IT’S GREY’S TURN!!! 😀 AND HOLY MOLY I am so ecstatic that we have Grey in our book crew. Not only does she have awesome book taste, likes that darker bully books, and also loves the tear-jerkers too, but her enthusiasm for her favorites is astounding. Every list I get from her is so incredibly unique and SO fun to read. I can’t wait for y’all to see what she wrote about her favorites and WHY she chose them.
But first, let’s go over some Grey 2019 Highlights, shall we?
About the upcoming year & life stuff:
1. How do you feel going into 2020? Sappy. There’s a lot of changes ahead for my family in 2020. My daughter will be graduating high school…and just, wow. 2020? How did that happen… weren’t we just worried about Y2k?
2. If you chose 1 word to be a mantra or guide for 2020? Breathe
3. If at some point you have a chance to drop everything and hop on a plane where are you going? Are you going? Hawaii. Yes.
4. Song starting off your New Year? Good as Hell by Lizzo
5. A character you could use as inspiration? Hermione Granger
6. And then just because who was the swooniest fictional couple you met in 2019? Jude and Cardan… The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #1 and #2) by Holly Black
…come to NY, I’ve got your autumnal colors on lock. Actually, wait another week or so, then it will be absolutely brilliant here. It’s pretty right now, but given a little bit longer, it’s going to be just spectacular. Without a doubt, one of my favorite reasons for living where I do.
1) it is my baby’s birthday!! He’s ten…*cry* how does this happen so fast?
2) it is show week for my daughter…so I will be so busy!
3) I have no idea what to read. I miss my KU subscription something fierce!
I watched 5 episodes of GoT last night. :blink: :blink: 😆 I could rewrite everything everyone else has already said but I won’t…just all of the yeses. It is everything! My husband and I watch together…we both love it. It has action and sex for him, lol and heartstring tugging and plot for me, *giggle*. It really is amazing.
About her book tastes and habits:
Do you (personally) read prequels first…or do you wait and go back to them after reading the first official book? I’m kind of split 50/50. I worry that it’s going to spoil something for me, but then I worry that I’m going to be lost if I don’t read it.
I’m needing more bully books, gimme ALL of them.
I’m a terrible buddy reader. I finished a had a quick turnaround edit…and I loved it. 😀 But it completely erased my memory of what we were buddy reading, LOL, so I have to restart. Oops!
Look at all these delicious books with enemies-to-lovers in the blurbs…I’ll just go and roll around like a princess in glitter!
A FUN READER QUIZ we did here on the blog:
Oh, I love these!!
1. Around what year did you become a regular commenter on the blog? Hmm, I’m not sure, 2014, I think?
2. First buddy read on the blog? Geez, I’m not sure on this one either…I think Jezebel? Which also led to me cursing on the blog at 2 o’clock in the morning… 😆 sorry Maryse!
3. Moment that made you laugh the most? *blink, blink* How can I choose one? bev vs. Bev was classic! There have been some humdinger Friday nights in here too. Mixing up of cocktails and dirty innuendos, not naming any names here, *cough cough, Amy, *cough*
4. Book you’ve probably rec’d the most? Gah, these are hard. It depends on what mood I’m in. For a Rom-Com, Beautiful Player (The Beautiful Series Book 5) by Christina Lauren.
5. Book you read because of a Maryse rec? Drive by Kate Stewart
6. Have your reading taste changed since you first started visiting the blog? Hmmm, I don’t know if they’ve changed so much. I still love the bad boy bullies…and PNR… Although I definitely read more indy authors now, which is a definite bonus.
7. What’s a rec you still want Maryse and others to read? Playing with Monsters by Amelia Hutchins.
8. Do you think she will like it? Yes…it’s… amazing!!!
9. Its Friday link an upbeat song…. Well, we’ll it’s Sunday now, But here’s mine… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=av5JD1dfj_c
10. If we met what would you want us to do together? I keep saying, I really want Maryse to host another Book Bash, I think it’d be super fun! That way we could all come and help out before hand, have a blog party before hand…then pitch in for the event itself, super fun, right???
Thanks bev, this was super fun, as always!
