ABC Book Challenge ✰ S

I’ve seen this ABC Book Challenge on a lot of different blogs, but most recently Thrice Read. This week is the letter S and, unsurprisingly, I have a ton of favorites and a ton of books on my TBR starting with this letter!


✰ MEMORABLE (FIVE-STAR) BOOKS STARTING WITH S ✰


✰ BOOKS ON MY TBR STARTING WITH S ✰


Have you read anything that’s on my TBR? Which books should I read first? Do you agree or disagree with my favorites? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: The Room Mate by Kendall Ryan

The Room Mate by Kendall Ryan
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Source: Freebie

The last time I saw my best friend’s younger brother, he was a geek wearing braces. But when Cannon shows up to crash in my spare room, I get a swift reality check. 

Now twenty-four, he’s broad shouldered and masculine, and so sinfully sexy, I want to climb him like the jungle gyms we used to enjoy. At six-foot-something with lean muscles hiding under his T-shirt, a deep sexy voice, and full lips that pull into a smirk when he studies me, he’s pure temptation. 

Fresh out of a messy breakup, he doesn’t want any entanglements. But I can resist, right? 

I’m holding strong until the third night of our new arrangement when we get drunk and he confesses his biggest secret of all: he’s cursed when it comes to sex. Apparently he’s a god in bed, and women instantly fall in love with him. 

I’m calling bullshit. In fact, I’m going to prove him wrong, and if I rack up a few much-needed orgasms in the process, all the better. 

There’s no way I’m going to fall in love with Cannon. But once we start… I realize betting against him may have been the biggest mistake of my life.

THE ROOM MATE is a full-length standalone romance.

Alright, so my final #killingthetbr pick for February wasn’t one star, so I’m calling it a success… sort of. The truth is, I was all set to give this one three stars. I was pretty solidly enjoying it (or, at least, not disliking it) until about the 75% mark, and that’s when things got crazy. I’m going to keep this review spoiler-free, but please trust me when I say that some things happen that were just… beyond what’s normal in a romance novel.

To start off, let me just say that this book features two of my favorite tropes: roommates and best friend’s brother. I love some intense pining in a romance novel, and we have a strong history of that in this book. Paige and Cannon definitely had chemistry, I’ll give the book that.

But, here’s the thing. If you’re going to go for a forbidden romance trope, you need to have a bit more of a slow burn than we got here. Paige and Cannon are so set on not acting on their feelings… until they do. Like… 10% in. (I might be exaggerating there, but trust me when I say that it was pretty quick.) Half the fun of this trope is the characters trying to deny their feelings. It loses something when they get together too quickly.

Now, when it comes to the actual writing, the book wasn’t bad. I’ve read (and enjoyed!) one of Kendall Ryan’s other books, so it’s not her as an author that I have a problem with. Mostly it was just the combination of a lot of little things that happened in this book that didn’t quite work for me.

Like, for example:

  • The heroine talking about how she knew the hero as a child and then calling him “big boy” during sex. (I don’t think I would have been nearly as creeped out by this if she hadn’t been thinking about child-Cannon earlier.)
  • All of the hero’s exes being described as crazy while the heroine doesn’t have a single ex mentioned ever, let alone one who’s crazy.
  • Everyone was all up in Paige and Cannon’s business, worrying about whether they’ve had sex or whether romantic feelings are involved. Maybe just let them live their lives? I know I don’t go around interrogating my friends and family about whether they’ve had sex with their partners yet.
  • One of the things that really made me roll my eyes was Cannon referring to himself as a cardiologist when he was two weeks into his cardiology residency. Have you passed your cardiology boards? Can you practice on your own yet? No? Don’t call yourself a cardiologist then.

I think this could have been a good book, but it felt a little rushed. Add to that the fact that it just kind of ends with a hasty epilogue, and it just wasn’t my favorite.

