Quotes from Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

I just finished reading Blood Water Paint and I’m still ruminating on this novel.

If you aren’t familiar with it – as I wasn’t before I came across it on Book Outlet – this is a feminist YA historical fiction novel based on the true story of the young female artist Artemisia Gentileschi in the late 1500 – early 1600s.

Trigger warnings for abuse, rape, beheadings, and lots of blood.

I’ve decided to share some of my favorite quotes from this novel. I could easily just copy and paste the entire thing because I adored it so much, however, I’ll just choose my favorites:

In a moment of madness
(or clarity)
my ambition
burns a hole in the ceiling,
allows the light
a direct path to
my canvas.

I wish men
would decide
if women were heavenly
angels on high,
or earthbound sculptures
for their gardens.

But either way we’re beauty
for consumption.

Beauty is a heavy crown.
So is womanhood.

Watch your passion.
It’s dangerous

What can he tell a woman about danger?

Brush in hand.
I do not move.

I used to know
what it was for
but now I can’t
connect to this thing
to any purpose.

His voice
His breath
His breadth
are always in my thoughts
but why
is he here
in the flesh?
He should be covered in my blood.

(Imagine a man who stands
up for a woman’s trugh.)

If Judith had a sword
to weild at this moment
I’d never get the blood
off my walls.

But that’s the thing about perspective
The slightest shift
transforms the subject

I’ve choked on truth
for so many weeks
and now it’s finally out
I’m outraged
Father didn’t know.

I won’t let him
avert his eyes
any longer.

My story does not waiver.
I paint the blood
they do not want to see.
If I must bear the wounds
then they can stand to look
upon them for a moment.
They’ll have the luxury
of forgetting.

Those women who dare
to judge
your heart
by your body
will never have
an ounce of your worth.

Women who speak truth.
And listen to me, love.
When a woman risks
her place, her very life to speak
a truth the world despises?
Believe her. Always.

“Those two lechers will be stoned because of what you did!”
“They’ll be stoned because of what THEY did.”
(This is so important, love. They’ll be stoned because of what THEY did.)
But Susanna knows she will spend the rest of her live reliving this, explaining this.

Being in the right is not always the solace you might expect.

There will come a day,
when this horror is not the
only color on the palette.

I do not know painting.
I do know something of pain.

I will show you
what a woman can do.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon {Review by Kayla}

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon

Synopsis:
My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

GOODREADS

 

Review

OMG! Yes, it is amazing, that’s all you need to know.

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Stargirl (Stargirl #1) by Jerry Spinelli

3-stars
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Title: Stargirl
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Series: Stargirl #1
Format: Hard Copy purchased from the Library Book Sale

Synopsis:
A celebration of nonconformity; a tense, emotional tale about the fleeting, cruel nature of popularity–and the thrill and inspiration of first love. Ages 12+

Leo Borlock follows the unspoken rule at Mica Area High School: don’t stand out–under any circumstances! Then Stargirl arrives at Mica High and everything changes–for Leo and for the entire school. After 15 years of home schooling, Stargirl bursts into tenth grade in an explosion of color and a clatter of ukulele music, enchanting the Mica student body.

But the delicate scales of popularity suddenly shift, and Stargirl is shunned for everything that makes her different. Somewhere in the midst of Stargirl’s arrival and rise and fall, normal Leo Borlock has tumbled into love with her.

In a celebration of nonconformity, Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the fleeting, cruel nature of popularity–and the thrill and inspiration of first love.

GOODREADS

Review

I can see why a lot of people love this book.

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To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo {Review by Kayla}

Review by Kayla, In Love & Words Teen Reader

5-stars
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Title: To Kill a Kingdom
Author: Alexandra Christo

Synopsis:
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

GOODREADS

 

Review

To kill a kingdom? More like to kill a Kayla!

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Mystery Blogger Award

Hello fellow book lovers!

I haven’t done a tag in a while, so I was excited when I saw that Meghan over at Meghan’s Whimsical Exporations & Reviews tagged me in one! (If you aren’t already following her, make sure you do!)