About her cooking and food favs:
I always make my pepperoncini roast in the instant pot. It’s delish!!! I use water/beef broth so that the liquid comes up to an inch from top of meat. Set instant pot for manual meat or pressure cook on high (depending on which one you have) for 45 minutes. Let pressure release for about 20 minutes, then you’re good to go. I love this roast in the instant pot. I always make it this way. I love ham in the instant pot too.
Maryse, keto bread. Need! I’ve been kinda of half and halfing it. I’ve lost WAY more than I planned. Actually more than the Dr wanted me to, but I feel better on the keto, so I am still ketoing during my work week and then taking weekends off.
AND NOW… GREY’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019!!
Here it is…my list for 2019…thank you so much for doing these for us. I appreciate you so much!
*Le gasp and sigh* This is the first year in several that I haven’t had my list ready to go for Maryse to post on New Year’s Day. I know, I’m upset by it too, it doesn’t feel like a new year without my list posted, so has this been some sort of limbo 19/20 that I’ve been existing in for the past few days. A reality where Godiva and wine have no calories and the glittery blankie fort magically cleans itself? I. Wish. Not to worry, dear readers, I’ll make it worth your while, I promise, we’ll get you into the spirit of a clean slate for 2020 and solidify the status of looking good from here on out. Without further adieu, *incoming glitter bomb* Grey’s 5 star list of 2019, brought to you courtesy of the letter ‘S’. S, you ask? Hang with me, I haven’t completely lost my mind…but it seems like S words can completely sum up my reading year. Spotify, series, (a slump), sparks, sagas, smut, and sass.
So, it seems looking back, that Grinchy Grey’s heart has shrunk by a couple sizes this year and I’ve been a little harder to impress. However, I’ve actually read less overall this year too. Maybe in the grand scheme of things, it all comes out in the wash. *insert some random gif of complicated math*
It seems like I’ve only had six (another S word…see?) true 5 star reads this year. *blink, blink* that can’t be right, can it? *consults goodreads again* I’ll investigate, but maybe this way, you all won’t need a nap (or glasses) in between reading sections of my favorites of 2019. One can only hope, right?
In chronological order, to make my life easier…
The Devil: Devil’s Playground Duet #1 by Ashley Jade (Cards of Love series)
This is the first book I have read from this author; however, it definitely won’t be the last. This was my Pick-for-Me Challenge book for January 2019 and was picked for me by the lovely Robin. I knew nothing about this book. Isn’t it funny how that works? I am not a blurb reader by any means under normal circumstances. Most of my book recommendations come from my friends saying…’hey, read this book, you’ll like it.’ Most of the time, depending on who it is, I shrug and say, ‘okay, if you think I’ll like it.’ Then I toss it on Mt. TBR and judging by the buzz it gets or whatever mood I’m in, I flick through covers on my Kindle and grab one. I know…highly scientific, right?
So enough blabbering about my undignified process. Okay, are you ready??? Here we go, friends…don’t say I didn’t warn you. Five, baby, five hot AF stars. One for sass, one for Spotify, one for sparks, one for series, and eleventy for smut. I know, I need to work on my math skills. Although, if I were in my right mind, I would have kept all of my stars hostage until I had the next book in the series in my greedy little hands because I was *thirsty*, y’all. This was the first five star book I’d had in MONTHS. So thankful that’s over. I was seriously getting worried I was in a *whispers* slump, (I was, truth be told, but I hate saying that word out loud) and I should have known, I needed a hot and spicy bit of dark and naughty to pull me out…or down the twisted spiral into hedonistic mind-messery, because dannnng!
Let me be perfectly frank, you need to stow your mortal turpitude at the door, because this book is going to tap dance on all sorts of lines, but again–remember, this is fiction, so enjoy it for what it is! There is a very detailed warning laid out at the beginning in the description of the Devil card and what it represents and what the story will be about, so I would hope that any reviews would keep that in mind and remember if you don’t want to read this kind of story, it very plainly states right at the beginning of the book what it is about and that it is a prelude…and it’s best if you go in blind!
