#BlackOutTuesday

Good hello, friends.

It seems wrong of me to want to post anything else on my blog, Instagram, or YouTube channel without first addressing the state of our world today.

I have seen so much hatred in this world in my 21 years of life. I have lived through countless of protests, I have learned the history, and yet we continue to see the oppressors reign over the oppressed.

I refuse to stay silent. 

As someone who can be white-passing, I acknowledge the privilege I have. I know that though my struggle as an Armenian-American woman are present, they will not match the struggle of the Black community. I cannot speak for others, nor will I, but at this very moment in time, the all encompassing struggle of the Black community is one that needs to be fought for by ALL, regardless of race, the color of your skin, you gender, your sexual orientation, or other defining factors.

DO NOT FORGET THEIR NAMES

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and countless others.

At this time, I urge all readers and friends alike to get educated. Acknowledge the privilege you have to use a platform to spread awareness. Acknowledge the privilege you have to be able to disconnect if you choose to. However, I refuse to disconnect. I refuse to turn away from these injustices, and I will continue to sign every petition I can. I will watch the videos of the protests and pray for the safety of those braver than I could be. I pray for those who are risking their lives to make a change, knowing that this fight against murder is going to be revolutionary.

I know that with the passion this world has for unity and sheer greatness, there is nothing that will stop the force of young minds combined with old. Creating a new understanding is what we’re striving for.

I urge you to be ready to vote in November if you reside in the United States. I urge you to encourage your peers to vote and be the voice. I urge you to learn more about the ways you can help, while not being at a protest. Continue to read and listen. Continue the desire to understand, for we will never learn the meaning of unity until that understanding is an all encompassing factor in our society.

I am grateful to see friends stand in solidarity. I will continue to stand in solidarity. And I will continue to fight until the oppressed are no longer the oppressed.

No justice. No peace.

https://blacklivesmatter.carrd.co/

https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#

https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#petitions

https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#text

https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#donate

https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#resources

[RELEASE DAY REVIEW] The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy | Forgotten Empires #2

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Good hello, friends!!

I have to say a VERY happy book birthday to The Fiery Crown by Jeffe Kennedy! If you follow me on Goodreads (which you totally should if you don’t already), you know that I have absolutely DEVOURED The Forgotten Empires series by Jeffe Kennedy! I have been SOO lucky to receive e-arcs from NetGalley for both the first and second novels, and I have to say, they are INCREDIBLY addicting.

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Meet Book OneThe Orchid Throne

A PRISONER OF FATE

As Queen of the island kingdom of Calanthe, Euthalia will do anything to keep her people free—and her secrets safe—from the mad tyrant who rules the mainland. Guided by a magic ring of her father’s, Lia plays the political game with the cronies the emperor sends to her island. In her heart, she knows that it’s up to her to save herself from her fate as the emperor’s bride. But in her dreams, she sees a man, one with the power to build a better world—a man whose spirit is as strong, and whose passion is as fierce as her own…

A PRINCE AMONG MEN

Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has built an army to overthrow the emperor. But he needs the fabled Abiding Ring to succeed. The ring that Euthalia holds so dear to her heart. When the two banished rulers meet face to face, neither can deny the flames of rebellion that flicker in their eyes—nor the fires of desire that draw them together. But in this broken world of shattered kingdoms, can they ever really trust each other? Can their fiery alliance defeat the shadows of evil that threaten to engulf their hearts and souls?

Mini Review:

I definitely think the writing and world building in book one improves immensely as you continue to get deeper and deeper into the story. I found myself slightly struggling in the beginning (as I do with most books) to really understand the world because it really has so much history and love put into it.

We’re introduced to Queen Euthalia (Lia – as dubbed by Conri), and the Slave King, Conrí. The magic and world building that goes on in understanding Calanthe, the empire that Euthalia rules is SO incredibly beautiful and there is so much veneration for the world that they have created and continue to protect. We’re really able to get to know both characters from the dual perspective that Jeffe writes so effectively. Although this is a very character driven novel, the last 30% or so picks up ENTIRELY and it really takes you for such a wild ride as we move forward into the conclusion of book one.

