahashi’s Inuyasha. I’ve also heard that he’s like Prince Cardan from Holly Black’s, The Cruel Prince, as well as Sarah J. Maas’ Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and RosesGemini is the candid, blonde vampire that is a blend of three very different characters: Hanabusa Aido from Vampire Knight, Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter, and Guildenstern from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Meg: With release date just a week away, how does it feel to be having your story released into the world?

Kelsey: It is pretty surreal. I thought I’d never have the guts to self-publish if it came to that, but I clung to the hope of getting traditionally published for so long that I think it eventually wore away all the fears and inhibitions—so to speak. While those two years of querying took a lot out of me and completely killed my writing productivity, I think I needed them to realize that rejection by the publishing industry does not equate to rejection by the reading community. As they say, bestsellers are made, not written (to an extent). So, I decided to do the best with what I had, as my passion for A Violet Fire seems to have no bounds. It’s not perfect, but it is my heart book, and I take pride in how much work I put into it to make it shine well enough to be compared to other big names. At the end of the road, I’m going to be glad I did it this way even if the results are less-than stellar. It’s probably the
hardest I’ve ever worked for something… and the work is never-ending.

I want to thank, Kelsey, for being so kind as to answer my questions for her. I feel so blessed to have been provided with the opportunity to be included on this blog tour. Also, a huge thank you to Kelsey for providing me with an early copy of the book to read and review.

I really enjoyed this one and was so impressed by the fact that this is a debut novel. Kelsey has a wonderfully creative imagination and pleasing writing style, I look forward to the chance to continue on with this series!

Be sure to pick up your copy on release day, Tuesday, December 9th!!! Until then, click the link below to enter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card that the author will be giving away. The raffle is run via rafflecopter and one randomly drawn winner will win during the course of the blog tour. It could be you!!

$25 Gift Card Raffle

That’s all for now my lovely book friends! I hope you had a fabulous reading month in November and look for my wrap-up soon.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Blog Tour Review: The Last Affair by Margot Hunt

The Last AffairThe Last Affair by Margot Hunt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

From the outside, suburbanite Mom, Gwen Landon, seems to have it all. With successful husband, Josh, two children and a Labrador, they are a living example of the picture perfect family. Until Gwen winds up dead, that is, bludgeoned to death in her own backyard with a driveway paving stone.

Nora Holliday also appears to be living in suburban bliss, although behind closed doors, things are a bit darker for Nora. Her husband, once an abusive alcoholic, now in recovery, is challenging to live with and the love and spark is definitely gone. Nora does what she can to try to keep it all together for their children but that type of life can be hard.

When Josh and Nora run into each other at an out of town hotel bar, they make a irrevocable and passionate decision that will alter all of their lives.

Full of the domestic drama we all love, glazed with a delightfully devious revenge plot, The Last Affair will keep you vigorously turning the pages until the very end. Once I started down this twisted road of secrets and lies, I could not put it down!

Jumping back and forth between multiple perspectives helped this one to never lose its pace. There were so many secrets, so little honest communication, it was frustrating and amazing all at the same time.

If you are looking for a fast-paced, cleverly plotted domestic drama to help get you through this holiday season, you should definitely consider picking this one up!

I am so happy that I had the opportunity to read this early. Thank you so much to the publisher, Harlequin — MIRA, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I had a lot of fun with this story and am definitely looking forward to Margot Hunt’s next novel. I think her writing has grown a lot for this book compared to For Better and Worse so I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!

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Review: When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry

When the Sky Fell on SplendorWhen the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

This is a tough one.

A sort of genre-mash of things I love but together seemed a little disjointed but still good…yeah…

A few years back the town of Splendor was wracked by an industrial accident. Pretty much everyone in the town was effected in some way.

The plant were the accident occurred literally employed about half the town. There was an explosion and a lot of people were killed.

As you can for imagine, for a small town, this had horrible ramifications. People had brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and spouses stolen away from them in an instant.

In part, that is what this book is about. Even though it is around 5-years later, the aftermath continues to be challenging for those remaining residents of Splendor.

We follow a group of teens who have really come together since the accident. The adults in their lives are dealing with their own grief and sort of left the kids on their own to deal with theirs. This group of kids has come to rely on each other in both meaningful and beautiful ways.

As an exploration of grief, this is a touching, heart-wrenching story but there is also a science-fiction element that I found truly interesting.

You can tell that the author really enjoys science, as do I. There are detailed sections on black holes, time/space, fibonacci spirals and the idea of a cosmic consciousness.

I loved the friend group and how supportive they were of one another and I loved the science. However, there was something a little wonky about the way it was all strung together. It didn’t feel cohesive to me.

As always, this is 100% subjective and you may read this and think, ‘what the hell was Meg talking about?’ And that’s fine!

Just for me, it felt like the narrative was fighting over what kind of story it was trying to be. It didn’t feel like a seamless composition, if that makes sense.

