10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 1, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.

Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents' house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That's when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.

When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she's started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.

This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever... or is it?

There’s little I love more than a book that can make me smile the whole way through, one that’s funny and fluffy and shippy as hell. They have a bit of magic because they can make all the stress and pain of daily life disappear for a few hours. I read with a goal of escapism, wanting to get out of my life into someone else’s. Some would argue that this is inferior to other forms of reading, but those people can shove it. Escaping into a thoroughly joyful narrative leaves me with more hope for life than I had when I started it, and how can that not be a good thing? 10 Blind Dates absolutely did all of that good stuff for me, and I loved it from the start to the end.

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Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins ReidDaisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Narrator: Jennifer Beals, Pablo Schreiber, Benjamin Bratt, Fred Berman, Ari Fliakos, Judy Greer, January LaVoy, Robinne Lee, Julia Whelan, Jonathan Davis, Henry Leyva, Oliver Wyman, Nancy Wu, P.J. Ochlan, Arthur Bishop, Holter Graham, Brendan Wayne, Pete Larkin, Alex Jenkins Reid, Robert Petkoff, Sara Arrington
Length: 9 hrs, 3 mins
Published by Random House Audio on March 5, 2019
Genres: Historical
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous break up.

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the real reason why they split at the absolute height of their popularity...until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it's the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she's twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she's pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

These days, I haven’t been reviewing too many audiobooks, mostly because I only review books that really stood out positively for me. I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks, but the nature by which I select audiobooks means that favorites can be few and far between. Authors I already know and love as well as one of my favorite genres (romance), I generally will not listen to on audio for a couple of different reasons. This means that I tend to listen to books I was on the fence about reading in the first place or completely random books that seem like they have good narration. I like most of what I listen to but it doesn’t necessarily end up being something I love. Well, Daisy Jones & The Six is absolutely fucking fantastic on audio, and I’d recommend that format for anyone who can manage to listen to audiobooks.

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I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina ForestI Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
on June 4, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Goodreads

When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast—two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.

Great debuts make me so happy. Especially when they have fabulous covers, because it makes me hope people will discover the book and read it. Let’s be real: we’re all at least a little bit shallow. I Wanna Be Where You Are has both, and it made me smile pretty much the whole way through; I only stopped smiling a couple times because it’s not quite a hundred percent fluffy. Kristina Forest’s debut is about family, preparing for your future, working toward your dreams, and the importance of communication. And, of course, there’s an adorable romance too.

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Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Our Wayward Fate by Gloria ChaoOur Wayward Home by Gloria Chao
Published by Simon Pulse on October 15, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads

A teen outcast is simultaneously swept up in a whirlwind romance and down a rabbit hole of dark family secrets when another Taiwanese family moves to her small, predominantly white midwestern town in this remarkable new novel from the critically acclaimed author of American Panda, which The Wall Street Journal called “weepingly funny.”

Seventeen-year-old Ali Chu knows that as the only Asian person at her school in middle-of-nowhere Indiana, she must be bland as white toast to survive. This means swapping her congee lunch for PB&Js, ignoring the clueless racism from her classmates and teachers, and keeping her mouth shut when people wrongly call her Allie instead of her actual name, Ah-lee, after the mountain in Taiwan.

Her autopilot existence is disrupted when she finds out that Chase Yu, the new kid in school, is also Taiwanese. Despite some initial resistance due to the they belong together whispers, Ali and Chase soon spark a chemistry rooted in competitive martial arts, joking in two languages, and, most importantly, pushing back against the discrimination they face.

But when Ali’s mom finds out about the relationship, she forces Ali to end it. As Ali covertly digs into the why behind her mother’s disapproval, she uncovers secrets about her family and Chase that force her to question everything she thought she knew about life, love, and her unknowable future.

Snippets of a love story from nineteenth-century China (a retelling of the Chinese folktale The Butterfly Lovers) are interspersed with Ali’s narrative and intertwined with her fate.

Finding a new author whose books you love is such a great bookish feeling. Obviously, I was thrilled to love Chao’s debut, American Panda, and eager to read more books from her. For me, though, I think it’s really the sophomore novel that cements what kind of relationship I’m going to have with that author’s books. Not that Sally Thorne couldn’t come back from whatever happened in 99 Percent Mine and write all books I love from here on out, but it definitely makes me really nervous when the sophomore novel doesn’t measure up to the debut. Our Wayward Fate sets Gloria Chao officially up as an author whose books I am obsessed with.

