In at the Deep End by Kate Davies

A wonderful tale of a woman’s sexual awakening. It’s equal parts raunchy, funny, and genuine.

DESCRIPTION:

A fresh, funny, audacious debut novel about a Bridget Jones–like twenty-something who discovers that she may have simply been looking for love — and, ahem, pleasure — in all the wrong places (aka: from men)

Julia hasn’t had sex in three years. Her roommate has a boyfriend—and their sex noises are audible through the walls, maybe even throughout the neighborhood. Not to mention, she’s treading water in a dead-end job, her know-it-all therapist gives her advice she doesn’t ask for, and the men she is surrounded by are, to be polite, subpar. Enough is enough.

So when Julia gets invited to a warehouse party in a part of town where “trendy people who have lots of sex might go on a Friday night”—she readily accepts. Whom she meets there, however, is surprising: a conceptual artist, also a woman.

Julia’s sexual awakening begins; her new lesbian life, as she coins it, is exhilarating. She finds her tribe at queer swing dancing classes, and guided by her new lover Sam, she soon discovers London’s gay bars and BDSM clubs, and . . . the complexities of polyamory. Soon it becomes clear that Sam needs to call the shots, and Julia’s newfound liberation comes to bear a suspicious resemblance to entrapment . . . 

In at the Deep End is an unforgettably frank, funny, and racy odyssey through the pitfalls and seductions we encounter on the treacherous—and more often, absurd—path to love and self.

     – Goodreads


Genre(s):
Women’s Fiction, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Expected Publication Date: June.4.2019

*Thank you Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing an ARC through a Goodreads Giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*

REVIEW: 

Julia, the protagonist, embraces her new lesbian identity and never looks back. She is very quickly introduced to BDSM and polyamory and tries to determine whether either is for her. She falls head over heels for her new girlfriend Sam, an artist. 

I absolutely loved this book. The writing is full of quips and humor. And at first glance, you get the impression everything is happy/go-lucky. But Davies subtly brings in real relationship issues and does a superb job of handling it. 

Julia is an interesting character. She is smart, anxious, and open. Watching her character develop was a journey. One I would gladly go on again. 

RATING: 4/5 stars

RECOMMEND: YES! Just keep in mind it’s sexually graphic haha 😉

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

A lovely, romantic tale featuring horrid first impressions, a Bollywood-style wedding, and so much more! 

DESCRIPTION:


A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself. 

     – Goodreads

Genre(s): Romance, Fiction, Contemporary, Retelling

Publisher: Berkley Books

Expected Publication Date: June.4.2019

*Thank you First to Read for providing an ARC in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*

REVIEW:

 As far as Pride and Prejudice retellings go, this is a fairly decent one. If you’re familiar with the original, then its easy to see the parallels between the two. Which isn’t a bad thing. It was entertaining trying to figure out how the big plot points of the original would unfold. Besides, there were moments where I was so completely engrossed, that I forgot it was a retelling! 

What I particularly liked was the dual viewpoint. We see what Ayesha is up to, how she feels, we understand her. We also get Khalid’s view! So his horrible first proposal? Completely makes sense because we’ve come to see how and why he acts the way he does. 

A big part of this story weaves religion (Islam) into the narrative. Both Ayesha and Khalid are devout Muslims, which is crucial to the way they interact with one another. I really liked how that was explored. 

The overall tone of the story is pretty upbeat and light-hearted. But there are moments where things got really real. It is a modern-day retelling so prejudice towards Muslims does appear. The way it was handled is important. Especially as hatred spreads through our society like wildfire. 