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Meet Book Two – The Fiery Crown

A queen and her rebel prince turn from enemies to lovers while evil forces plot to destroy them in this lush romantic fantasy.

Following The Orchid Throne, Conri and Lia’s marriage of convenience has turned into an uneasy alliance. If only the two leaders could agree on something. Driven by revenge, Conri wants to attack Emperor Anure before the tyrant gets to them first. But Lia needs to keep Calanthe safe, and refuses to sacrifice her kingdom. Their ongoing battle for control has built up tension they’re both more than happy to release in bed, the only place where they find common ground. But Conri and Lia are developing deeper feelings for each other that are complicating matters.

In the second book in the Forgotten Empires trilogy, Conri and Lia find their loyalties torn, and with Emperor Anure’s threat growing, will they be able to risk everything with each other before it’s too late?

Mini Review:

Considering it is the sequel to The Orchid Throne, I really enjoyed the beginning as a great transition from the end of book one into book two. I loved seeing Conri and Lia finally learn to like each other from the very beginning, but I had some issues with how they did things. Considering this is an adult book, I knew there was going to be some smut, but they really made it seem like sex was their only way of doing things or getting through any arguments. And to go off what Lia says in the book, Con really lets sex kind of take over his life for a hot second there. They do address this, and I think in addressing it, they make the openness of their relationship as friends and companions much deeper.

However, once we dove into the political intrigue and the war strategy, I found myself enjoying the novel on another level. Similar to book one, the last 30% is THE most exciting in the entire novel. I found myself unable to flip through the pages fast enough!! With my investment in these characters, I do think it made the ending a lot more powerful. However, again Con’s character continues to be the thing that bothers me in the sense that he’s often times too rash and isn’t the same calculative person we met in book one. I do appreciate all of the side characters and how important their role is in balancing out our main characters. I do think he has potential to be one of my favorite characters, but it’s almost as if he’s gone… soft.

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Overall, I’m so incredibly excited to have read this series as early as I was able to, and continue to really fall in love with Lia and Con’s relationship and this world! You can find The Orchid Throne on Kindle/Amazon and other retailers!

Happy Book Birthday to a growing favorite of mine, and I cannot wait to see how book three continues the story!

Until next time,

xo
Mel

April & Magical Readathon Wrap Up 2020

Good hello, friends!

Cheers to the second readathon I’ve participated in this year! The Magical Readathon is hosted by G over at BookRoast, and she has done such a phenomenal job this year! I think this was probably the most fun I’ve had in forever doing a readathon, and the first time I’ve actually completed EVERY book on my TBR!

I decided that I would go the path of the Quidditch Referee which means I had to complete the prompts for Defense Against the Dark Arts, History of Magic, Potions and Transfiguration. I also wanted to dabble in the new seminar’s G created, and I chose the Legal Defense of Fantastic Beasts seminar which meant I had to complete the prompts for Care of Magical Creatures and History of Magic.

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Along with that, I read a TON of books otherwise, so I’ll start first with the prompts for the Magical Readathon ~

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Defense Against the Dark Arts: Read a book set at the sea/coast

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
★★★☆ ☆ 3/5 stars
I did not enjoy this as much as I feel like the rest of the world did. I listened to this over audiobook, and even though it had some of the spooky effects, it really was not enough. I found that there was a lot of random screaming and it was just so overdone. I don’t think the atmosphere was great, and overall the story just didn’t hit as great as I thought it was going to. I was just waiting for it to be over the entire time.

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History of Magic: 
Read a book featuring witches or wizards

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
★★★☆ ☆ 3/5 stars
This was something I found myself enjoying the atmosphere of a lot more than I enjoyed that of Sawkill Girls, and having that change definitely influenced my enjoyment of it. Despite the better atmosphere, I didn’t really care for the present day characters. I really only sort of liked the three Swan sisters and finding out more about their lives and how it influences the current day plot. I think this had a ton of potentially, but just didn’t really do it for me. This was definitely unhauled.