No spoilers, not a one. Not my style. But you know what I will comment on. The Spotify playlist. Absolutely sin-…I mean sen-freaking-sational! Oh, my God! It has all the deliciously wicked and shady tunes that I could totally get down with for this type of book and I dug it in a big way. Still listening and downloading several of these beauties to my personal playlist to keep forever!
Not really spoilers… but a couple little tidbits, just so you can see Ms. Jade’s style, pretty amazing, if I may say.
the girl is beautifully fascinating. A breathtaking tragedy waiting to happen.
The heart is the greatest fortune teller of all time. It’s always one step ahead of the curve.
Sometimes the only difference between love and obsession is a broken heart.
I can’t wait to read the next book and see how this all plays out. Thanks again, Robin, for knowing my style…and well done, Ms. Jade, you’re certainly on my radar now! Note to self…why haven’t I read the second book yet? I’m sure it’s out! Must get on that!!
Kill Switch (Devil’s Night Book 3) by Penelope Douglas
How do I put my thoughts down on a book that I’d been ruminating on theories about for well over a year before I read it? It was pretty difficult, let me tell you. Kill Switch is the third book in the Devil’s Night series by Penelope Douglas, a saga of the Four Horsemen of Thunder Bay. This book centers more on Damon Torrance’s story, the self-proclaimed most dangerous and deadly of the four young men we were first introduced to in Corrupt. I would definitely recommend reading Corrupt which lays out most of the background, and then Hideaway which starts to fill in more of the missing pieces before picking this one up. There is just too much history and backstory otherwise. Not to mention the fact that this book, itself, is MASSIVE, at over 500 pages. I love the long game. Give me a big book and I’m a happy girl.
Ms. Douglas has carved out her own space in the romantic suspense niche, it’s almost safe to say that she’s invented her own brand. The edge of the razor that she balances these characters on is so sharp that you scarcely feel comfortable breathing while you’re reading because once false gasp could send the entire cast hurtling to their deaths… (or maybe that was just me feeling that way, I don’t know…) The masterful, skilled and savvy way that she weaves the story back and forth between Damon and Winter, both present and past times, while sometimes mind-boggling, all ties together and is nothing short of awe-inspiring brilliance.
I waffled back and forth over whether or not I was going to write a review on this book, because as some of you know, I proofread it and I didn’t want anyone to think there was a conflict of interest. However, I was *not* paid to write a review. I don’t pad my reviews…ever. And I think everyone is also aware, that Will is my favorite horseman, not Damon. LOL! So, here we are. I couldn’t, in good conscience, not write a review, because this book was nothing short of fabulous.
Early in the book, there is a quote from Winter, “In fact, he was kind of an angel at the end. An angel with really black batwings.” I had to laugh, I know it wasn’t meant to be meant to be funny, but I went into this book thinking it was about Damon’s redemption and that line summed it up for me. Here’s Damon, with his tarnished halo and black batwings, just trying to make up for all the bad stuff he’s done… and gah, if that isn’t the sexiest mental picture I’d had all day, because I love a bad boy, amiright?
“Our kind of fun had a price.”
Oh, Damon… You could quickly move up the ranks of my favorites, if you keep saying swoonworthy stuff like that. LOL! You see, the magic that comes from Ms. Douglas’s fingers is truly something that you need to experience, although I will warn that it isn’t for everyone. It’s dark. Like–you need a sea of blankie forts with a herd of manatees, and it was a really shitty time for me to be doing keto, because I couldn’t have my Godiva and Moscato–dark.
Bottom line, I loved this book. It had everything I was looking for. A killer Spotify playlist. (There are two by the way, LOL! I had an uncut version, before the final version was put in the book…so in case anyone is confused, there is the final version that is listed in the book, and then if you follow my Spotify, there’s a couple extra songs on that version.) The continuation of an epic tale of suspense, characters that remain true to themselves…while life…um yeah, and things happen. No spoilers here! Love, friendship and the bonds that can and cannot be broken. “Because I was afraid of life without the hope of you to look forward to.”
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air Book 1) by Holly Black
Loved it!!! A bully…subterfuge…the Fae…a Spotify playlist! Gah, let me just curl up and live here forever! 5 stars!
