Review | Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by debut author Joya Goffney is the story of an overly enthusiastic list maker who is blackmailed into completing a to-do list of all her worst fears. It’s a heartfelt, tortured, contemporary YA high school romance with epistolary elements. Fans of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Kristina Forest’s debut I Wanna Be Where You Are will love the juicy secrets, leap-off-the-page sexual tension and the enemy-to-lover romantic arc.

Quinn keeps lists of everything—from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud,” to all the boys she’d like to kiss. Her lists keep her sane. By writing her fears on paper, she never has to face them in real life. That is, until her journal goes missing…

An anonymous account posts one of her lists on Instagram for the whole school to see and blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears, or else her entire journal will go public. Quinn doesn’t know who to trust. Desperate, she teams up with Carter Bennett—the last known person to have her journal—in a race against time to track down the blackmailer.

Together, they journey through everything Quinn’s been too afraid to face, and along the way, Quinn finds the courage to be honest, to live in the moment, and to fall in love. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As someone who to this day carries notebooks around with them (and would be in a panic if I lost any of them) the premise of this one really intrigued me from the start. Quinn’s notebook comes across more as a journal, so that would make losing it all the worse. It’s apparent pretty quickly that Quinn has lots of areas where she could grow, her notebook contains a lot of things she’s scared about, dreams about and more and without it she has to learn how to gain courage and sometimes take chances to face her fears.

There are definite themes of racism, blackmailing, general high school pressures (including those from parents) and more. With everything that was packed into this book I almost felt like the romance wasn’t needed since there was so much more to unpack, but it was still a nice addition. All in all I really enjoyed this debut and would look forward to reading more from Joya Goffney in the future. The writing style flowed really well and made it a fast paced read for me.

Happy reading!

Wrap Up | April 2021

Hey everyone! It’s that time again and I have no idea what happened to April. It ended up being a far different month than I anticipated. I’m enjoying just a few bullet points for my wrap ups, so if you want to see all the books I read and my ratings on books that I read that I don’t necessarily cover on the blog – you are more than welcome to add me as a friend or follow me over on Goodreads. There are some books that I don’t always write up full reviews for, but I always rate them over there.

  • I only finished two of last month’s TBR books, but I’m ok with it. I did really enjoy them, so that’s what really matters.
  • I did not read any Nancy Drew books in April.
  • I did not make any progress on series that were ongoing, but started some new ones.
  • April was very much the month of graphic novels, so I read a ton of them!

I’m not sure what my favorite book of the month would be, I had lots of books that I really enjoyed. Even though it wasn’t my typical month, I did still complete 23 books, so I can’t complain.

How did everyone else’s April go?

Happy reading!

May TBR and Reading Plans

Hey everyone! It’s time to see what the cards picked for me this month. I only read two of my picks from last month sadly (April was a far different month than I thought it would be) but as always I’m carrying over what I didn’t read. I have a stack of the books still waiting from these picks, so I’m going to get to them.

  • Jack of Diamonds – under 300 pages
  • Four of Clubs – Mystery
  • Six of Hearts – Random Kindle
  • Two of Hearts – Fantasy
  • King – Stack of Five
  • Nine of Hearts – YA

For under 300 pages I selected a book I picked up non long ago but something that I was very excited for, Ghosthunting Oregon. I’m a sucker for history/ghost stories and this was an impulse buy in my local Barnes and Noble.

For Mystery I selected The Lost Apothecary, as I’m also really trying to get to my BotM picks since I have a ton of them left unread at this point. My random kindle pick was Lightfall, which spoiler alert if you saw my post yesterday – I have already finished! For fantasy I selected the first Starfell book since I do want to try and read a lot of middle grades in May, but also because I have wanted to get to this one ever since I picked it up.

Rich had just picked another book to go on the Stack of Five choices, which was Vampires Never Get Old, so I was glad to select that one. Finally for my YA pick I selected The Perfect Escape.

Rich and I made a few changes to the board this month, we switched out a few prompts that I didn’t really want on there anymore, so I’m excited for the new options to come up in the future.

So that’s what the cards determined for me this month! Hopefully I can get to these as well as some from previous months so that the stack can get smaller.

Happy reading!

Review | Lightfall: The Girl & the Galdurian by Tim Probert

Deep in the heart of the planet Irpa stands the Salty Pig’s House of Tonics & Tinctures, home of the wise Pig Wizard and his adopted granddaughter, Bea. As keepers of the Endless Flame, they live a quiet and peaceful life, crafting medicines and potions for the people of their once-prosperous world.

All that changes one day when, while walking through the woods, Bea meets Cad, a member of the Galdurians, an ancient race thought to be long-extinct. Cad believes that if anyone can help him find his missing people, it’s the Pig Wizard.

But when the two arrive home, the Pig Wizard is nowhere to be found—all that’s left is the Jar of Endless Flame and a mysterious note. Fearing for the Pig Wizard’s safety, Bea and Cad set out across Irpa to find him, while danger fights its way out of the shadows and into the light.

