Recap for June

Friday, June 30, 2017

June is over. July is here. I have no energy for anything. It was not the best or the most productive month for me, blog and reading-wise. But let's break it down:

Books Read: 30

The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May (The Falconer #3)
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Dragon's Legacy by Deborah A. Wolfe (The Dragon's Legacy #1)
Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin (Stranje House #2)

Blog Tour: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid  -
Two Minute Review: Mr. Right-Swipe by Ricki Shultz
Queer, There, and Everywhere by Sarah Prager -
Two Minute Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia -
Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland (Spill Zone #1) - ½
Two Minute Review: The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis (Dragon #1) -
Two Minute Review: Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser (Current #1) - ½

Book Blast & Giveaway: The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack
Netflix Book Tag
Waiting on Wednesday: Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
Top Ten Series to Start
Book Blast: Traitor's Knot by Crystal Bazos
Recommended Reading: Italian Historical Fiction
Top Ten Books We Would Recommend to Our Dads 
Ageless Discussions: Surprise Sequels
June Book Haul
Top Ten Most Anticipated for the Second Half of 2017
TBR Planning: June

Ah, I was so innocent.

Blog Tour Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: general fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 400
Published: June 13 2017
Source: ARC via publisher for review
Rating: 5/5

From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented author and also an ambitious one. For her fifth and newest book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, the creative writer behind contemporary classics like Maybe in Another Life and One True Loves tries an all new style of storytelling and it works spectacularly. This book is unlike any of her previous works, but it may very well be her best novel yet. A sprawling, layered, intricate look at a very complicated and charismatic woman, Evelyn Hugo and its eponymous main character are both memorable and utterly unique.

With the charisma and beauty of an old Hollywood starlet but the cunning and shrewdness of a Fortune 500 CEO, Evelyn Hugo is the kind of character that refuses to yield the spotlight. She is the star even before she makes it in the movie business. Evelyn is perpetually the epicenter of the story; she is the thread the ties the main plot of her many husbands with that of the younger journalist Monique. Obviously partially inspired by the live and loves of Elizabeth Taylor, with perhaps just a splash of Marilyn's aesthetic, her life is compelling and utterly readable from the first chapter. Her voice and presence are strong and immediately distinct; this is a woman you remember. This is a woman that absolutely refuses to be forgotten or to forgo her ambitions. She may not be a "nice" person but she is driven, smart, and a survivor.

Unwinding and revealing the real person behind the calculated Evelyn persona is a task that takes care and time, both of which Reid provides. There's more to Evelyn's convoluted story than the tabloid fodder produced from her various loves and losses; Reid keenly understands the relationship between star and fans -- which Evelyn also understands and uses to her professional advantage, even if it costs her a personal loss. She is a multifaceted person; full of both virtues and vices. She comes across as a very real, very present person. Monique, her counterpart and foil, provides some modern balance and also facilitates the novel's plot framework. Her tell-all interviews with the reclusive actress directly propel the plot.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is an impressive change of pace for an established author. It's entertaining and original; it begs for a reread once the final page has been finished. For an author that continually finds new ways to explore love and emotion, this is her most creative novel yet. Highly recommended.


Book Blast & Giveaway: The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack

Semele Cavnow appraises antiquities for an exclusive Manhattan auction house, deciphering ancient texts—and when she discovers a manuscript written in the time of Cleopatra, she knows it will be the find of her career. Its author tells the story of a priceless tarot deck, now lost to history, but as Semele delves further, she realizes the manuscript is more than it seems. Both a memoir and a prophecy, it appears to be the work of a powerful seer, describing devastating wars and natural disasters in detail thousands of years before they occurred.

The more she reads, the more the manuscript begins to affect Semele’s life. But what happened to the tarot deck? As the mystery of her connection to its story deepens, Semele can’t shake the feeling that she’s being followed. Only one person can help her make sense of it all: her client, Theo Bossard. Yet Theo is arrogant and elusive, concealing secrets of his own, and there’s more to Semele’s desire to speak with him than she would like to admit. Can Semele even trust him?

