#FridayFrightAThon 2019 Announcement!

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Hi, friends! I’m so excited to announce that we are bringing back FridayFrightAThon this year! Come join me, Melanie, Jen, and Chelsea as we buddy read four books during the month of October.

So, what is FridayFrightAThon? Every Friday in October we will pick up one thriller to read together. We’ll use the hashtag #FridayFrightAThon on Instagram and Twitter to chat about our thoughts and progress. Feel free to join us in reading one book or all four!

The Schedule:

Friday October 4th: American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century by Maureen Callahan (Note: this is our only non-fiction pick.)

Friday October 11th: The Whisper Man by Alex North

Friday October 18th: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Friday October 25th: The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

Your Hosts:

Amy (that’s me!) @ A Court of Crowns and Quills

Melanie @ Meltotheany

Jen @ Pinot & Pages

Chelsea Palmer


We are so excited and hope you’ll join us this year for round 2!

xx,

Amy

The Right Swipe (Modern Love, #1) by Alisha Rai

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Book provided by Avon in exchange for an honest review.


This was my first book by Alisha Rai and wooooo boy, can she write romance! Don’t let this cute illustrated cover fool you. This book is packed full of racy and steamy scenes.

This book stars Rhiannon, a black woman who came from a poor family and has had to always work twice as hard to prove herself working in a male-dominated field (tech industry.) She is very career driven and smart. She also started her own dating app. While at a conference Rhi sees an old hookup. A hookup who ghosted her in the past. His name is Samson Lima and he’s a retired NFL football player who is currently the spokesperson for a rival dating app.

I think you can see where this is going. And while I knew the enemies-to-lovers thing was coming, I wasn’t expecting Rhi and Samson to reconnect so soon. This was actually a breath of fresh air for me, because sometimes that trope can drag out too long. It was fun reading about their dynamics in the workplace while being in the middle of their angst and sexual tension.

This book also touches on the topic of CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encelphalopathy, which is a degenerative brain disease found in athletes or others who have repetitive head trauma. We learn as part of Samson’s backstory that his uncle (also a former football player) passed away from CTE and he is very involved in CTE research. I’d never read a book that highlighted this condition and appreciated the author bringing awareness to it.

The lack of communication between Rhi and Samson was what ultimately didn’t bring this up to a full five stars to me. But I loved the story so much, and how strong and unapologetic Rhi is. Overall this was such a great book!

Trigger/content warnings: abusive relationship (gaslighting), sexual harassment.

fourstars


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Ninth House (Ninth House Series, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

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ARC obtained from BookExpo in exchange for an honest review.


I really think this is going to be one of those books you’ll either love or hate. Fans of Bardugo will pick up on how perfectly she personifies each character, but please be warned, this is not young adult. This book is very much about healing from past traumas while trying to also survive in a society that’s filled with so much death and darkness.

I will say that I was a bit confused in the beginning because this book jumps a lot between two timelines (the past winter, and the present which is spring.) We follow Alex, a girl who attends Yale University and ends up being recruited into a secret society. Alex has a supernatural ability which makes her a unique society member of Lethe House. Yale also has eight other secret societies where each one deals with their own paranormal/supernatural “specialties.” We get glimpses into each society and learning about them was interesting, yet a bit tedious, at times for me.

The murder of a local woman sets the story in motion as Alex suspects one of the societies is involved. But she’s also dealing with the disappearance of her friend and society “mentor”, Darlington. The story weaves both mysteries together, and at times it would be a bit too slow for my liking. However, I was so immersed in the dark mysteries surrounding the cases and the occult that I still enjoyed reading this very much!

Honestly, I would rate the overall story itself four stars. But once we began peeling back the layers of Alex and Darlington’s characters… I just fell in love with the book. The characters are so well written and, in true Bardugo fashion, their backstories really punched me in the gut. Also? There are ghosts. So that’s major bonus points for me!

I found myself very slowly chipping away at this book just so I could absorb all the information about the societies. But also please use caution as the themes are very dark and heavy. Bardugo said she wrote about her own experiences (and that this book is her way of healing) and she is valid and unapologetic. She does not hold back.

Trigger/content warnings: rape of a minor, drug use, cutting, bullying, gore/medical procedures, sexual assault of a minor, sexual acts under the influence of magic/drugs, parental neglect/abandonment, talks of cancer.

fivestars


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Well Met by Jen DeLuca

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ARC provided by Berkley Romance in exchange for an honest review.