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Potions: Read a book under 150 pages

Avatar the Last Airbender: The Rift Vol 1 (80 pages) by Gene Luen Yang, Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko and Illustrated by Gurihiru
★★★★☆ 4/5 stars

I really enjoyed diving back into the world of ATLA through the comics! And you’ll see later in the wrap up just how much I enjoyed them this month. I think this is where we really start seeing the gaps in ATLA and Legend of Korra come together with metal bending and it makes it all the more excited to continue reading the rest of the volumes!

43204703._SY475_Transfiguration: Read a book/series that includes some sort of shapeshifting

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Bridget Kemmerer
★★★★★ 5/5 stars!!

My first five star read in a while!! Oh my gosh did I really enjoy this! I do think the first 100 pages or so were a bit info-dumpy to help set up the novel, and you definitely have to let the story kind of take its own reigns. Once I was invested though, that was it – I was absolutely hooked and I couldn’t believe how Harper’s and Rhen’s characters evolve! I realized that Beauty and the Beast retellings are definitely where my happiness lands and I cannot wait to get to the sequel!

My prompts for the OWLs were fairly easy to complete considering there were only four, so to continue, the Legal Defense of Fantastic Beasts Seminar was just as fun!

44034107._SY475_Care of Magical Creatures: Read a book with a creature with a beak on the cover

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
★★★★☆ 4/5 stars

I described this as the ultimate How to Train Your Dragon meets Mulan, but with phoenixes. It was such a cool novel, but the sisters really threw it off for me. I couldn’t believe that family could be that dirty when it seemed otherwise. It just didn’t sit well with me, and Veronyka’s character really didn’t hit right. I almost want to drop it a star, but regardless, I did enjoy my reading experience (over audio), so I’m going to leave it as is. I did unhaul this though!

45177272History of Magic: A book featuring wizards or witches

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
★★☆☆☆ 2/5 stars

Oh my gosh.. when I tell you this was the biggest waste of time, I’m not exaggerating. I understand being inspired by Shadow and Bone and trying to make something similar to Mal, Alina and the Darkling, but these characters were trash. I didn’t like Nadya’s character at all (I couldn’t even remember what her name was before looking it up.. thats how much I couldn’t stand her). And this was just such a major let down considering I had no hopes coming in. Unhauled.

With the completion of my OWLs a week early, I was able to give myself tons of time to continue reading! I did have some school reading, and those were part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy!
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Lord of the Rings #2
The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
★★★★☆ 4/5 stars

Another pleasure to read in this world. I definitely think that this is where my view of this world changes, and I became a lot more invested in the world and our little hobbits friends. The character development in this in comparison to The Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring is immensely different, and I really enjoyed this book (and the movie) so much.

 

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The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
★★★★★ 5/5 stars!!

WOW! Literally such an epic conclusion to this world! I think book five in comparison to book six is the better half of it because we really do see the return of THE King. Return of the King is easily one of my favorites because we really see this culmination of every story interweave perfectly into this epic crescendo. And as Tolkien, I do love a happy ending for some of our favorite characters. I do continue to have a problem with how Tolkien write women into his novels – I wish they had a greater role in society/the fight against Mordor. That being said, Eowyn is a queen fiveever tysm.

Nearing the end of the month meant reading just about anything I wanted. But here were a few reads I had sprinkled in!

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Avatar the Last Airbender: The Rift
Volume 2 (★★★★☆ 4/5 stars)
Volume 3 (★★★★★ 5/5 stars)

I found that with The Rift, I really enjoyed it as that connecting bridge. Volume two fed my nostalgia like nothing else has and it made me so happy! Also, Toph needed to chill because although she has always had a powerful character, she kind of used it a bit much for my liking. And I think Aangs character development in this was also the best it’s been so far.

 

25233432Avatar the Last Airbender: Smoke and Shadow
Volume 1 (★★★★★ 5/5 stars)
Volume 2 (★★★★★ 5/5 stars)
Volume 3 (★★★★☆ 4/5 stars)

THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT IN ZUKO!! KING LEVEL!! I literally love Zuko, and this entire trio made my heart very happy for our fave fire lord. I think the foreshadowing was done really well, and the number one reason I docked the final volume one star was because I really found it wrap up a little too nicely for my liking. The conflict was really well built, so it was just a bit disappointing to see it end faster than it was created.