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I’ve Got You Covered (9)

All the best (at least by my tastes) in recent cover art.

Middle Grade

1. The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane (Black Hollow Lane #1) – Julia Nobel

All of it’s cool, but my heart was won by that border. Out now!

2. A Kind of Paradise – Amy Rebecca Tan

Despite the horribly mismatched carpets, this reading nook does indeed look like a paradise. Out now!

3. The Bookwanderers (Pages & Co. #1) – Anna James

Bookishness and a cat and cute artwork? YES HELLO YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION.

4. The Woods – R.L. Toalson

There are so many covers of a girl walking into creepy woods, but this one manages to feel completely different. I love the colors and her dress and the art style. Perfection.

5. The Best at It – Maulik Pancholy

I was absolutely the opposite of this kid. I did most of my homework at school and did basically no extracurriculars. But you go, kid. It is also way too close to lunch for me to look at a picture of samosas without my stomach growling.

6. The Other, Better Me – Antony John

I simultaneously love the lights on the golf cart and worry what happens when it’s driven too far away from whatever the lights are attached to.

7. My Jasper June – Laurel Snyder

Magic? An enormous firefly? Fairies?

8. The Very, Very Far North – Dan Bar-El

Marketing can be effective, because I almost expect the polar bear to grab a coke from the icy water.

9. Clear Skies – Jessica Scott Kerrin

Awesome anyway, but it never hurts to get the cute animal cover bonus.

Young Adult

1. War Girls (War Girls #1) – Tochi Onyebuchi

Is it wrong to weep because a cover is so fierce and beautiful? If it is, I don’t want to be right.

2. There Will Come a Darkness (There Will Come a Darkness #1) – Katy Rose Pool

Cover: boss. I think I may just automatically love anything in this color palette, which is weird because black, white, and red aren’t among my favorite colors but idk cover magic somehow. Admittedly, though, I’m annoyed at being two for two with the series name just being book one’s title. Is that a pet peeve for anyone else?

3. The Circus Rose – Betsy Cornwell

STOP, DROP, AND ROLL, BEAR!!!!

4. The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Apparently this is about brides of Dracula and I don’t get that at all from this cover, but whatever this is amazing. Also curious about what Bellatrix’s name is doing down there at the bottom.

5. The Cities of the Dead (The Casquette Girls #3) – Alys Arden

It makes me so happy when self pub/small press covers are amazing. I’ve been really impressed with the ones for this series, even if nothing could make me get on that creepy-ass ferris wheel. Available now!

6. Sisters of Shadow and Light (Sisters of Shadow and Light #1) – Sara B. Larson

There’s something deeply nostalgic about this. (*mumbles about the series title being the book title*)

7. As Many Nows As I Can Get – Shana Youngdahl

I’ll admit there’s something I find off-putting about this cover, but it’s also gorgeous? Looking at the summary, I think that tension I feel looking at it is a good thing, because this so does not sound like a Christina book. Still deserved to make the cut because there’s so much to find in there, and it absolutely draws the eye. Plus, that illustration is amazing. The title treatment I don’t love, but eh.

8. Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle #1) – Rosaria Munda

Like anyone is surprised that I love the dragon cover. (Also, THAT is how you series title.)

9. Wayward Son (Simon Snow #2) — Rainbow Rowell

For some reason when I google searched to find a version of this cover without the EW stamp, I found one where someone had given Simon ramen-noodle hair ala young Justin Timberlake. Enjoy knowing that exists.

10. Shadow Frost – Coco Ma

As much as I’m mildly tired of arrow or sword fantasy covers, this one works for me. The arrowhead looks awesome, and so does the swirly frost and fire. The colors are great. Not a particularly original cover, but highly effective.

11. Other Words for Smoke – Sarah Maria Griffin

The US cover for this is also awesome, but I’m kind of in love with this owl cover. Out now in the UK!

12. The Soulstealers – Jacqueline Rohrbach

That must be the most used title font ever, but holy shit she looks amazing I don’t even care.

13. All-American Muslim Girl – Nadine Jolie Courtney

Adorable. It almost looks like a classic, actually, like some of the awesome B&N or Penguin editions.