I’m so blown by away this debut, and it is one of my favorite contemporary romances of 2019. You see, every fall I attend the Renaissance fair in Ohio. It is always my favorite annual event. I love everything from the atmosphere to the actors decked out in costumes, to the food and shows.

So it’s no surprise this book was written for me and that niche I love. This book stars Emily, a young woman who recently broke up with her boyfriend and moved to a small town to live with her older sister. Emily’s sister was in an accident and needs extra help around the house. But Emily also helps take care of her niece, and an activity they end up becoming involved in together is the summer Renaissance fair.

Emily then meets the fair director, Simon, who is also the high school English teacher. The two immediately start off on the wrong foot and do not seem to get along in real life. But when Emily becomes Emma the tavern wench and Simon becomes the cocky pirate, Ian Blackthorn, at the fair, their chemistry is contagious.

Of course you can guess this evolves into a love/hate relationship, and y’all, I was living for it. But it’s so much more than a romcom; there are elements of grief and healing, discovering yourself, and so many themes of friendship and community. I was loving the small town vibes since I am also from a small town. I loved how even during non-fair scenes, Emily was working in a book store. Like, wow, Ren fairs AND bookshops in one book? THANK YOU, JEN DELUCA!

This is one of the cutest and most heartfelt books I’ve ever read. Emily and Simon are both so multi-layered, and I adored watching them interact both in and out of fair character. You will also never unsee Simon as Colin O’Donoghue as Captain Hook. πŸ˜‰

Trigger/content warnings: grief, loss of a loved one.

fivestars

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Hardback edition featured by Book of the Month. Get your first book for free via my affiliate link here!


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The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

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One of my goals in 2019 is to read more thrillers, and so far I… haven’t been fully reaching that goal. But it’s okay! I’m excited to keep slowly chipping away at my thriller collection. Of course, it would probably help if I stopped adding more to said collection. Ha.

So here’s a prime example of “cool cover with pretty font” that caught my attention. Yep, I decided to stock up on Megan Miranda’s books. I just finished The Perfect Stranger. It’s the first book I decided to read from this author. I understand her debut, All the Missing Girls (which I have NOT yet read), has raving reviews. So I was a bit worried how The Perfect Stranger was going to be. But I’m always up for reading a book with polarizing reviews!

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This book follows Leah, a woman who was shunned out of her town due to mysterious circumstances that relates to her job as a reporter. She moves into a rural area in western Pennsylvania with an old college friend, Emmy. Leah wants a fresh start, and begins working as a high school teacher. But then someone turns up dead, and then Emmy disappears. Leah’s journalist-instincts kick in, which soon gets her involved in the investigation.

And it was… just okay? First let me explain what I appreciated about this book. There are SEVERAL mysteries going on at once. I won’t explain them all to avoid spoilers, but Leah gets pulled in a million directions when one mystery leads to another. And not only are there mysteries happening in the present timeline, but there are dark secrets that are revealed from Leah’s past, too. I enjoyed how multi-layered this story was and how Leah didn’t stop until she got answers.

The biggest thing that bothered me, though, was the sheer volume of victim blaming. I’m so tired of reading books that always paint women to be hysterical/unreliable/emotional/crazy. I get it – this is something that we still have to face in the real world. Women are still painted in this light. And it sucks. And it feels bad. The white male privilege in this book is SO prevalent that I was just getting more annoyed. It just reinforces the notion that you can be a white male in a position of power, and be able to get away with anything. (Don’t worry, not a spoiler. It’s just a constant theme.)

It also took me a long time to get into this author’s writing style. At times the writing felt a bit disjointed. This makes me a bit nervous to read her other works, but I’m still planning to give them a shot.

Overall, it’s an okay book. It’s a quiet book in terms of “thrill-factor.” So if that’s not your thing, then you may want to skip this one. I guess, for me personally, it wasn’t a very memorable read.

threestars


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My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

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Every once in a while you come across a thriller that just sticks with you… and wow, this was the one!

I know rating and reviewing thrillers can be such a mixed bag because everyone has their own levels of comfort when it comes to the violence depicted, or perhaps you’re just really good at guessing the twists (which is a good or bad thing depending on your preference.)