29075587Avatar the Last Airbender: North and South
Volume 1 (★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars)
Volume 2 (★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars)
Volume 3 (★★★★☆ 4/5 stars)

This entire series made me so many levels of uncomfortable for so many different reasons. Being that there’s this disparity between the northern and southern water tribes, it was SO hostile and it felt almost mindless half the time! I liked some of the older homages to Katara and Sokka meeting Aang for the first time so we could see what it was like in the show – that made my nostalgia for the show grow again. But I really didn’t love this set.

39005056Avatar the Last Airbender: Imbalance
Volume 1 (★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars)
Volume 2 (★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars)
Volume 3 (★★★★☆ 4/5 stars)

For this, I know a lot of people loved the “sketches before the animation” art style, but I wasn’t one of them. It actually kind of threw me off after having binged North and South. It all felt very political and repetitive because we revisited the Earthenfire factories. But volumes two and three really helped the gap between ATLA and TLK, so it made me more intrigued in rewatching TLK! I was really hoping we would see some blood bending though!!

And finally, some miscellaneous reads!

26114463Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
★★★★★ 5/5 stars!!

Oh my gosh. I really loved this so much. I initially had it borrowed from my library, but I gave in and bought a physical copy because it was phenomenal! Although the beginning was a little slower paced, which is what took me so long to really dive into it, it picked up so quick! I do think the annotations were a bit much sometimes, as in it slowed down my reading – but Jay’s voice shines perfectly through his narrator at times so it was fine. I genuinely started crying so much at the end of the novel because of how deeply attached I had gotten to the characters, but specifically to Mia. I haven’t had a book LITERALLY make my cry like that in lord knows how long, but it was AMAZING. New favorite of the year.

35403058._SY475_The Cassidy Blake Series #1
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
★★★★☆ 4/5 stars

City of Ghosts was such a fun time! It had just the right amount of spooks that I had been craving since the start of the month! I definitely find myself comparing this novel to Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology because it really continues to be one of my favorites. But this is definitely special in its own way. I think the travel aspect of it also gives it a greater element and really transforms the realistic world with the spirits that we’re meant to follow. And the audiobook is great and really quick to get through!

39352771._SY475_The Cassidy Blake Series #2
Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab
★★★★☆ 4/5 stars

Really similar to book one, but I do have to say that I enjoyed being in the French catacombs way more than I did being in Scotland. And Jacob continues to be my favorite ghosty companion since Casper the friendly ghost, but he still remains a little suspicious in my books. I can’t trust him fully, but I also think that is a very powerful way to write a character in. I think seeing Cassidy kind of grow up more, and develop a different relationship with her parents and with her companions she finds in Paris.

OKAY SO WOW? Out of 22 books in April, I read 10 novels, and 12 graphic novels, with 6 five-star reads, 9 four-star reads, 6 three-star reads, and 1 two-star read.

I have never been so successful in one month, and honestly it surprises me to no ends meet! I genuinely am so proud of myself, and I cannot wait to see what other books I end up finishing in May!

If you’d like to see reading vlogs for (almost) every book on this list, check out my YouTube channel here!

Until next time!

xo,
Mel

 

Things I Learned My First Year at a Four-Year – The Transfer Experience #5

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Good hello, friends!

Welcome to post number five of The Transfer Experience series! This is all about my experience from being at a community college, to now being at a small, four-year private university in Southern California. Now, if you’ve been following this series from the start, then you know just how crazy my junior year of college was. Being that this was a completely new experience, it makes this post all the more important.

All things considered, my semester was cut short because of COVID-19, but that doesn’t change the fact that this was an experience I’m so grateful to have.