One thing I did not like? Lydia’s (okay, that’s not her name in this book, but I am not spoiling the story by telling you who she is) happily ever after. Ugh! Why?? She’s so annoying! :/

RATING: 3.5/5 stars

RECOMMEND? Yes! This is such a refreshing take on a classic tale. Plus, that cover! Googly heart eyes forever ❤

2019: Week 21 Reading Roundup

Sunday.May.19 – Saturday.May.25

AKA: Honor a veteran and remember the sacrifice of those no longer with us ❤

FINISHED READING: 5

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

​A quick audiobook listen. Written in verse, the book is an incredibly relatable story of Xiomara, a teen girl in New York. The hype is real! [5*]

Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

​Steinbeck and his dog, Charley, embarked on a cross-country trip across America. It’s beautifully perceptive. [3.5*]

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (read by Philip Franklin)

​A cautionary tale. At least, that’s the way I choose to interpret it. A young man wanders off to the Alaskan wild. Months later his emaciated body is found by a hunter. What happened, and why did he leave everything behind? [3.5*]

Native Son by Richard Wright

​Societal critique with overt Communist ideals. It’s graphic and harrowing. This book is a lot. [3.5*]

In at the Deep End by Kate Davies

​Sexually explicit, but oh so good haha! [RTC]

CURRENTLY READING: 1

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

Currently 42% through the audiobook. It’s, um, interesting. 

UPCOMING READ: 1

I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan

I need a horror book in my life right now haha

BOOK HAUL: 1

Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Won this in a Goodreads Giveaway! I waited almost 2 months for this book to arrive. Can’t wait to finally read it! 

PUBLISHED POST(S): 1

Let’s Get Personal: Mental Health Month

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

2019: Week 20 Reading Roundup

Sunday.May.12 – Saturday.May.18

AKA: The week I saw a coyote roaming my neighborhood which pretty much took 10 years off my life because why is it so far away from the mountains???

FINISHED READING: 3

Truly Devious (#1) by Maureen Johnson

​I so enjoyed this book! The mystery is well-plotted and interesting. A true crime obsessed teenage girl is accepted to a prestigious academy with an old, unsolved murder mystery. The cliffhanger though!!! [4*]

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

​Not for me. The basic message is your thoughts control the universe and the universe will give you whatever you want (no work/effort on your part necessary) *major eye roll* [2*

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (read by Josephine Bailey)

​I listened to the audiobook and was thoroughly impressed by the narration. Each character had their own distinct voice. The story itself is dramatic. Think fairytale, evil stepmother and rebellious stepsister and all. BTW there is no ending! Gaskell passed away before the novel was completed 😥 [4.25*]

CURRENTLY READING: 2

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

My current audiobook. Loving the narration and the story! About 32% through the book.

Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck has quickly become one of my favorite authors. There’s just something about his writing that really gets to me. It’s simple but deep. Currently about 68% through this novel.

UPCOMING READ: 

Um, idk… probably the ARC below…?

BOOK HAUL: 1

In at the Deep End by Kate Davies

​I won an ARC of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway!! I’m really lucky when it comes to winning books haha

PUBLISHED POST(S): 1

My review of The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning can be found HERE

IN OTHER NEWS:

Ahhhhhh!! There is a Nancy Drew television adaptation coming this fall!! OMG!! I am equal parts excited and nervous!! 

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning

A heartbreaking dual-narrative story set in WWII Shanghai and modern-day Australia about survival, family, and love.

DESCRIPTION:

Kirsty Manning makes her US debut with this gripping historical novel that tells the little-known story of Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai during WWII.


1939:
Two young girls meet in Shanghai, also known as the “Paris of the East”. Beautiful local Li and Jewish refugee Romy form a fierce friendship, but the deepening shadows of World War II fall over the women as they slip between the city’s glamorous French Concession district and the teeming streets of the Shanghai Ghetto. Yet soon the realities of war prove to be too much for these close friends as they are torn apart.


2016:
Fleeing London with a broken heart, Alexandra returns to Australia to be with her grandparents, Romy and Wilhelm. Her grandfather is dying, and over the coming weeks Romy and Wilhelm begin to reveal the family mysteries they have kept secret for more than half a century. As fragments of her mother’s history finally become clear, Alexandra struggles with what she learns while more is also revealed about her grandmother’s own past in Shanghai.