My Lovely Wife exceeded my expectations when it came down to two things: The serial killer plot line, and the pacing. Really, I’m just a sucker for serial killer stories, I guess!

We follow a married couple who, in truth, are both quite terrible people. The story is told from the husband’s perspective, which I particularly enjoyed because I feel like most of the thrillers I pick up tend to be from the woman’s POV. I enjoyed being his mind and seeing his truly fucked up relationship with his wife, Millicent.

Millicent is a real estate agent but she has a darker secret: She murders people. Her husband helps lure the victims, and then Millicent is the executioner. But in order to cover up their trail of murders, they both decide to resurrect a famous serial killer named Owen. By copying Owen’s MO and using his name to taunt the police, they are able to get away with their own crimes.

But in true thriller fashion, things don’t go quiet according to plan. Y’all, I immensely enjoyed the ride and just how well written everything was! All the clues and bread crumbs fell into place, and I was left feeling so satisfied with the ending.

However, I do want to mention that if you’re not a fan of thrillers that depict torture/violence then this may not be your cup of tea. It’s clear the author pulled lots of inspiration from true crime cases (particularly that of serial killers from our past) that you are going to notice some similarities.

Another thing I want to mention is that while this book is marketed as “Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” I wouldn’t say that is quite… true. It errs more on the Dexter side of things, but the Mr. and Mrs. Smith analogy is a bit of a joke. Our married duo in this book are not trained assassins. They’re not hired to go around killing other people. They’re just two people who have a very fucked up relationship and quite frankly, they’re both shitty people.

Nonetheless, I loved this thriller so much, and I hope you’ll pick it up, too! I truly couldn’t put it down.

fivestars


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Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

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ARC obtained from BookExpo


I always love a good thriller or horror novel that stars one of my favorite characters: The house itself. The house is its own ominous being, exuding so much negative energy with its sordid past that it consumes the main characters. It’s why I’m always keen for stories in the likes of American Horror Story (Murder House), The Haunting of Hill House, and, albeit non-fiction, the murder castle of H.H. Holmes.

While Lock Every Door is not paranormal, and I wouldn’t call it horror either, the same concept is there: The house these people live in has a bloody past, and now history may be repeating itself.

But instead of a house, we are introduced to The Bartholomew: a 44-room luxury apartment building in New York City. Getting to live in The Bartholomew is nearly impossible. It’s highly exclusive; only reserved for the rich and famous who value their privacy.

Jules Larsen is out of a job and recently broke up with her cheating boyfriend. She answers an ad in the newspaper to apartment-sit for three months. The job is pretty simple: be a temporary tenant at The Bartholomew. The previous owner passed away, and while the next of kin are fighting over who inherits the apartment, they want someone to take care of it for them. Jules knows this is too good to be true, but she can’t pass up the opportunity to live in a luxury NYC apartment AND get paid to do it.

We are introduced to The Bartholomew’s tenants; who range from actresses, authors, politicians, and physicians. Jules has to follow some strict rules such as not bothering the other tenants, no visitors, and she must sleep in the apartment every single night. But Jules knows something is amiss when one of the other apartment sitters disappears.

I truly had so much fun reading this book. I devoured it in 24 hours. I found Jules to be somewhat annoying and, of course, made some questionable decisions throughout the book. But it was such a damn page-turner, and I love how history and legends were a driving force in this book. I find Riley Sager’s style of writing so easy to follow, and everything flows beautifully on the page. The thriller element was superb in this one. While I thought I had things figured out, I was led in an entirely different direction.

I also want to mention that I particularly enjoyed learning about Jules’s past, too. Without giving anything away, there’s a bit of a mystery involving her family. It’s sad and gut-wrenching. So be prepared for that!

I’m sure you seasoned thriller-readers may be able to guess some of the twists. I did, but it was such a fun ride and I loved thinking back to all the bread crumbs I totally missed. Now things make even more sense! I know I’m being vague but I want to stop here so I don’t spoil anything. Please pick up this book if you want a thriller that stars a mysterious apartment with a spooky past!

fourstars


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Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

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Book provided by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.


Whoa, buddy. This book. THIS BOOK.