Here are 12 things I learned while being at a four-year:

  1. Make friends early! I got so lucky with living in a smaller dorm because all of my roommates are some of my favorite people to be around. It gets so easy to knock on a neighbors door and ask them to go to dinner, or have a quick group to get together and have a movie night.
  2. Get involved! This seems like such basic advice, but let me tell you that it makes the experience so much more fun! Going from a community college and just going to class when I needed to and leaving, to having to live on campus and spend my entire day here, I needed to do that. From being an athlete, to being in a sorority, being kept busy made my own mental health so much better.
  3. Pay attention to your health! Odds are, your school has a health center that is part of your tuition – UTILIZE IT! It makes it so easy to take care of the smallest things like the flu-shot or birth control. Mommy and daddy won’t nurse you to health, but if your roommate is as great as mine, chicken tortilla soup is ready [s/o to the best roommate ever].
  4. Do take the maximum amount of units! If you come from a community college, then you’re definitely trying to get your degree as quickly and efficiently as possible. So as easy as it’s going to be want to just kick it because you’re really living on your own now, it’s still academics first with a little fun sprinkled in between.
  5. Sometimes, doing things alone is the best way to do them. I found that there was a point where I didn’t want to go to a certain event because I wouldn’t be with my friends, or I almost didn’t rush because there wasn’t anyone else I knew going. And although you’re supposed to learn to be independent, I found that I just really wanted to be around people – but I challenged myself, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
  6. Do be friends with your advisor! I cannot tell you how mad I am at myself for befriending my advisor an entire semester after I  had transferred. When I tell you I love my advisor, I really do love this man! We would have appointments for school work or advising, that would turn into a whole hour long conversation about everything but what I originally came in for.
  7. If there are some weird transfer/evaluations issues, fix them as soon as possible. Let me explain – being that there is a capacity to how many units can be transferred, a lot of my units for my major ended up looking like electives. Referring to #6, my advisors helped me so much when it came to making sure that I could register as a senior with all of my major requirements filled in. And now that it’s fixed, I can register as a senior no problems or questions asked!
  8. Use your campus resources! Oh my gosh, I cannot stress this one enough! I used my health center all the time, counseling services are phenomenal, and tutoring services are huge! I’m not going to lie, I have great grades – but having someone there to support your education is so impactful. Having someone to read over your essay before you submit it is huge!
  9. Learn how to make healthy eating choices from your dining commons. This!!! I know how easy it can be to go for pizza every day, or have more than one cookie in a sitting. Trust me. But learning to make the better choices for myself and my wellness was such a huge factor in my overall health and well-being. I found that having fruit for dessert over a brownie made such a difference in overall lifestyle and I’m so glad I carry that into my eating habits now.
  10. Organize your schedule accordingly and give yourself time to rest. I know going to a new school can be overwhelming, but I promise that having your schedule organized and time tabled helps so much. Between classes, schedule time to do homework. If you work like I did, make sure you don’t offer more time than you can give. And if you’re an athlete like me, give yourself time to nap. It’s going to make a world of a difference.
  11. Pay attention to how much money you spend. Now that I was on my own and could go out literally whenever my heart pleased, I had to be really careful about how much I was spending versus how much I was making. And turning 21 didn’t make it any easier on my bank account. So if you want to go out, be responsible and figure out how much you’re willing to spend, then save for the rest of the week.
  12. AND FINALLY – have fun, and say yes more often. Sometimes, I would stress myself out so much over school that I really couldn’t enjoy myself. I would get really into my head and I was able to have my friends pull me out of that funk and get me to let loose for a bit, and I cannot emphasize how important that was for me. If it meant watching a movie in our lounge instead of staying in my room, or just going on that random Target trip, it’s what I would need in that exact moment. Don’t ever forget that.

I’ve learned a few things the hard way this past year, so my hope is that we’re able to continue to thrive regardless of whatever situation we’re thrown in. My semester is four weeks away from being over, and I cannot believe as to just how much has happened since.

Until then!

xo,
Mel

[REVIEW] Below by Alexandria Warwick

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Below (North #1)
by Alexandria Warwick
Published by Wolf Publishing
Released on February 4, 2020
Young Adult – Fantasy – Mythology

GOODREADS | PURCHASE HERE

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From the author of The Demon Race comes a YA dark fantasy series inspired by Inuit mythology.

In the heart of the frigid North, there lives a demon known as the Face Stealer. Eyes, nose, mouth—nothing and no one is safe. Once he returns to his lair, or wherever it is he dwells, no one ever sees those faces again.