The auction date is swiftly approaching, and someone wants to interfere—someone who knows the cards exist, and that the Bossard manuscript is tied to her. Semele realizes it’s up to her to stop them: the manuscript holds the key to a two-thousand-year-old secret, a secret someone will do anything to possess.

Paperback Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Paperback: 368 Pages
ISBN: 9781250099778 
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Mystery

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Powell’s


Praise for The Fortune Teller

“Beginning as a clever mystery based on an ancient manuscript and evolving into a family epic spanning centuries, an international thriller, and a destined romance, The Fortune Teller has something for everyone. Offer it to fans of A.S. Byatt’s Possession and Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series.”―Booklist

“Womack alternates back and forth between a whirlwind history that spans thousands of years and the suspense of Semele’s search…Entertaining.”—Kirkus Reviews

The Fortune Teller is a gripping, twisting tale that spans thousands of years, thousands of miles, and perhaps even crosses over to the ‘other side.’ A fascinating read that is that unlikely combination of unputdownable and thought-provoking.”—B.A. Shapiro, bestselling author of The Art Forger and The Muralist

“There aren’t enough words to adequately describe how much I love The Fortune Teller. It is a gripping and masterfully woven combination of history, mystery, fate, adventure, and family ties: a true page-turner that enthralls from the first sentence with unique characters, fascinating settings, and intriguing artifacts. Womack brilliantly illuminates how there is more at play in the world than logic can explain.”—Kelli Estes, USA Today bestselling author of The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

“The Fortune Teller takes you on an international thrill ride across centuries—with fascinating research and memorable characters—proving once again that Gwendolyn Womack is a magician, keeping readers turning pages with wonder and awe.”—M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author

“What a mesmerizing journey. The suspense increases steadily throughout the novel, as Semele realizes her identity is caught up in the mysterious manuscript and that the truth of her own abilities is a secret people will kill for. Readers who enjoy the novels of Katherine Neville, Kate Mosse and Diana Gabaldon will savor this treat.”—Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown

Link to Book Trailer:

About the Author

Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack studied theater at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She holds an MFA in Directing Theatre, Video, and Cinema from California Institute of the Arts. Her first novel, The Memory Painter, was an RWA PRISM award winner in the Time Travel/Steampunk category and a finalist for Best First Novel. She now resides in Los Angeles with her husband and her son.
For more information please visit Gwendolyn Womack’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, June 6

Wednesday, June 7

Thursday, June 8

Friday, June 9

Monday, June 12

Tuesday, June 13

Wednesday, June 14

Thursday, June 15

Friday, June 16

Monday, June 19

Tuesday, June 20

Wednesday, June 21

Thursday, June 22

Friday, June 23

Monday, June 26

Tuesday, June 27

Wednesday, June 28

Thursday, June 29

Friday, June 30


During the Book Blast we will be giving away a Tarot Deck & Book Set! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Description: This deck/book set provides everything you need to understand tarot. The full-size deck is a vibrantly recolored version of the classic Rider-Waite deck, updated with subtle shading that gives depth to the familiar tarot scenes. The 272-page, user-friendly handbook with full-color illustrations is perfect for beginners as well as experienced readers who want to refresh their tarot skills.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.

Netflix Book Tag

Sunday, June 25, 2017

I found this book tag over at Pretty Deadly Reviews. :)

I love books and I love Netflix, even though it can severely derail how much reading I get done.

Jessie: Tyrant's Throne by Sebastien de Castell - the final book in the Greatcoats series (Traitor's Blade, Knight's Shadow, Saint's Blood) ..... [for now]. This is basically a fantasy version of The Three Musketeers with more fatalism and better one-liners. It's Dumas with magic and way more blood. It's awesome.

Dani: Y'all.


Don't judge me.

Dani: If you like Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdoms, try other fantasy heists, The Lies of Locke Lamora and The Spirit Thief. Not technically YA, but both have great senses of humor, big twists, and a crew of friends who'll make you cry.

Jessie: If you loved Fangirl and Gena/Finn for their, well, fandoms and general nerdery, you should read Queens of Geek, Geekerella, and Eliza and her Monsters.

Jessie: Ha, well, I bought SEVERAL books because I have exactly zero chill and why buy ONE when you can buy six??

Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn (Elemental Blessings #1)
Royal Airs by Sharon Shinn (Elemental Blessings #2)
The Dragon's Legacy by Deborah A. Wolfe (The Dragon's Legacy #1)
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper
Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth-Century Europe by Sarah Gristwood

Dani: I'm really in an indie/ f/f mood, so the last three books I've bought are Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman, Elements: Fire ed. Taneka Stotts, and Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology ed  Joamette Gil

Dani: My loves, if I'm brutally, brutally honest, I didn't like Simon Vs. the Homosapiens Agenda. It lost me early on with a thoughtless piece of lesbophobia, I didn't like that the only two girls who matter hate each other, and the entire plot hinges on outing. Simon and Blue are sweet, I completely get the hype, it's just not for me.

Jessie: Okay, so I will split this right down the middle. The Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown. It's.. decent. It's okay. There's some good ideas at play. But it is so vaaastly overhyped, especially the first two books. And if it takes three books for your trilogy to meet the hype....

Jessie: The Rook by Daniel O'Malley is first in a series and basically a supernatural MI5 with absolutely absurd dangerous occurrences. It's very dryly funny, occasionally snarky and quite  acerbic. If you enjoy British humor, this is one sure to amuse.

Dani: I'm going to pick Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series, especially Do You Want to Start a Scandal. I love Tessa's heroines and the way they interact with their love interests and society. It's claptrap and no Victorian lady could ever get away with acting like Minerva or Pauline, but it's funny and swoony and I love them. (I know the covers do not indicate this one bit, just trust me.)

Dani: The His Fair Assassin trilogy is looooooaded with court politics, religious politics, supernatural politics, real world politics. 1433 pages of politics and stabbing. And kissing. A++ (And we're getting two more books?! I am not worthy.)

Jessie: I love a good political maneuver. Historical fiction is usually the best at pulling it off (they do have real history to lend aid) but sometimes fantasy novels can be just as complicated. Sally Christie's historical series about the maaany mistresses of France's King Louis XV (The Sisters of Versailles, The Rivals of Versailles, and The Enemies of Versailles) definitely has some of the most fine-tuned court politicking.

Jessie: Illustrated covers tend to be my favorites. So I couldn't pick just one.

Dani: For my money, Elise Kova has the best illustrated covers in the game right now. Every single one a masterpiece with phenomenal color choices and gorgeous characters. Where is my box set?

Dani: I say this every time this question comes up: Illuminae and Gemina. I fucking love this series. They are beyond compare in both physical and audio. Every read brings another twist to the story (and another one of my friends I find dead in the casualty reports.)

Jessie: I love to reread! I love to search hints and clues and hidden easter eggs. I think A Song of Ice and Fire grew this habit but I believe it really started with the Wheel of Time. I've done more rereading in 2017 already than I did in all of 2016!

Next up on the reread agenda:

Grave Mercy, Dark Triumph, and Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

and then...

The Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, and A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson for the last three.)

Jessie: I have found some really good nonfiction over the last year or so. There's Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie, the irreverent and illustrated Rejected Princesses from Jason Porath, Mary Beard's extensive opus SPQR, and Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries that really stand out.

Dani; It's a little older, but I'm obsessed with the literary criticism of Sarah Wendell and Candy Tam's Beyond Heaving Bosoms. It's funny and irreverent, but it's also a great take down of the way we look at romance and genre fiction and misogyny in the publishing industry.

Dani: It's my favorite book, guys.

Jessie: Skullsworn by Brian Staveley fits this very well. It's set in the world of his fantasy series but it's a 305-pages standalone that takes place over a period of just about two weeks. In that two weeks, an imperial rebellion grows from nascent to full-blown as the main character tries to assassinate 10 people in 10 days.

Jessie: Umm.. there is a lot but I will narrow it down. Godsgrave, The Tiger's Daughter for sure. There's also For the Winner by Emily Hauser (Atalanta!), The Waking Land by Callie Bates, and Now I Rise by Kiersten White.

Dani: I really love books.

Dani: hahahahahaha ha



also, fuck you

Jessie: I plead the fifth.

For reasons.

Feel free to tag yourself if you would like!

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