So if you don’t know, I recently started a booktube channel, and a few months ago I posted a video about my thoughts on cute, illustrated covers. These covers have been very popular in the adult romcom, romance, and “chick lit” (ugh, I don’t like that term) genres. But I also feel like they’re a bit… misleading? I mean, they’re definitely appropriate for the chick lit and romcom books, but sometimes these cute covers are masking more “serious” books, or in this case… a rather steamy, smutty romance. Haha! (Please know I mean no shade in this regard! I love these covers, and I much prefer them over the half-naked people lmao.)

Fix Her Up may look cute on the outside, but be prepared for all the steaminess in this book. And I’m not just talking about explicit sex scenes; there’s also a ton of explicit ‘talk’. Like wow, I need an ice bath after reading all that banter between Georgie and Travis!

Alright, let’s back up a bit. This story stars Georgie. She’s the youngest of three siblings, and even though she’s 23 years old, her family still treats her like a kid. She’s also a professional clown, which adds to how she gets treated by close friends and fam. Georgie has always had a crush on Travis. Travis is her brother’s best friend but also a former professional baseball player. After an injury, Travis no longer plays, and he lands a temporary job working for Georgie’s family’s home renovation business.

In order to “look good” for a potential new job interview, which will put Travis back in the baseball industry, he and Georgie agree to fake date. He wants to appear like a reliable man who isn’t a playboy anymore (his nickname was Two Bats. Like, wow.)

Okay, so the fake dating trope is already a favorite of mine. And I’d even say their romance is a bit ‘taboo’ in terms of how Georgie’s brother does not want Travis dating his little sister. But there’s also so much good in this, and character growth, too! Georgie, her sisters, and friends band together to support each other. I loved how these characters found ways to grow in realistic ways, and I appreciated the girl power message!

So, in a nutshell, this is such a great romcom, but be prepared for all the steamy talk and… actions. If explicit sexytimes isn’t your cup of tea, then you might want to skip this. But I had such a great time reading about Georgie and Travis, and watching their relationship evolve. And getting to chat and gush about this book with my friends was a huge bonus! ❀

fivestarsBuddy read with Jen!


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DEV1AT3 (LIFEL1K3, #2) by Jay Kristoff

 

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ARC provided by Knopf Books in exchange for an honest review.


This review might contain spoilers for the first book, LIFEL1K3.

I had so much fun reading this one, y’all. I really loved LIFEL1KE, and this sequel did not disappoint. I will admit, however, that I didn’t love it as much as the first book. But that’s just because I had a few issues with the pacing and some of the predictable twists (which, honestly, is not a bad thing.)

DEV1AT3 picks up right after the events in LIFEL1K3. The group is separated into four POVs: Lemon Fresh, Cricket, Eve, and Ezekiel. Lemon Fresh finds a group of deviates hiding in a bunker, Cricket, no longer a small bot, gets taken in by a cult, Eve is off doing her own weird shit (I know, I’m being vague), and Ezekiel teams up with an old favorite of mine.

I’m going to start out by saying that one of my favorite themes in this series is the friendships and found families. DEV1AT3 still holds true to those themes. Even when Lemon Fresh lives among fellow deviates, she’s always fiercely determined to go out to find the friends she was separated from. And Cricket will forever have my heart. He has so much character growth for a bot, and I want nothing more than for him to be happy!

And while we all know how things ended with Eve in the last book, I can assure you the religious references and vigilantism is still strong in this one. I will say Eve’s POV was probably my least favorite, though, because it wasn’t quite the main focus in this installment.

But the huge new plot line in this book is the Brotherhood, and how it mirrors some wild cult behavior we are seeing today. The Brotherhood is basically out there trying to erase all deviates (people who have “different” abilities) And wow… if that isn’t a giant metaphor for xenophobia and racism we still see today in America…

Overall I immensely enjoyed this sequel, and in true Kristoff fashion, we are left with some more questions than answers! But I adored the journey, and the banter, and the action. I’m already looking forward to the final book!

fourstars


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Blog Tour: Wicked Fox (Gumiho, #1) by Kat Cho

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Thank you to Penguin Teen for hosting this blog tour!


BOOK DESCRIPTION

An addictive fantasy-romance set in modern-day Seoul.

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to men. He’s drawn to her anyway. When he finds her fox bead, he does not realize he holds her life in his hands.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous and reignite a generations-old feud . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.