After Wilhelm dies, Alexandra flies to Shanghai, determined to trace her grandparents’ past. Peeling back the layers of their hidden lives, she is forced to question what she knows about her family—and herself. 


The Song of the Jade Lily
is a lush, provocative, and beautiful story of friendship, motherhood, the price of love, and the power of hardship and courage that can shape us all.

     – Goodreads


Genre(s):
Historical Fiction

Publisher: William Morrow

Expected Publication Date: May.14.2019

*Thank you William Morrow for providing an ARC through a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*

REVIEW:

I absolutely loved this book. Books that teach me something new, stick with me for quite a long time. And this one, taught me a lot. 

So what exactly did this book teach me? History! The focus of this book is on Jewish refugees in Shanghai. Those who escaped Hitler’s regime during WWII. It’s incredibly eye-opening. An aspect of the war I had never considered was revealed to me.

The story itself is told through two timelines. There is the WWII narrative where we see one young girl (Romy) and her family scraping a life together in Shanghai after experiencing such horror in Europe. Then there is the modern-day narrative (set in 2016), where we learn what happened to the young girl and her family. 

It’s a tearjerker, this book. It’s one bad thing after another. But there are instances of love and so much strength and resilience. Which is what made me fall for this book. That through it all, people were still fighting, and resisting. Empowering. 

RATING: 4.5/5 stars

RECOMMEND: YES!! Most definitely! It’s not your typical WWII novel, in that it doesn’t focus on the European theater.

2019: Week 19 Reading Roundup

Sunday.May.5 – Saturday.May.11

AKA: the week of shiny new ARC’s + HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!! ❤

FINISHED READING: 3

Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe #2) by Raymond Chandler

​A good mystery but Philip Marlowe’s characterization felt off for some reason. Plus, the ending was neatly tied up. [3.5*]

Trump and Me by Mark Singer 

​A short and funny book about one journalist’s experience with whatshisface [3*]

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

​SO DAMN GOOD!!! It was unexpectedly funny. Very insightful. Perfection. My favorite parts were the blog posts (they were real thinkers!) [4.5*]

CURRENTLY READING: 2

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

My current audiobook. Really enjoying it. About 42% through.

Truly Devious (#1) by Maureen Johnson

I’ve been wanting to read this YA mystery for a while now. Barely started it so I don’t really know how I feel about it yet.

UPCOMING READ:

Idk!

BOOK HAUL: 2

Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

An ARC I won through a Goodreads giveaway! 😀

The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren 

An ARC I received from BookishFirst! I actually used my points to claim a copy of this book 😀

PUBLISHED POST(S): 1

My review of How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox can be found HERE

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE!! 😀

How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox

A haunting story of one young woman’s struggle to stay sane. A perfect read for Mental Health Month!



DESCRIPTION:

Biz knows how to float. She has her people, her posse, her mom and the twins. She has Grace. And she has her dad, who tells her about the little kid she was, who loves her so hard, and who shouldn’t be here but is. So Biz doesn’t tell anyone anything. Not about her dark, runaway thoughts, not about kissing Grace or noticing Jasper, the new boy. And she doesn’t tell anyone about her dad. Because her dad died when she was six. And Biz knows how to float, right there on the surface–normal okay regular fine.

But after what happens on the beach–first in the ocean, and then in the sand–the tethers that hold Biz steady come undone. Dad disappears, and with him, all comfort. It might be easier, better, sweeter to float all the way away? Or maybe stay a little longer, find her father, bring him back to her. Or maybe–maybe maybe maybe–there’s a third way Biz just can’t see yet. 

Debut author Helena Fox tells a story about love and grief, about inter-generational mental illness, and how living with it is both a bridge to someone loved and lost and, also, a chasm. She explores the hard and beautiful places loss can take us, and honors those who hold us tightly when the current wants to tug us out to sea.
     – Goodreads

Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health

Publisher: Penguin Teen

Expected Publication Date: May.7.2019

*Thank you BookishFirst for providing an ARC in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*

REVIEW:

This is a great book. The story, set in Australia, is so relevant and relatable. Biz can’t control her thoughts. At times, they get the better of her. As her mental health begins to unravel, we get a firsthand look at how she experiences the world. 

What I really liked about this story was how accurate the portrayal of mental illness is. Biz’s thoughts, feelings, and actions, are authentic. And you just don’t read about it, you feel it. The writing mimics the unwinding of Biz’s thoughts. This style has triggered me before and I was worried that this book would do the same. Thankfully, it didn’t. So I was able to enjoy this read somewhat at ease. But it just goes to show how incredibly well-written, and lyrical this novel is. 

The book delves into aspects of inter-generational mental illness. It does this in a subtle way. As the reader only becomes aware of it as Biz begins to learn about it herself. And it’s something that Biz struggles with. We see the effects of it throughout the novel.

In a nutshell, this an emotional journey. It is a book about loss and grief, first love, family/support. And a story that leaves you with many questions. As a reader, I was left wondering whether Biz’s experiences were real or imagined. Once again reinforcing the idea, that mental illness isn’t as clear-cut as it seems.

A beautiful book. 

RATING: 4/5 stars

RECOMMEND? YES! Especially if you enjoyed Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman! (The writing styles are similar).

2019: Week 18 Reading Roundup

 Sunday.April.28 – Saturday.May.4

AKA: Another good reading week!


FINISHED READING
: 5

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

​Love Morgan Matson!!! Her books are just so feel-good reads. In this story, we have Charlie, the youngest of 5 trying to get her older sister’s wedding back on track after disaster after disaster threaten to ruin the day. Family dysfunction and family love take center stage in this book. It’s unbelievably hectic, and wild and I enjoyed every second of it (even if Charlie did annoy me sometimes). [4*]

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (read by Jim Dale)

​A beautiful and magical tale. One of my absolute favorites. Loved the audiobook! [5*]

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

​A coming-of-age story told through various short stories/vignettes. It’s a beautifully written, quick read. Esperanza (the MC) reminded me of a young me. [4*]

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

OMG!! This book is so damn HILARIOUS!! The stories are ridiculous, and Lawson’s recounting is the best thing ever. I really enjoyed everything she had to say about mental illness. Recommend the audiobook!! [5*]

The Wrong Mother (Spilling CID #3) by Sophie Hannah

​Do not read this as a standalone! You’ll just be as confused as I was. I had no idea it was part of a series. So while I was trying to solve the main mystery, I was also trying to figure out what was going on between all these detectives. The mystery itself is actually really well done. I was a little shocked by the denouement (in a good way). [3.5*]

CURRENTLY READING: 2

Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe #2) by Raymond Chandler

My goal is to read the whole Philip Marlowe series. I’m about a quarter of the way through this read and while I am enjoying it, it feels a bit… different from The Big Sleep

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Okay, I barely started this book last night so I’m not that far into it yet. But first impression: the MC runs a blog!!! #relatable haha

UPCOMING READ: 1

Audiobook! Which one? Idk. Nothing is really calling to me right now…


IN OTHER NEWS:
 

Today is Cinco de Mayo. So if you want to go and get drunk? Go ahead! Just don’t use this “holiday” as an excuse (especially if it has absolutely nothing to do with your culture i.e. non-Mexican). Seriously. Don’t wear fake mustaches. Don’t wear a sombrero. It’s just plain wrong. Stop appropriating a historical event that has nothing to do with you. For the record, I’m Latina, not Mexican. So I will not be celebrating the Battle of Puebla. Because again, I am not Mexican. And if you’re not either, then you know what NOT to do. 

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

2019: Week 16 Reading Roundup

Sunday.April.14 – Saturday.April.20

AKA: An incredible reading week!