THE RULES:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog. 
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well (This tag was created by Okoto @OkotoEnigmasBlog.)
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Anyway, let’s get to Meghan’s questions!

Mystery Blogger Award

  1. On the spot: favourite book from your favourite genre?
    Omgggg – picking favorite books is always the hardest thing for a bookworm. However, it’s a little easier to narrow down by having it be in your favorite genre. Obviously, my favorite genre is Romance, I’m going to narrow that down to Contemporary Adult Romance. In that category, I think I have to go with The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (followed closely by Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover.)
  2. Favourite book of 2019?
    I’m planning on doing a whole post about my favorite reads of 2019, but holy crap, I haven’t even began to go through all the books I read, yet! I’m not looking forward to having to narrow down that list, I can’t even imagine picking just one! Off the cuff, off the top of my head, I think I’m going to go with Finale by Stephanie Garber. It was by far the best ending to a series I’ve ever read.
  3. Can an author’s reputation affect your thinking about their books? (I like this question so I’m going use it)
    Absolutely. Cancel culture can be very touchy, but some things are unforgivable.
  4. Any end of the year goals you’re striving for?
    Well, book-wise, I definitely am on a mission to reach my 200-book Goodreads goal by reading as many books I already own as possible.
  5. Have you started thinking about your 2020 goals (if you make them)?
    I’ve briefly started thinking about it, but not in-depth enough to make a list just yet! It’s, honestly, a little overwhelming to think about!

Continue reading “Mystery Blogger Award”

Promise Me Forever by Debbie Macomber

3-stars
Overall Rating: # Stars
Title: Promise Me Forever
Author: Debbie Macomber
Format: Audiobook purchased from Audible

Synopsis:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Debbie Macomber’s beautiful story of hope, healing, and the magic of the human heart is available for the first time as an eBook.

Physical therapist Joy Neilsen doesn’t take no for an answer when it comes to her patients. She’s tough yet compassionate, doing whatever it takes to get them back on their feet . . . and she’s met her match in Sloan Whittaker. Bitter, angry, resentful, Sloan is ready to give up. But Joy doesn’t let anybody quit, especially not a man as talented as this brilliant tycoon—a man who, somewhere along the way, has won her heart.

After weeks trying to push Joy away, Sloan realizes he’s a fool. She’s determined to piece him back together, and now he knows why: Deep down, she’s as broken as he is. Joy is prepared to give him everything, and now Sloan wants to give her something in return. He can be the one to show Joy that she’s perfect inside and out—if she’s willing to let go of her own painful memories and make happy ones with him.

BONUS: This edition includes excerpts from Debbie Macomber’s Last One Home and The Inn at Rose Harbor.

GOODREADS

Review

I loved the first half of this book.

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End of the Year Reading List

I upped my reading list this year by 50 books.

I have no idea what I was thinking, honestly.

Actually, I do. I got a little overzealous after upping my goal last year by 50 books and reading 10 more books than I’d challenged myself to.

200 books. That’s how many I thought I could read this year. And, surprisingly, I’m actually pretty much on schedule to reach that goal.

Below are the books I’m likely going to reach for to finish up my goal. Many of them are the shortest books that are currently on my bookshelf, the shortest audiobooks that are in my Audible Library already, and a few highly anticipated books I picked up recently on Kindle.

Bloom by Kevin Panetta, Savanna Ganicheau

Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band―if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.

Writer Kevin Panetta and artist Savanna Ganucheau concoct a delicious recipe of intricately illustrated baking scenes and blushing young love, in which the choices we make can have terrible consequences, but the people who love us can help us grow.

Goodreads

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

A debut novel based on the true story of the iconic painter, Artemisia Gentileschi.

Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint.

She chose paint.

By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

He will not consume
my every thought.
I am a painter.
I will paint.

I will show you
what a woman can do.