#killingthetbr: seven months on shelf
#romanceopoly: heartbreak hotel
#ps19: a book told from multiple character POVs


Have you read The Room Mate? Have you read any good books featuring the best friend’s brother or roommate tropes?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Places mentioned in books that I’d like to visit

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is places mentioned in books that I’d like to visit.


Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

I’ve never been to the west coast! I’d love to visit Seattle.


My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

I once had a very brief layover in London, and that was my entire experience there. I’d love to sightsee.


The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

I just want to eat some amazing food at the KoBra food truck.


Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

I don’t know if I’d necessarily want to attend Ellingham Academy, but it sure seems like a fun place to visit.


Save the Date by Morgan Matson

The Grants are a disaster, but I get the feeling that visiting their house would be an experience.


The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

I’d love to visit Henrietta and Cabeswater.


Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

I can’t say that I ever really had the desire to visit Iran before reading this book, but Sohrab just made it seem so nice.


The Beau & the Belle by R.S. Grey

Just for the food alone, can I visit New Orleans?


The Vegetarian by Han Kang

I might not have loved this book, but I would love to visit South Korea. One of my best friends lives there and I haven’t seen her in years!


Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I already mentioned real London, but I’d also love to visit Red London. All that magic running around… all those characters… I’d be so happy there.


Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! What are some places you’d like to visit? Let’s talk in the comments!

ARC review: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Source: ARC via publisher

After an awkward first encounter, Birdie and Daniel are forced to work together in a Seattle hotel where a famous author leads a mysterious and secluded life in this romantic contemporary novel from the author of Alex, Approximately.

Mystery-book aficionado Birdie Lindberg has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.

In her new job, Birdie hopes to blossom from introverted dreamer to brave pioneer, and gregarious Daniel Aoki volunteers to be her guide. The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront Moonlight Diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. Daniel also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell…discovering that most confounding mystery of all may be her growing feelings for the elusive riddle that is Daniel.

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you probably know that I’m obsessed with Jenn Bennett’s books. Imagine my surprise when I was offered an ARC of one of her books by the publisher! Thank you so much to Lauren at Simon & Schuster for getting this ARC to me!

There are two things found in every Jenn Bennett book that I really love: sex positivity and witty dialogue. Both of these are present and accounted for in Serious Moonlight, and, honestly, I couldn’t have been happier about it. I think it’s so important for teens to read about a safe, healthy relationship that just happens to include sex. I also love that Jenn Bennett’s witty dialogue never comes across as pretentious or forced.

If I’m honest, this is a slightly lower five than Starry Eyes or Alex, Approximately. The reason for that is partially me (I just kept getting distracted while reading) and partially the book (the mystery aspect didn’t pull me in as much as I’d expected and I guessed the ending pretty early on). But even with those small complaints, I still loved this book.

Jenn Bennett is one of my favorite authors and I don’t think she’s capable of writing anything less than an amazing book.

#ps19: a book featuring an amateur detective


Have you read Serious Moonlight? Do you love Jenn Bennett as much as I do?Let’s talk in the comments!

Book review: Gmorning, Gnight! by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Gmorning, Gnight! by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Good morning. Do NOT get stuck in the comments section of life today. Make, do, create the things. Let others tussle it out. Vamos!

Before he inspired the world with Hamilton and was catapulted to international fame, Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspiring his Twitter followers with words of encouragement at the beginning and end of each day. He wrote these original sayings, aphorisms, and poetry for himself as much as for others. But as Miranda’s audience grew, these messages took on a life on their own. Now Miranda has gathered the best of his daily greetings into a beautiful collection illustrated by acclaimed artist (and fellow Twitter favorite) Jonny Sun. Full of comfort and motivation, Gmorning, Gnight! is a touchstone for anyone who needs a quick lift.

First things first, I would not consider myself a huge Lin-Manuel Miranda fan, nor have I ever read anything written or illustrated by Jonny Sun. This book sounded cute and cheerful and like a nice thing to read to put myself in a good mood, so I did. And, I mean, it was all of those things. I just thought it would be a little more than it was.