Will these two unexpected friends find the beloved Pig Wizard and prevent eternal darkness from blanketing their world? Or has Irpa truly seen its last sunrise?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I had heard great things about this graphic novel, so I had to pick it up. The first thing that got me was the fact that the art style is so whimsical and colorful, it really sucks you into the world. Also, I LOVED the way Bea’s anxiety was portrayed, both in her explaining what she was feeling as well as the graphic representation. As someone who deals with pretty bad anxiety a lot of the time, it was such a perfect portrayal. I’m kind of sad that there’s no expected release date yet for the 2nd installment as by the end of it I was so invested in the story, characters and where their quest would take them.

Happy reading!

Review | The Crumrin Chronicles Vol. 1: The Charmed and the Cursed by Ted Naifeh

In this new spin-off from the New York Times bestselling Courtney Crumrin series the powerful young sorceress Courtney Crumrin has battled against all manner of evil forces, but helping her little brother Will navigate high school might be the death of her.

To help Will Crumrin adapt to the mortal world after a hundred years in the twilight realm of faeries, sis big sister Courtney makes him a glamor charm that renders him the most popular kid in school. But he eventually finds popularity a prison, in which he’s surrounded by people who neither know nor care about the real him. When football star Ross, jealous of Will’s friendship with outcast Tucker, bullies her relentlessly, Will decides to turn him in, give up the false popularity of the charm. But Ross retaliates against Will, prompting Courtney to take revenge using magic. But her activity draws the attention of Emil Gorka, an ancient, powerful vampire.

Once driven into hiding by Courtney’s former mentor, Uncle Aloysius, Gorka has reemerged under the guise of a corporate CEO. Everyone in town works for him, including Courtney and Will’s clueless parents. But he wants Courtney, a powerful but inexperienced young sorceress as his servant. And to save Will from his dreadful bite, she must surrender herself. Now only Will, with the help of his best friend Tucker, can save Courtney from eternal servitude to the undead monster and his unquenchable hunger for blood and power. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I haven’t previously read the series that this is a spin off from, so I’m not sure if that would add more to this story or not. That being said I really enjoyed this first volume and felt like for the most part the setup was done well. I did wish that a little more was revealed about Courtney’s background earlier on, because I was unsure at first how she factored into the story/characters. Still, if there are further adventures ahead for Will and Courtney in the future, I did feel it was a good set up for him and their interactions. It was also a great journey for Will to come to a number of realizations about himself, people and magic. The art style was dynamic and kept the story moving, and I felt the color saturation and tones suited the story really well as well.

Happy reading!

Review | Small Cures by Della Hicks-Wilson

From the much-loved viral poet Della Hicks-Wilson, comes a powerful first dose of small interconnected poems about the heart, letting go and a healing love readers can carry and quote for a lifetime.

‘darling,
you feel heavy
because you are
too full of truth.

open your mouth more.
let the truth exist
somewhere other than
inside your body.’

In this beautifully tender and ambitious debut collection, Della Hicks-Wilson weaves together more than one hundred and fifty poems written over the course of seven years into a single one — to form a stirring and intimate meditation on love and recovery after heartbreak. Using the stages of pathology as an extended metaphor, this book-length poem skilfully takes the reader on a persuasively healing journey in three parts. In what reads like an effortlessly honest and lyrical conversation, Hicks-Wilson works through the complexities of pain, love, loss, self-love, acceptance, growth and repair with both sensitivity and confidence.

Featuring never-before-seen poems and follower favourites, Small Cures is the transformative and soothing bite-sized prescription every person craving to fall in love after love with themselves has been waiting for.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

First and foremost, I really enjoyed the format of this collection as the poems were all interconnected and clearly portrayed a journey. While some of the poems were the super short tumblr style poetry that I don’t always love, the fact that there was variety made me not mind these types of poems interspersed in the collection. There were some poems that were really standouts, whether because of the emotion they portrayed or the imagery in them. While the collection dealt with some heavy topics it was an enjoyable and quick read.

Happy reading!

Can’t Wait Wednesday | 4/28

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings based on the meme Waiting on Wednesday by Breaking the Spine. In this weekly post people share a book that they’re excited about being released.

Seventeen-year-old Stephanie Armand doesn’t believe in ghosts or spirits. Despite her six-year-old sister, Charlie, insisting a masked figure is hiding in her closet, and the rumors at school, Stephanie isn’t convinced her father’s latest renovation project–a crumbling Victorian mansion–houses the soul of a monster.

So when the very charming (and paranormal obsessed) Lucas Cheney takes an interest in both Stephanie and her notorious home, the supernatural and romantic activity escalates to an all-time high. And that doesn’t even take into account the dashing, British-accented eighteen-year-old boy, Erik, who’s taken up residence in Stephanie’s nightly dreams. A boy who may have something to do with the man in the mask, and the strange occurrences taking place at Moldavia.

A steamy YA romance with Twilight vibes, inspired by Gaston Leroux’s classic The Phantom of the Opera.