Verbatim, that was the review I wrote for goodreads. LOL! I could not be bothered to write anything more than 22 words and use about 8 more punctuation points than necessary because Jude and Carlan were calling for me to start The Wicked King post haste. I blamed Tessa, she was the one who pushed me off the ledge and told me I simply must stop procrastinating already and read the series, (even though it wasn’t completed…it since has been with The Queen of Nothing) and she wasn’t wrong. I loved it.
“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”
Eep! Yep, double eep! This book, y’all. I love a good fantasy. I mean, seriously, I LOVE a good fantasy, but in order to be a good fantasy, the author has to work. Ms. Black worked and then some. The Cruel Prince is split between the modern world and the fae world, which is no small feat, the real feels of being where there are malls and even a Target to an antiquated mythological castle with lagoons and moats, spells and … well, you truly appreciate the writing chops of an author when you are transported and feel like you’re right there with the characters. And let me tell you I was *right* there. I downright hated some of these people. Straight up hated them…I mean, not the ones I probably should be hating, but still. The vast majority of most of the characters were straight up jerks. And I was right there in the thick with them…and then, boom, right off the end of a cliff. *cue monumental breakdown and reason for a 22 word review and probably the quickest download of book 2 in a series ever* Moving right along…
The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air Book 2) by Holly Black
Oh. My. God. That ending. *Pout* impending cliffy, let me just step off the ledge. How long do I have to wait for the next book? Whose idea was it for me to read these books??? Tessa?!? You’re grounded!
Oh, but it’s Fae…and bullies…my beautifully twisted bullies and it’s so well-written! And Spotify!
I friggin’ loved it. 2 five star books back to back. I’m beyond thrilled!
Again, that’s all I could write for my goodreads review. It’s like words escaped me. Words. Escaped. Me!!! I couldn’t write anything else. I just sat and pouted. Life happened and I wasn’t able to hop onto the NetGalley track to get The Queen of Nothing for an Arc…and so I’ve sat…waiting and waiting and waiting for it to come through my library. Because of a deal with my hubby, I promised I wouldn’t buy any more books… This is me…it’s been 84 years now. I’m kidding, but it feels like that long. However, today is the day. The online public library just came through for me, I will be indisposed for the next twelve hours or so and I couldn’t be more excited to get back to their world!
Have you ever read a book (7 months ago now) and still remember vividly the cliffy ending that made you plant your face into a pillow and scream loudly? That was this book. This was the mother of all cliffies. Series reads can be hella painful. They can veer off the character canon and make you think, what the heck was the author thinking? That is NOT the case here. Ms. Black stays so true to her words, to her characters, that you forget that they’re just that. Words…characters…not a real place…not real people. *pouts* Why aren’t they real? Wait, I don’t really want them to be real…do I? I’m so confused… I need a Snickers. And a nap. Okay, that’s a complete lie, I really want someone to send me to bed so I can start my reread of the above two books in prep for the 3rd that just arrived on my kindle. Squee, I’m so excited. You guys have no idea. The political staging and dark romantic plotting and shady undertones of this book are off the hook. Just masterclass, in a tier all their own. Like, bumped onto my all-time favorites list this year type of hype. I know…high praise indeed. If you like fantasy books at all, and you haven’t read this series yet…you’ve done yourself a disservice and you need to correct that mistake–immediately.
*tosses ALL of the glitter*
Okay, seriously, I’m well aware this is a collection of novellas and I’ve read a couple of them already…but sit down. Because Winter Tales also contains the novella that I’ve been waiting for–for years! In fact, Ms. Reisz and I had Twitter conversations about it, LOL! So yes, there was a Santa Claus this year, and her name was Tiffany Reisz.
Any of you that have read The Siren or any of my reviews for The Original Sinners series know that Zach and Nora are my favorites…I know, I love the rest of the crew; but Zach and Nora, they just have that something magical for me. Zach Easton is at the pinnacle of my favorite-est (new word of the day) book boyfriends list. Ever. In fact, I’m going to have to do a re-read of the whole shebang now, just because I love being so absorbed into this world.