MY REVIEW

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ARC provided by Penguin Teen in exchange for an honest review.

When I learned I was going to be on this blog tour, I may or may not have screamed. Wicked Fox was such an anticipated YA release of 2019 for me, and it did not disappoint!

This Korean-lore inspired tale of the gumiho (fox with nine tails) was so much fun to read, and I immediately fell in love with our two main stars: Miyoung and Jihoon.

Miyoung: A high school student who is half-gumiho and half-human. She must feed on the gi (or energy) of men in order to survive. Miyoung has a very strained relationship with her mother, who is a beautiful and ancient gumiho. She does not know her father and struggles with wanting a normal life. However, she isn’t good at making friends and tends to be a loner.

Jihoon: A high school boy who has a few close friends to whom he’s very loyal. He doesn’t have a relationship with his mother so he lives with his grandmother and works in her restaurant. Also, we must protect Jihoon at all costs.

Yena: Miyoung’s gumiho mother. She is incredibly strict and protective of Miyoung, and pretty much won’t show mercy to anyone.

I loved how this book is an urban fantasy that’s set in modern day Seoul. The story opens with Miyoung on her hunt for gi, but she ends up saving Jihoon when she sees a goblin attacking him. But then something strange happens in the process: Miyoung’s fox bead, which contains her gumiho soul, gets extracted from her body. And if the bead falls into the wrong hands, that person can control Miyoung.

What made me love this book so much was that we got to follow the budding friendship (and later romance) of Miyoung and Jihoon. Both teens deal with absent parents and it affects them both in different ways. And I don’t want to make things too personal, but I would die for Jihoon. He is so soft and caring, and his relationship with his grandmother was so similar to my relationship with my (late) Thai grandmother.

One thing that this book addresses well is sexism and misogyny.Β  I appreciated how Cho included some chapters dedicated to the history of the legend of the gumiho. I won’t give away spoilers, but the legend of the “evil” woman who devours men’s souls has some underlying misogyny and it’s interesting how this type of story was told at bed time to scare children. But I really loved how Cho reversed the role of the gumiho; instead of being a seductive liver-eating monster, Miyoung fought temptation to feed, even if it meant potentially losing her immortality. Seriously, I loved seeing Miyoung’s character develop from the first page.

I highly recommend this book if you’re into urban fantasies with a twist on a popular legend. Not only is the romance cute and organic, but the mysteries and mayhem involved had me turning the page late into the night. I cannot wait to read the next installment!

Preorder the book!

fivestars


BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

WEEK ONE

June 3 – Reverie and Ink – Creative Instagram Picture

June 4 – Read by Tiffany – Review + Creative

June 5 – NovelKnight Book – Author Guest Post: How did your personal experiences influence writing Wicked Fox?

June 6 – Read Forevermore – Creative Instagram Picture

June 7 – Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Playlist

WEEK TWO

June 10 – The Book’s Buzz – Creative Instagram Picture + Blog Content

June 11 – Xenatine – Creative Instagram Picture

June 12 – Mike the Fanboy – Listicle: Favorite Fox Characters in Movies and TV + potential background on the fox myth

June 13 – Vicky Who Reads – Wicked Fox Phone Wallpapers

June 14 – _Forevermint – Creative Instagram Picture

WEEK THREE

June 17 – Beverage and Book – Creative Instagram Picture + Playlist

June 18 – A Court of Crowns and Quills – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

June 19 – The Fandom – Author Q&A

June 20 – A Novel Escape – Creative Instagram Picture

June 21 – Hollywood News Source – Listicle: Kdramas to Binge After Finishing Wicked Fox

WEEK FOUR

June 24 – Amber after glow reads – Creative Instagram Picture

June 25 – High Lit – Review + Author Guest Post: If you were born as a Gumiho, would you see it as a blessing or a curse?

June 26 – That is Mari – Creative Instagram Picture

June 27 – Β Folded Pages Distillery – Review

June 28 – Β Bookwormgram – Creative Instagram Picture


Author Bio

Kat Cho used to hide books under the bathroom sink and then sneak in there to read after bedtime. Her parents pretended not to know. This helped when she decided to write a dinosaur time-travel novel at the tender age of nine. Sadly, that book was not published. She currently lives and works in NYC and spends her free time trying to figure out what kind of puppy to adopt.


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