14. The Night Country (The Hazel Wood #2) – Melissa Albert

Honestly, how dare you be so gorgeous? It’s rude to all of our bank accounts.

15. The Chosen (Contender #1) – Taran Matharu

One grim reaper to rule them all.

16. Eclipse the Skies (Ignite the Stars #2) – Maura Milan

The eclipse effect is cute, and she’s fierce af.

17. How to Be Remy Cameron – Julian Winters

TBH I’m not about this sideways cover life, but whatever look at that beagle and the post-its and I defy you to not like this cover.

18. Viper (Isles of Storm & Sorrow #1) – Bex Hogan

Absolutely put-up-on-the-wall-worthy.

19. The Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt #2) – Mary Watson

So pretty despite having a bug on it. Downside: I struggled to find this book on GR, because, though this clearly says the title is “The Wicker Light,” it is in fact “The Wickerlight.” *growls* This is the UK edition.

20. The Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt #2) – Mary Watson

The good news is that the US edition is ALSO pretty, with the added bonus of having the title correct!

21. I’m Not Dying with You Tonight – Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal

I mean, that sounds ideal tbh.

22. The Stars and the Blackness Between Them – Junauda Petrus

Trippy as hell and cooler than I could ever possibly be.

23. Speak No Evil – Liana Gardner

Sign me up for any and all book covers that look like Bernini sculptures.

24. Your Brain Needs a Hug: Life, Love, Mental Health and Sandwiches – Rae Earl

Um why do those look ketchup and mustard sandwiches with nothing else? I approve of the sentiment but not the actual pictured sandwiches.

25. Pet – Akwaeke Emezi

Does this cover freak anyone else out or is it just me? Like, objectively, there’s nothing scary about it, but I get horror vibes.

26. The Babysitters Coven (The Babysitters Coven #1) – Kate Williams

Claudia Kishi with magical powers?!?!?!

Adult

1. The Girl in Red – Christina Henry

What did I say about that black and red color palette? It does pop more with white than this beige, but I guarantee I’d stop to look at this in a bookstore.

2. The Harp of Kings (Warrior Bards #1) – Juliet Marillier

The fonts let this one down a bit, but that illustration is so amazing. The way her hair shines is fucking captivating, I swear.

3. Someone to Honor (Westcott #6) – Mary Balogh

Maybe I’m biased because I love this series so damn much, but I find the verdancy of this cover irresistible. It makes me feel calm and happy just looking at it. I also love her dress and gloves.

4. The Nightjar – Deborah Hewitt

I feel like Kaylee because this is shiny as hell.

5. Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction – Lisa Kröger & Melanie Anderson

Could have lived without that creepy doll tbh, but I love the references, nerdiness and feminism of this cover.

6. Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) – Leigh Bardugo

Simple, sinister, stunning, and sibilant.

7. The Summer of Sunshine & Margot – Susan Mallery

They are basically living my best life. Only in my best life, bees don’t exist. (Yes, I know bees help make flowers exist but I have a phobia, okay, leave me alone, haters and also bees.)

8. The Bone Ships (The Tide Child #1) – RJ Barker

Black, white, and red AND a dragon. They saw me coming.

9. Get a Life, Chloe Brown – Talia Hibbert

I want to cut his hair, but otherwise this is perfection, and I would change not a thing.

10. A Choir of Lies – Alexandra Rowland

Nostalgia factor again. I’m not a huge fan of the white dude in the center, but I love the border bunches. Hi, Aslan!

11. The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl (The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club #3) – Theodora Goss

These covers are amazing and the titles are absolutely the best.

12. The Book Charmer (Dove Pond #1) – Karen Hawkins

Listen, I know I’m being manipulated super easily but I don’t care. This looks adorable, and I want it.

13. The Friend Zone – Abby Jimenez

The first version of this cover I saw didn’t have the couple in the red, and omg that made this cover.

14. The Clergyman’s Wife – Molly Greeley

The foliage and the blend of green and purple here just works. Charlotte Collins may have a dull husband, but at least her cover’s exciting!

15. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill – Abbi Waxman

There are so many bookish covers in this post, and I regret nothing. Keep it publishing, it’s working. (Also, a reminder that I fucking love Berkley’s cover design team.)