Goodreads

Owned by M. Never

***Content Warning***
Owned is a dark erotic romance. Please pay close attention to the use of the words dark, erotic, and romance. It has intense sexual situations, a Master/slave relationship, mild abuse, and some violence. Reader discretion is advised.

“I like you collared, baby. I like you naked, I like you mine.”

Ellie Stevens has lusted over Kayne Roberts since he first walked into the import/export company she works for a little over a year ago. As Expo’s most important client, Ellie has always kept a safe distance from the man with the majestic blue eyes — until temptation finally gets the better of her. Impulsively, Ellie invites Kayne to one of Expo’s infamous company parties her flamboyant boss is notorious for throwing. Unbeknownst to Ellie, the god in the Armani suit isn’t just the suave entrepreneur he portrays himself to be. Underneath the professional exterior is a man with a secret life, dark desires, and nefarious contacts.

In a hidden corner of a trendy New York City lounge, the spark kindling between the two of them ignites. Unable to resist the sinful attraction, Ellie agrees to leave with Kayne, believing she is finally bedding the man of her dreams. Little does she know when she walks out the door, she’s about to be Owned.

Goodreads

Cirque de Minuet (Cirque Masters #1) by Annabel Joseph

It’s no easy feat transitioning from the disciplined arena of competitive gymnastics to the artistic whirl of the Cirque du Monde. Kelsey Martin finds secret inspiration in Theo Zamora, a dark, taciturn trapezist–until his partner dies in a tragic accident and he decides to leave the circus for good.

Theo doesn’t understand why Kelsey reaches out to him, only that she compels him with her unique combination of innocence and recklessness. Before long the two are collaborating on an aerial silks act for a new production, the Cirque de Minuit. Theo’s impatience with Kelsey’s naivete is matched only by his passion for her, and the two soon become embroiled in a tempestuous, consuming romance.

But some still blame Theo for his partner’s accident, and danger wraps up the two performers as inevitably as the scarlet silk of their act. Theo and Kelsey must find a way to connect and trust one another as he leads her deeper and deeper into a dangerous world of control and desire.

Goodreads

Rise of the Sea Witch (Unfortunate Soul Chronicles #1) by Stacey Rourke

Details of the sea witch’s banishment have been exaggerated. The body count that preempted it was not. Once an illustrious princess, her hands and tentacles were stained with the blood of thousands. No one could comprehend how the hooks of madness dragged her down from her life of privilege. Born Princess Vanessa of Atlantica, the ambitious young royal was one of two children born to the great King Poseidon. She and her brother, Triton, were groomed from birth to rule. Yet only one would ascend that coveted throne. While carefree Triton flits through his training with a cavalier demeanor and beguiling charm, Vanessa’s hunger for her father’s acceptance drives her to push herself to the limits of magic, and combat to become a leader worthy of her people. When war against the humans ravages their once regal kingdom, political sides are chosen. Factions from the seven seas challenge the existing leadership, pitting Vanessa against her brother in a vicious battle for the crown. Traitors are exposed, dark family secrets revealed, and a once strong sibling bond is strained to its breaking point. Only when the ink black waters from the ultimate betrayal rescind, will the truth be known of how the villainous sea witch rose with one name on her vengeful lips–Triton.

Goodreads

Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

A double life with a single purpose: revenge.

Jane’s days at a Midwest insurance company are perfectly ordinary. She blends in well, unremarkably pretty in her floral-print dresses and extra efficient at her low-level job. She’s just the kind of woman middle manager Steven Hepsworth likes—meek, insecure, and willing to defer to a man. No one has any idea who Jane really is. Least of all Steven.

But plain Jane is hiding something. And Steven’s bringing out the worst in her.

Nothing can distract Jane from going straight for his heart: allowing herself to be seduced into Steven’s bed, to insinuate herself into his career and his family, and to expose all his dirty secrets. It’s time for Jane to dig out everything that matters to Steven. So she can take it all away.

Just as he did to her.