When tragedy strikes, Apaay embarks on a perilous journey to find her sister’s face—yet becomes trapped in a labyrinth ruled by a sinister girl named Yuki. The girl offers Apaay a deal: find her sister’s face hidden within the labyrinth, and she will be set free. But the labyrinth, and those who inhabit it, is not as it seems. Especially Numiak: darkly beautiful, powerful, whose motives are not yet clear.

With time slipping, Apaay is determined to escape the deadly labyrinth with her sister’s face in hand. But in Yuki’s harsh world, Apaay will need all her strength to survive.

Yuki only plays the games she wins.

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Alexandria Warwick is the #1 fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She is the author of The Demon Race and the North series.
@alexandriawarwick

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★★★★☆
3.5/5-4/5 stars

Just like the author of this novel, I am such a huge fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and this book gives mad water tribe vibes! Being Analak is such a prideful thing that Apaay, her family, and community ascribe to so heavily. With their own set of values and traditions, Warwick does a phenomenal job of emphasizing the importance of keeping true to the Analak way. With the story really beginning with her sister’s face being stolen by the demon Face Stealer, we’re really thrown in for a ride.

Warwick’s voice really comes through in Apaay and it made me definitely laugh with how sassy and straight forward she can be, but her character also absolutely infuriated me. Yes, she’s human, and she’ll have moments of weakness, but I really wanted to see her angry and in p o w e r. I found that she had a lot of talk, but not a lot of do sometimes. She held her word and is completely willing to do everything and anything she can for her family, but she’s also so stubborn.

The pacing of this story was also a bit odd at times. Mirrors and other illusionary features are used often, and although they’re transportation, they were a bit too convenient. Similar to Caraval in the sense that certain things just didn’t always add up, and we have to suspend our disbelief, I found myself really struggling to believe some of the fantastical elements. They just didn’t feel very well integrated, and almost threw the setting transitions in way too quickly for my personal enjoyment. I think there was a lot of back and forth, and not in the best way – but this did get better later on.

Aside from that, relationships between the characters, I think are one of the strongest points of this book. The developing relationship we see between Apaay, Ila, The Face Stealer and Yuki are so GOOD! The vulnerability and growth seen throughout the book is such a powerful feature in building trust between them, while still being really apprehensive of the world surrounding them.

This book really feels like The Grishaverse meets Percy Jackson meets Caraval with the overarching Avatar vibes – which I know, sounds crazy, but it works! Overall, I really do think this is a fun start to a new series, and I’m really interested in seeing the relationship between Apaay and the Face Stealer continue while she continues to fight her own demons. I’m really excited for this world to continue and I hope you are too!

Pick up your copy today!!

[BLOG TOUR] Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

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Tweet Cute
by Emma Lord
Published by Wednesday Books
Releasing on January 21, 2020
Young Adult – Contemporary – Romance

GOODREADS | PURCHASE HERE

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Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.

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Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. Tweet Cute is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.

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★★★★☆
4/5 – 4.5/5 stars

Reading Tweet Cute was like being thrown back into high school and the melodrama of being a teenager. Everything sucks, is more dramatic than it actually is, and young love continues to live. But with a much more modern twist. Social media is something that definitely tends to take over life, and although that does reign true in Emma’s novel, it’s done with a new twist.

Meeting Pepper and Jack – which was a ship name from the get-go, don’t lie to me there (like Pepper Jack cheese… a grilled cheese… come on) – was such an experience of its own. These two are such bold characters in their own ways, and are very unapologetically themselves the entire novel. With the anonymous app the school uses to chat, we see the different perspectives and how being able to kind of hide behind a screen gives them that little confidence boost.

But seeing them banter and have these little crushes on each other is what makes the novel all the sweeter. Seeing them go from Twitter enemies, to frenemies, to friends, to little high school sweethearts who bond over desserts and family recipes really warms my heart. In my notes, I literally wrote “I’m so soft no one touch meeeeeeee” at how precious they are.

I think something that was funny that made my reading experience kind of fun was the fact that I myself am a water polo player, swimmer, and coach. So to see the sports represented was great – but having swimmers play polo.. eEk. And her coaches name is Martin, and my high school coaches name was Martin. Just such an odd little coincidence to have happened.