I don’t have a ton of things to say about this book. I think it would be better to pick it up and read a random page while you’re getting ready for work than it is to just sit down and read all the way through. It took me no more than a half hour to read this entire book, but that means that I really noticed how repetitive the sentiment was. Is it nice to be told that you’re fine the way you are and to have a good day? Yes. Do you need to read the same thought a hundred times? Probably not.

This wasn’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever read, but some of these Tweets are really cute and the book just made me happy.

#ps19: a book written by a musician
#mm19: new to you author
#mmd19: a book by an author who is new to you
#romanceopoly: library


Have you read Gmorning, Gnight? Have you read any good books written by celebrities so far this year? Let’s talk in the comments!


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Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

  • I have actually managed to not acquire any books this week.

1 thing this week:

  • It’s been quite a week since my last update! I had a great Valentine’s weekend involving chocolate fondue and a quick trip to NYC. I found out that I’m getting the keys to my new apartment next Thursday, which is pretty much the most exciting thing ever. And now I’m sick for the first time in over two years. But that just means more reading time, I guess.

Blog hopping:

  • Siobhan discussed the latest Twitter controversy featuring ARCs.

Song of the week:

I was just sitting in my bedroom earlier this week and got a really intense urge to just listen to some old fun. songs. I think my favorite of their really old songs is The Gambler.

Book review: Sex Symbol by Laurelin Paige

Sex Symbol by Laurelin Paige
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Source: Freebie

Micah Preston is Hollywood’s #1 sex symbol. 

A rich and famous actor who has sworn off any serious relationships, the playboy is the media’s favorite bachelor. 

But he wasn’t anybody when Maddie Bauer met him seven years ago. Then he was just the hot guy at the party who gave her an amazing orgasm and never called her again. 

Now her job as a camera assistant has landed her on the set of his latest movie, and despite her vow to ignore his charm, she finds him pulling her focus. 

She just has to make it through the shoot without landing in his bed. But when the legendary bad boy sets his sights on her, how can she possibly resist? 

The book was previously published under the title Take Two. 

Well, here we are again. Another one-star review of a book that seemingly everybody loves. I have a lot of thoughts about this book, but I’m going to keep it short because (1) I’m tired, and (2) I don’t want to give this book much more of my time and effort than I already have.

To start, I just want to mention that it took me THREE WEEKS to read the 324 pages of this book. THREE WEEKS. I should have taken it as a sign. I should have DNFed. I say this all the time. When will I learn?

Now I just want to mention that I feel like most of my negative feelings toward this book stem from a moral opposition to something Micah does about halfway through. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but he does something that I would consider unforgivable — he throws a temper tantrum and ends up almost causing Maddie to lose her job. That is not something a love interest should do, and that’s not something a heroine should forgive. I was done at that point, but I kept up with the book in case it got better. (It didn’t.)

Another thing I want to mention is how overly dramatic this book is. Micah creates these dramatic situations on his own and then complains about them, as if he had nothing to do with it. “Oh, I wish I knew things about Maddie,” he thinks to himself as he sits there literally refusing to have a conversation with her. Also, how many times can one book use the “overhearing something you shouldn’t” cliche? Maddie’s poor heart gets broken about eighteen thousand times in this book when she overhears a conversation she wasn’t meant to hear. Honestly, I’m just annoyed. Some more creative writing would have been appreciated. Surely there are other ways to create conflict.

I think that the only other thing I want to talk about is the descriptions. I know, I know, there’s a fine line between sexy and cringey when it comes to romance writing. But when I read things like “his love muscle,” “her hand on his privates,” or “her southern region,” I cringe. I cringe really hard. And it’s hard to enjoy a romance novel when you’re cringing, okay?

I’ll end this review with the two quotes that made me cringe the hardest:

  • “Maddie, I want you to come,” he growled. She arched and released at his request. “Ah, I’m coming!”
  • “It’s our one week sexiversary.”

Have you read Sex Symbol? What’s your favorite Hollywood romance?
Let’s talk in the comments!