Goodreads

The Virgin Gift (The Gift #2) by Lauren Blakely

I might be a virgin, but I know what I want in bed. It’s just that I haven’t found him yet.

So I’m stunned when charming, laid-back Adam volunteers to work through my wish list. That’s when I discover the voracious, commanding man in him, my next door neighbor. And I’m enthralled — in and out of the bedroom.

Every night we explore my fantasies, and every morning I try harder not to want more from him. Because there’s no item on my list about falling for the guy. Besides, we agreed to the last item already — when we’re done we walk away.

But every fantasy unlocks another. Each hotter than the last. Until I discover there’s one last thing on my to-do list to check off. One so daring I can’t figure out how to ask him or what it might do to my heart…

The Virgin Gift is a red hot and sexy exploration love story exploring all sorts of fantasies.

Goodreads

Love and Other Wild Things (Mystic Bayou #2) by Molly Harper

Available in audio first, this hot, hilarious stand-alone will keep you wildly entertained!

Welcome to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where shape-shifters, vampires, witches, and dragons live alongside humans. The town formed around the mysterious energy rift in the bayou, which helps keep the town’s magic in balance. But lately the rift has been widening and destabilizing – threatening to send the town’s magical population into chaos.

Energy witch Danica Teel has been sent by the League to figure out what’s going on, with the help of bear-shifter Mayor Zed. While working on the case, Zed falls head over paws for Dani, but she’s reluctant to engage in anything beyond a roll in his cave. Dani’s family is counting on her to get the job done, and she has no time for distractions. But when an ominous presence begins stalking Dani through the bayou, they’ll need to band together to make it out alive.

Goodreads

Sadie by Courtney Summers

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

Goodreads

Man Hands (Man Hands #1) by Tanya Eby and Sarina Bowen

He puts the “screw” in screwball comedy…

BRYNN

At thirty-four, I’m reeling from a divorce. I don’t want to party or try to move on. I just want to stay home and post a new recipe on my blog: Brynn’s Dips and Balls.

But my friends aren’t having it. Get out there again, they say. It will be fun, they say. I’m still taking a hard pass.

Free designer cocktails, they say. And that’s a game-changer.

Too bad my ex shows up with his new arm candy. That’s when I lose my mind. But when my besties dare me to leap on the first single man I see, they don’t expect me to actually go through with it.

TOM

All I need right now is some peace and quiet while my home renovation TV show is on hiatus. But when a curvy woman in a red wrap dress charges me like she’s a gymnast about to mount my high bar, all I can do is brace myself and catch her. What follows is the hottest experience of my adult life.

I want a repeat, but my flying Cinderella disappears immediately afterward. She doesn’t leave a glass slipper, either—just a pair of panties with chocolate bunnies printed on them.

But I will find her.

Goodreads

Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert

Enjoy another Dirty British Romance by Talia Hibbert, author of Bad for the Boss. Christmas just got sexy…

“There’s a beast inside of me. I keep it caged. You drive it wild.”

Cash Evans has come a long way since his troubled childhood, but all the wealth he’s earned as a tattoo artist can’t fix the hole in his heart. He knows that the sweet barista who haunts his dreams is off-limits… But life doesn’t always go to plan.

”There isn’t a man on earth who could ruin me.”

Bailey Cooper is determined to learn from her mother’s mistakes. She’s seen how cruel love can be, and she’s not about to sacrifice her self-respect for a relationship. But when a bad boy with a heart of gold comes to her rescue, she finds herself wondering if this beast might just be her Prince Charming.

Will these two lost souls find a happy ending under the tree this Christmas?

Or is their love doomed to wither with the mistletoe?

Merry Inkmas is a steamy Christmas romance starring a brooding, bad boy hero and a Black, BBW heroine. Be warned: this love is hot enough to melt any winter frost!

Goodreads

Get a Life Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1) by Talia Hibbert

Talia Hibbert, one of contemporary romance’s brightest new stars, delivers a witty, hilarious romantic comedy about a woman who’s tired of being “boring” and recruits her mysterious, sexy neighbor to help her experience new things—perfect for fans of Sally Thorne, Jasmine Guillory, and Helen Hoang.