I think the aspect of this novel that makes me not give it a 5-star rating is the fact that it does get so melodramatic. In high school, yes, everything feels like the end of the world. But reading this as a college student, these kids have no clue how easy they have it and that a Twitter war, and one bad picture, and boys and girls and relationships… it won’t end their entire social life, ya know? I was definitely rolling my eyes at all of that, but nonetheless, I loved this novel.

Overall, if you’re into the angsty teenage romance with a twist, definitely pick up TWEET CUTE out today! JANUARY 21ST! 

Smutathon 2020 Wrap-Up!

Smutathon Wrap-Up

Good hello, everyone!

Happy New Year, and happy first readathon of the year! Or, at least the first I’ve participated in. For this round of the Smutathon, which is hosted by Riley Marie and GingerReadsLainey on YouTube, the theme was kind of Gatsby-esque with a Bingo board that has 9 prompts.

I decided that I was going to be *ambitious*… which like when aren’t we when it comes to a readathon. Here was my TBR:

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Enemies to Lovers: The Wicked King by Holly Black (Folk of the Air #2)
2019 Release: The Wicked King by Holly Black (Folk of the Air #2)
LGBTQ+: Lovers Like Us by Krista & Becca Richie (Like Us #2)
New to You Author: Class Moms by Laurie Gelman
Forbidden Romance: Cheater by Rachel van Dyken (Curious Liaisons #1)
Workplace Romance: Cheater by Rachel van Dyken (Curious Liaisons #1)
Recommended to You: Vicious by L.J. Shen (Sinners of Saint #1)
Fake Dating/Marriage: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang (The Kiss Quotient #2)
Out of Comfort Zone: The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger

In terms of what I actually managed to read and enjoy, as readathons go, things change, books change, moods change, life happens, ya know? Here’s what I got to enjoy this round of the Smutathon, with hopes to do better next time!

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Forbidden Romance & Workplace Romance: Cheater by Rachel van Dyken
★★★★☆ 4/5 stars

This was such an interesting read! We follow two characters, Lucas Thorn and Avery Black, who were once about to be siblings-in-law, who then became enemies with the fact that Lucas cheated the night before his wedding… and now she works for him. Now when we first meet Lucas and Avery, I could not imagine them being together, but the sheer tension between the two of them KILLED ME. They just had so much going on for them with Lucas’ “scheduling,” her learning the truth of what life is like since the almost wedding, and how they eventually learned to be around each other in a new way. This was definitely a happy surprise!

Fake Dating/Marriage: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
★★★★☆ 4.0-4.5/5 stars

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OH MAN. Get me messed up! This was such a great sequel to Helen Hoang’s first novel, The Kiss Quotient! Khai and Esme are such an unlikely couple, but as they cohabitate, they learn to really appreciate each others company in ways they wouldn’t have expected. Between all of the crazy home improvements Esme is up to, Khai understanding how he processes emotions, and all of the fun smut, this definitely was a ton of fun for me to read this smutathon. Although I do still stand by the judgement that The Kiss Quotient is my favorite of the two!

Misc: Cheaters Regret by Rachel Van Dyken (#2)
★★★★☆ 4/5 stars

download-1.jpg Cheater’s Regret is book two in the Curious Liaisons series by Rachel van Dyken and after listening to the first one, I had to listen to the second! This was just such a fun continuing novel, but I have to say a bit more dramatic than the first in terms of our characters. This follows Austin and Thatch, Avery and Lucas’ best friends. We see the start of their story in book one, and it continues here in a way that I was not expecting. I definitely liked the internal conflict in this a bit more as it seemed a little more realistic than Lucas’ “schedule,” but I digress. Both book one and two are so funny, are definitely just as smutty, and are definitely quick reads if you’re ever interested in them!

Overall, this smutathon I listened to 3 books on audio for a total of 24 hours of reading! I didn’t do as great as I thought I could’ve, but 3 books over the course of 7 days is definitely a win for me as I’m already ahead of my Goodreads goal! Although I didn’t read all of the books on this list, I am on a romance binge right now, so they definitely will get read! I can’t wait for Off the Grid-athon this weekend to get some more books read!

Until then ~

xo,
Mel