Ms. Reisz’s writing is just on another level. And with the inclusion of the novella December Wine in this book, I was a hot, glittery mess of hormones. I mean…seriously, I’d read a book Reisz wrote scribbled in crayon on the back of a bunch of Walmart receipts, okay? The truly unique characters, the top-notch world building, the way the plot loops back in and carries through a lengthy series like this one; it’s not any wonder that she’s an autoread for me. Unequivocally, without a doubt, 5 star read. And I’d be completely remiss if I didn’t thank NetGalley and 8th Circle Press for the ARC I was provided with in exchange for a review.
But December Wine isn’t the only novella included…there are 4 other substantial novellas included in this book. If you’re a fan of Mistress Nora, Kingsley and Søren, this isn’t one to be missed. However, you shouldn’t start off the series with this book. It’s best enjoyed after reading the rest of the Original Sinners series. Let me know if you want to buddy read, I’m completely on board for a trip down Kinky McCufferson Boulevard.
Someday, Someday by Emma Scott
Woo…okay. Are you ready for this review? No…I’m serious. This requires dedication. Grab some babka, come back. I’ll wait here. I’m not talking spoilers…hmm, no spoilers, at least not big ones that you wouldn’t see from reading the blurb on the back of the book. I’m going to take you on a journey here…get comfy. Babka…seriously.
I hadn’t written an in depth review in a while, but life, y’all. I’d been crazy busy. Sickness… Editing… Real life just getting in the way. Then Someday, Someday landed on my Kindle as an ARC and I about wigged out because. This. Is. Max.
My Max. (Cue obsessive, over the top, hyped-up, Tom Cruise jumping on a couch type of reaction)
I opened my Kindle and put it back down. I opened Facebook and closed it. I opened Facebook again, relaid my claim on Max to all and sundry; and again retreated into my glittery little blankie fort. Why? Because Max is mine. He’s been mine since October 14, 2017. (Too creepy? Maybe… Do I care? Nope.)
So, there I was with this brand-new book all loaded up and waiting for me, right? And I couldn’t do it. I was having the worst anxiety over starting a book ever…the struggle was real, kids. So instead, I went back to where it all began…
Excerpt from Forever Right Now by Emma Scott.
My eyes landed on a young guy leaning against a cement pillar, scanning the crowd. He was Hollywood-handsome; an actor playing a greaser from the 50’s with his gelled, dark brown hair and chiseled jaw. He wore a white T-shirt, jeans, and black boots. All he needed was a cigarette tucked behind one ear and a pack rolled up his sleeve. He caught sight of me and pushed himself off the pillar with his shoulder.
“Darlene Montgomery?” I stopped.
“Yeah? Who…? Are you Max Kaufman?”
“That’s me,” he said, and offered his hand. “Aren’t you a little young to be a sponsor?” I asked, my gaze roaming over his broad, muscled chest, then up to his handsome face and piercing brown eyes. He’s way too hot to be my sponsor. Lord, have mercy.
“The powers-that-be seemed to feel I have experience enough to be of some help,” Max said. “I started down the path of turpitude early.”
I grinned. “Advanced for your age?”
Max grinned back. “First in my class at juvie.”
I laughed, then heaved a sigh. “Dammit, you’re adorable.”
Did you feel that? Boy, I sure did… that pretzel tummy, those butterflies, that tummy flip? And Max wasn’t even barely a blip on the radar in FRN. But, for me, he was *everything*. You see, it’s important that I went back. Sure, there’s hundreds, thousands of people even, that are going to fall in love with Max…and probably even *more* that will fall in love with Silas, (and that’s perfectly fine… remember who Max belongs to, peeps…) But the story began for Max over two years ago…I’ve been patiently anticipating this.
So, I went back and caught up and tried (possibly successfully) to rein myself in.
I settled in and the cover of Someday, Someday was staring me in the face, right? And what happens? I promptly burst into tears. I can’t make this up, people! I don’t know why I’ve attached myself so deeply to the character of Max Kaufman…or why the writing of the uber-talented Emma Scott affects my soul so much, but I’m sure the author herself is ready to issue a restraining order!
So I prepared…and scowled at anyone who dared to get between me and my Kindle at that point. Because now that Max and I had been reunited, I couldn’t possibly bear to be separated from him.