FINISHED READING: 4

Del amor y otros demonios (Of Love and Other Demons) by Gabriel García Márquez

​A relatively short tale about a 12-year-old girl bitten by a rabid dog. Although she shows no symptoms, she is sent away to a convent where she undergoes various exorcisms to “cure” her of the sickness. The language was a bit difficult for me but I did like the story (for the most part). A 36-year-old man falls in love with the little girl. Yeah. A whole lot of nope at the last 20% of the book. [3*]

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (#1) by Douglas Adams

​Ha! This book is weird but amazing. I can’t even summarize the plot. It’s too indescribable. There’s a mystery involving 2 ghosts, the fate of humanity, and a whole lot of science fiction. Funny and odd, just like the adaptation. [4*]


The Orange Girl
by Jostein Gaarder

​My goodness, this book! A 15-year-old boy reads a long-lost letter his father wrote to him shortly before he died 11 years prior. In it, the father spins a fairytale-like story about meeting the orange girl (the boy’s mother). This book is so therapeutic, that I was sobbing by the end. Because it’s not only about love, but about our very existence in the world. [4*]

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

​The life-story of our foreign-born U.S. Founding Father. I absolutely loved this book!! Because it just goes to show how incredibly hard immigrants have to work to prove themselves just as capable as their colleagues. Hamilton didn’t take anything for granted, using every opportunity he earned, and relentlessly striving to preserve the sanctity of his adopted country’s constitution. He not only fought for the states and created our financial system, but actually shaped our beloved country. One of the best biographies I’ve encountered as it covers all aspects of Alexander Hamilton’s life (i.e. The good, the bad, and the controversies) and the American Revolution. Recommend the audiobook narrated by Scott Brick [5*

CURRENTLY READING: 1

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty 

My 30-Day buddy read. About 76% of the way through. The story is okay. Simply okay. Some things are interesting. But it really hasn’t held me captivated. As of now, it’s looking like a 3* star read. 

UPCOMING READ: 

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

I have this audiobook all ready to go! I am so damn excited!!! 

BOOK HAUL: 9

Anyone else get all 9 books on Amazon for World Book Day?? I can’t say no to free books! Especially since 1 of them was on my TBR haha. 

IN OTHER NEWS:

I know everyone is watching Game of Thrones. But is anyone watching the BBC  Les Misérables adaptation on PBS?? I really liked the first episode!  Hallelujah to the No Singing!! Plus having read the book recently, it seems like a pretty faithful adaptation which makes me very happy 🙂

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

2019: Week 15 Reading Roundup

Sunday.April.7 – Saturday.April.13

(AKA: The week I fell behind on writing ARC book reviews smh)

FINISHED READING: 3

Puddin’ (Dumplin’ #2) by Julie Murphy

​Just as amazing as Dumplin’. I loved the writing. I loved the way female friendship is portrayed. I loved all the diversity. I loved getting to know Millie and Callie. I loved this book! I want more books within this beautiful universe!!! [4*]

How It Feels to Float
by Helena Fox

​About a teenage girl struggling with her mental health after the death of her father many years before. Really liked this book. RTC! (Eventually…)

As Kismet Would Have It
by Sandhya Menon

​A short story sequel to When Dimple Met Rishi. Honestly, it was pointless. But I still liked it more than the actual book lmao [3*

CURRENTLY READING: 3

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Still making my way through this as part of a 30-Day buddy read on Instagram. About 53% through and it still hasn’t really hooked me. The husband’s secret is scandalous though…

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

This audiobook is long but so good! It’s a nice crash course on early U.S. History. I am about 47% of the way through and absolutely enjoying it. Just worried my OverDrive loan will expire before I finish listening to it…

Del amor y otros demonios (Of Love and Other Demons) by Gabriel García Márquez

My monthly spanish read. I am completely invested in this little girl’s story but am really finding the language difficult. Whomp, whomp. 56% done. 

UPCOMING READ

No clue!

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