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Goodreads

The Bromance Book Club (Bromance Book Club #1) by Lyssa Kay Adams

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

Goodreads

Christmas in the City by L.J. Shen, Helena Hunting, Corinne Michaels, Melanie Harlow, Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward, Sierra Simone, Kennedy Ryan, Penny Reid, L.H. Cosway, Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy

Twelve bestselling authors have come together to brighten your holiday with six ALL NEW co-written novels. Travel through six cities and fall in love with these enchanting love stories.

L.J. Shen & Helena Hunting
Just The Tip
It’s not every day you meet a stranger who knows how to jingle your bells…

Corinne Michaels & Melanie Harlow
Baby it’s Cold Outside
My Christmas list did not include a broken heart, freezing temperatures, or my tree stuck in the door to my apartment building, but that’s what I got. Just when I thought Santa had failed me, I got something I never thought to ask for …

Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Kissmas in New York
It was just supposed to be a simple kiss with a stranger. I’d done it to prove a point–that I hadn’t lost my sense of adventure. But you know what they say about the best laid plans. Maybe I’d get something in my stocking after all this holiday season…

Sierra Simone & Kennedy Ryan
The Christmas Crown
Noelani, queen of Manaroa, has one mission on her diplomatic visit to the States: forge strategic alliances for her homeland. When she meets brooding security specialist Brock Grimsby, their unexpected alliance heats up the holiday. One night. No promises, but come Christmas, will either be able to walk away?

Penny Reid & LH Cosway
Songbird
Two lonely souls find companionship in Dublin for one magical night. Broderick Adams doesn’t mind his solitude, until she walks in. Ophelia Kelly sings to heal her heart, but has no idea he’s listening.

Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
EPIC
Jamie and Wes are having a blast living and working in Toronto. Until a scout for another team swoops in to make one of them an offer that might complicate the life they’ve built together.

CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY is a holiday gift as a thank you! It is available for a LIMITED TIME!

Goodreads

Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #1) by Tessa Bailey

A brand new romantic comedy from New York Times bestseller Tessa Bailey!

Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)

Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)

Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)

Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her…

Goodreads

The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Listening Length: 5 hours and 18 minutes

A captivating romantic comedy with a thrilling sci-fi twist by award-winning author Alyssa Cole!

Trinity Jordan leads a quiet, normal life: working from home for the Hive, a multifunctional government research center, and recovering from the incident that sent her into a tailspin. But the life she’s trying to rebuild is plagued by mishaps when Li Wei, her neighbor’s super sexy and super strange nephew, moves in and turns things upside down. Li Wei’s behavior is downright odd—and the attraction building between them is even more so. When an emergency pulls his aunt away from the apartment complex, Trinity decides to keep an eye on him…and slowly discovers that nothing is what it seems. For one thing, Li Wei isn’t just the hot guy next door—he’s the hot A.I. next door. In fact, he’s so advanced that he blurs the line between man and machine. It’s up to Trinity to help him achieve his objective of learning to be human, but danger is mounting as they figure out whether he’s capable of the most illogical human behavior of all…falling in love.

Goodreads

Favorite Enemies to Lovers Romance Novels

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I’ve not found an enemies to lovers romance that I love more than The Hating Game. Hands down. I loved the unique writing style and, of course, the banter. I think the main reason I gravitate toward this trope is because of the hilarious back-and-forth between the characters. I loved it so much, in fact, that I created an entire blog post of my favorite quotes from this book.

Goodreads
Review

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

If anyone can write hilarious banter, it’s Mariana Zapata. And she nails it in this one. I think the most unique thing about this book that attracted me to it was the fact that it was a sports romance with ice skaters. Along with the fantastic hate-to-love trope, I really adored how hard Jasmine works. There are also a lot of parallels between this book and The Hating Game, so if you loved The Hating Game, you should definitely pick up this one.