Overall, I am really glad that I read this book. It is definitely a thoughtful exploration of a lot of interesting and important topics. I also think Emily Henry is a very talented woman and clearly a lot more intelligent than I am!

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Buzzword-A-Thon Wrap-Up

Hey book friends!

Some of you may be wondering how I did with my Buzzword-A-Thon reading. Well, wonder no more. I am here to tell you that I failed miserably! 

As in, zero…that’s right…ZERO books completed. 

I did make it to the 32% mark in The Ancient Nine which I am still reading but I did DNF (did not finish and will never pick up again) Seven Black Diamonds.

I am trying to just pick up the pieces and move on with my life. I will be participating in Fantasy-A-Thon in December hosted by Julie over at Pages and Pens channel on YouTube. For her announcement video, click here:

Fantasy-A-Thon Round 2 Announcement

I think I may see some more success, or any success at all really, during this next readathon as it is two weeks opposed to one. With a full-time work schedule, that is extremely helpful.

Stay tuned for my TBR post which should be going up sometime next week!

Cheers and to my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

Review: A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon #1) by Kelsey Quick

A Violet Fire (Vampires in Avignon, #1)A Violet Fire by Kelsey Quick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Wavorly Sterling was a child, a vampire attack decimated the population of the town in which she lived. In fact, she is known as the only survivor, rescued, or captured, depending on your perspective, and brought to live within the Vampire Stratocracy of Cain.

Set in a dystopian world, where the blood supply is low, the Stratocracy has developed a vast and interesting system for raising ‘human supply units’. These supply units are eventually chosen and bound to a master who they vow to serve, and feed, for the duration of their lives.

Wavorly is brought to a sort of private school where the girls are raised together and taught how to please their future masters.

The majority of these girls were born within the Stratocracy so have never tasted the freedom of the world outside as Wavorly has. This sets her apart from them and she struggles trying to understand their seemingly docile personalities in the face of what lies ahead of them.

In fact, when we first meet her, she is in the midst of executing an escape attempt. Although it may not go as planned, you have to give the girl props for her strength and determination.

No matter how hard she fights back against the powers that be however, Wavorly is ultimately selected to go live in the castle of Lord Anton Zein and act as one of his supply units. They have a complicated history and you just know something’s going to go down at that castle!

I really enjoyed this, you guys! I do not read a lot of vampire-related content, really my only experiences being Salem’s Lot, NOS4A2 and Doctor Sleep, so I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this or not. Apparently, it’s my new thing!

I loved the dystopian feel of this story. The world-building was excellent in my opinion and I cannot wait to learn more in Book 2.

I also really enjoyed quite a few of the side characters, they added depth, humor and challenging personalities to the story. There were people you really wanted to get behind and people that were a joy to hate. Yes, that is a thing.

Although the plot got a little jumbled for me towards the end, I was still on board for all that was happening. There were revelations and betrayals, a lot of excitement.

I think this left off in a great spot for the continuation of series and I definitely will be continuing. This was one of those books that when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it and wishing I was!

Overall, this was an impressive debut. I feel confident this author has a bright future ahead of her. If you are looking for an inventive and captivating, fast-paced read, you should definitely pick this one up!

Thank you so much to the author, Kelsey Quick, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I have since preordered the paperback because I love the cover and also, have no self-control.

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Review: Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Storm and Fury (The Harbinger, #1)Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Demons and gargoyles and chosen ones…

18-year-old Trinity Marrow has a special gift. She can see and commune with ghosts and spirits. This isn’t her only gift though, there is a lot about Trinity that is special.

Because of her unique nature she has been hidden away at an isolated compound for years with the Wardens protecting her. What are Wardens, you may ask? They are gargoyle shape-shifters protecting mankind from demons, of course.

Trinity spends her days wandering around the compound and training with her Warden protector, Misha. She also spends a lot of time with her chatty, ghost sidekick, Peanut.

I must confess, Peanut was probably my favorite character. He is so funny, stuck in the 80s, his pop culture references brought me back. Love you, Peanut!

When a group of Wardens from another clan arrives with news of vicious attacks going on outside the compound, attacks killing demons and Wardens alike, Trinity finally has something interesting to focus on. Spying on the superiors chatting, Trin gets caught by a member of the outside clan, Zayne, the most beautiful gargoyle to ever live…

Events occur that force Trinity and Zayne to leave the compound together and we all know where that’s going, it’s Jennifer L. Armentrout, y’all!

I really enjoyed this one and am totally kicking myself for putting it off for so long. It started a little slow for me but as soon as Trinity met Zayne, I was hooked. There is a ton of action in here, some great fight scenes, humor, shocking revelations and a little bit of steam!

This story still has so much room to grow, as well, and left off in a superb spot for a sequel. I don’t know how many books are planned to be part of The Harbinger series but you better believe, I want a front row seat for all of them!!!

Highly recommend for people looking to start a new YA Fantasy series with a touch of romance.

Thank you so much, Harlequin TEEN, for providing me with a copy of this beauty to read and review! I appreciate it.

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