Happy reading!

Blog Tour | The Hate Project by Kris Ripper | Review

This arrangement is either exactly what they need–or a total disaster

Oscar is a grouch.

That’s a well-established fact among his tight-knit friend group, and they love him anyway.

Jack is an ass.

Jack, who’s always ready with a sly insult, who can’t have a conversation without arguing, and who Oscar may or may not have hooked up with on a strict no-commitment, one-time-only basis. Even if it was extremely hot.

Together, they’re a bickering, combative mess.

When Oscar is fired (answering phones is not for the anxiety-ridden), he somehow ends up working for Jack. Maybe while cleaning out Jack’s grandmother’s house they can stop fighting long enough to turn a one-night stand into a frenemies-with-benefits situation.

The house is an archaeological dig of love and dysfunction, and while Oscar thought he was prepared, he wasn’t. It’s impossible to delve so deeply into someone’s past without coming to understand them at least a little, but Oscar has boundaries for a reason—even if sometimes Jack makes him want to break them all down.

After all, hating Jack is less of a risk than loving him…

Buy Links | Harlequin.com | IndieBound | Walmart | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google PlayKobo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After reading The Love Study I was definitely interested in reading the next book and I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed the fact that this book wasn’t necessarily following a formula or always going in the way you thought it might – it was a nice change. I also really appreciated the anxiety rep and direct way Oscar’s experiences are discussed and addressed. The writing style was both easy to read while being starkly honest with its portrayal of the characters and their interactions. So many of Oscar and Jack’s interactions ran the gamut, from maddening to hilarious at times and that was really heartening since that’s how real life can sometimes be. I’m excited to see what the third book is about after enjoying both this one and The Love Study.

Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and zir pronouns are ze/zir. Kris shares a converted garage with a kid, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.

Author Links | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon

Happy release day to The Hate Project and thanks so much to Carina Adores for including me in the blog tour.

Happy reading!

Writing Update | 4/26

Well here we are everyone, it’s almost the end of April. I definitely haven’t written the amount that I thought I would in this month, but I’m not too torn up about it. To be honest other things took priority over writing and sometimes that is just the way it goes.

I thought April would be a nice, quiet month where I would be able to get tons of reading and writing done, but in reality it was very stressful. My day job takes priority and I definitely had some high priority projects that had to be done. Add onto that the fact that my cat had to go to the vet for a possibly big procedure (thankfully it ended up being best case scenario and she is absolutely fine!) and we had the loss of a family member in my family at the end of March. All those things kind of compounded together and demanded my time.

Still, in the last week I was able to do some editing and a little bit of writing. Sometimes simply writing myself out of a corner is an accomplishment – and I was able to do that with a couple of my stories. Hopefully that will mean that in future months I’ll be able to get a lot more writing done.

How was everyone else’s April?

Happy writing!

Kindle Deals | 4/25

Hey everyone! Found some more great deals on Kindle so I figured I would share them. Make sure to check the prices to make sure they haven’t changed or are different in your region!

Hot British Boyfriend ($2.99) After a horrifying public rejection by her crush, Ellie Nichols does what any girl would do: she flees the country. To be more precise, she joins her high school’s study abroad trip to England. While most of her classmates are there to take honors courses and pad their college applications, Ellie is on a quest to rebuild her reputation and self-confidence. And nothing is more of a confidence booster than getting a hot British boyfriend.

When Ellie meets Will, a gorgeous and charming Brit, she vows to avoid making the same mistakes she did with the last guy she liked. Which is why she strikes up a bargain with Dev, an overachieving classmate who she’s never clicked with, but who does seem to know a lot about the things Will is interested in: If he helps her win over her crush, then she’ll help him win over his.

But even as Ellie embarks on a whirlwind romance, she still needs to figure out if this is actually the answer to all her problems . . . and whether the perfect boyfriend is actually the perfect boy for her.

Shadow of the Fox ($1.99) – In this first book of her Japanese mythology-inspired Shadow of the Fox trilogy, bestselling author Julie Kagawa weaves a stunning, high-stakes tale of alliances and deceptions, characters who aren’t what they seem, and secrets that could change the fate of the world.

Every millennium, whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers has the power to call the great Kami Dragon from the sea and ask for one wish. The time is near…and the missing pieces of the scroll will be sought throughout the land of Iwagoto.

When demons kill half-kitsune Yumeko’s adoptive family, she’s forced to flee her home with one part of the ancient scroll. Fate thrusts her into the path of mysterious samurai Kage Tatsumi, who is Yumeko’s best hope for survival. But he’s under orders to retrieve the scroll. An uneasy alliance forms, and Yumeko begins the deception of a lifetime, knowing her secrets are more than a matter of life or death—they’re the key to the fate of the world.

Strange the Dreamer ($3.99)The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around–and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was just five years old, he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the form of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? And who is the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams?

In this sweeping and breathtaking novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

The answers await in Weep.

Happy reading!