Goodreads
Review

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

This was the first Mariana Zapata book I ever read, and it may still be my favorite. This isn’t exactly a traditional enemies to lovers. These two begin in an employer/employee relationship and end up having a fall out. I think my favorite thing about this novel is Aiden. I love his fierce dedication to his passion. I like that he is quiet and severe without necessarily being broody.

Goodreads
Review

Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Again this one doesn’t begin with the couple starting out as enemies, but very quickly into the story they do not get along. It’s actually an interesting premise since the main character has actually idolized the hero in this book growing up. He is a retired professional soccer player and she is a current soccer player. He gets recruited as her assistant coach and things go down from there. Again, I love how badass Sal is and I so appreciate how this book addresses the significant lifestyles and pay difference between women in sports and men.

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Review

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

This is my most recent enemies-to-lovers read and I was so pleasantly surprised by it. I really like Christina Lauren and will read almost anything they write, but it’s only once in a while that they hit it out of the park for me. This book had me laughing out loud with the banter and one-liners. It was such a fun reading experience.

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Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This book has been extremely popular this year and not just because it’s such a sweet enemies-to-lovers romance. I think everyone appreciates the political escapism this book provides… and the humor is on point. The writing style took a little while for me to get into, but once I did, I really loved this book. This was my vote for the Goodreads Choice Romance category!

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Captain (Morgan Brothers #2) by Lauren Rowe

This book actually begins with an instalove, but don’t run away just yet. No one pulls off instalove better than Lauren Rowe. She has the ability to created palpable chemistry between two characters. These characters soon have a falling out and the tension is high. If you’ve never read a Lauren Rowe book, I highly recommend her!

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Review

Amour, Amour (Aerial Ethereal #1) by Krista and Becca Ricci

This book took me completely by surprise. I loved the setting of a cirque de soleil type troop. The super-talented, somewhat arrogant hero who seems unbreakable is always fun to read about – particularly when you throw in a character who is absolutely going to break through the prickly exterior.

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Review

Well Met (Well Met #1) by Jen DeLuca

I think my favorite part of this book had to be the fact that it takes place during a renaissance fair. In this book you have the hero who takes his job very seriously and the heroine who would just assume not be involved at all. It creates a very tension-filled dynamic with lots of potential.

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Mini-Reviews: City of Bones, Etiquette & Espionage, The Enchanted Sonata, & The Beast’s Heart

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare
★★★
When I first read this book many, many moons ago, I gave it 1 star. I absolutely hated the ending and it ruined the entire book for me to the point where I refused to read on. In an attempt to see if re-reading it now would change my mind (and also because this is such a popular series, I’m wondering if later books are better) I gave it another shot. And I didn’t hate it nearly as much, but I also didn’t like it enough to keep reading the series. Maybe one day, but also… probably not.

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger
★★★★
This was such a cute story. It’s not really something I gravitate toward, typically, and I’m not sure that I’ll pick up the rest of the series, but I did enjoy reading it quite a bit. This is actually something that I may read to my girls once we finish the Caraval series because I think they may enjoy it as I did.

The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork
★★★★★
First, I love the name of this book. It’s absolutely beautiful and I would’ve read it no matter what simply because of the name. The story itself was a really interesting retelling of The Nutcracker. I actually read this book this time last year (this is a fantastic Christmas read if you’re looking for one) and I went and saw The Nutcracker ballet soon after reading it and it definitely enhanced the experience.

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross
★★★★
I wanted more from this book than I got, however, I didn’t not like it. I’ve been wanting a Beauty and the Beast re-telling with much more of The Beast’s voice in it, and this is entirely from his perspective. I didn’t fully feel like the Beast was portrayed as I’d hoped he would – he was a little whiny and less broody than I was expecting, but I still enjoyed this book (and the covers are gorgeous). I did, however, read A Curse So Dark and Lonely which fulfilled all my Beast expectations and then some soon after reading this one.