Then I started driving myself crazy, OMG…there’s a misspelling! And a wonky punctuation mark… Not in my Max’s book. There can’t be?!? (Picture me hyperventilating and breathing into a paper bag) I needed to steady myself, so I threw a quick text to the author to reassure myself that I’d indeed gotten a pre-proofed ARC… (Cue normal breathing again…because this was the case. And again, see the need for poor authors to have restraining orders from rabid fangirls…🙈)
I then proceeded on the most terrifying book journey of my life. I sat in my chair, used my trusty Lamaze breathing and trusted Ms. Scott to not break me. But…it was okay–no, so much better than okay. It was glorious, magnificent, soul-healing. I laughed, I cried, I threw my Kindle…I just felt every single moment.
I’m not here as one of those book pimpers who just automatically throw out a 5 star rating because their friend releases a book and they want to help promote it. Sorry, that’s BS and I don’t roll like that. I haven’t loved all of Emma’s books, (please don’t stone me…) And I don’t pad my reviews. Ever. More importantly, if you’ve been paying attention at all to this long-winded drivel of mine, you’ll realize, that A) I might be crazy… And B) Max is pretty much a unicorn to me.
What it boils down to is that there aren’t many writers on the planet that I would have trusted to tell the story of Maximilian Kalonymus Kaufman. And even fewer who would’ve made me give a damn about his love interest. But I did care about Silas…very much, in fact. And I absolutely adored Eddie. That’s just the thing with an Emma Scott book…the multi-dimensional, interwoven layers of the stories she creates are so intricate, so masterful, you can’t help but fall in love with all of the characters she pens…even the ones you’re supposed to be hardening your heart against. The development, the growth, the journey…it’s not like I would ever forget Max anyway; but now, I won’t be forgetting any of the other amazing lives that have bloomed in this world either, blessed by Ms. Scott’s talent.
Silas is a true gem in his own right…separate from my baby Max and equally deserving of love and the richness of a beautiful story and God, did Emma deliver. I don’t typically read MM…but this is truly a romance and love is love. It knows no bounds.
I could wax poetic for another hundred paragraphs…but I’m not going to…instead I’ll leave you with a quote.
“Every minute you’re alive is a second chance to start over. I honor my past, but I don’t live in it. I choose this moment instead. Right here.”
This book has a fabulous soundtrack listed on the very beginning pages of the novel… I made a Spotify playlist before I was aware that the author’s most awesome assistant extraordinaire did as well…search them up on Spotify, if you’re into that kind of thing. I believe the only difference is that I added Silas’s music that was included on the author’s list at the beginning of the book, because I thought it too important not to. Man…talk about relevant music. One song I would add is “Savin’ Me” by Nickelback. I heard it while I wasn’t held hostage by the book and then I couldn’t stop thinking about it while I wasn’t reading…
That’s it for my 5 stars.
I have a couple Honorable Mentions to round out my Top 10. Just because, I feel kind of…I don’t know, stingy with my stars.
I couldn’t pick between the two…it’s like picking your favorite kid. Not fair, and I refuse to play that game, so I’m adding both. It’s wild, I loved Laney the h from TGotR … but Troy the H had my heart from moment one in TGotL… actually, the real MVP from both books would be Dante. That kid is comic gold. I’d read a book written from his POV, purely for the entertainment value he provides.
Then there’s The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon, I read that pretty early in 2019 and it was a standout book in that I still remember a lot from it. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy book, and written with Ms. Harmon’s distinctive flair.
The final book I’d choose to finish my Honorable Mentions section would be Long Shot (HOOPS Book 1) by Kennedy Ryan. I’d never read a Kennedy Ryan book before, but man…this lady can *write* and this book was fan-freaking-tastic.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations on reading the longest favorites list in history. Celebrate with Snickers, sangria and sleepy snuggles. Please don’t let the fact that you may have made a permanent indentation in your plush seating from being in one position too long deter you from picking up one of my favorite books of the year. I wish you all the best in 2020, filled with magical 5 star book glitter!
HOLY MOLY I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this post, Grey!!!!!! 😀 !!!!
Like Grey’s book style? Check out more of her favorites: