Review: All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things 

As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible "adult" around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer
First Line: "My mother always started the story by saying, "Well, she was born in the backseat of a stranger's car," as though that explained why Wavy wasn't normal.


This was the most uncomfortable and challenging read I've ever had. I had no clue what All the Ugly and Wonderful Things was about going in and if I had known it had to do with a taboo relationship between a man and a child I know I wouldn't have even given it a chance it's not something I can get behind even after reading the book but with all that said, I am glad I read it because it was a very well written and powerful read that stirred so many emotions in me.

The whole time while reading I was questioning myself. 'Why am I still reading this what the hell is wrong with me? This is so wrong on so many levels.' But I kept reading. And any book that can make me question myself in that manner yet keep my attention to the very end is a must read. 

I loved Wavy. Her life was tragic, she had crap parents and no one gave a damn about her. As much as I hate Kellen for being the adult and pursuing the relationship with her at such a young age I also know if it wasn't for him Wavy would have never had a chance at life at all. It's all so twisted. I'm still just so disgusted by the whole thing. What he did was not okay, he was the adult he should have known better. I'm still pissed off about the whole thing weeks after reading it. Needless to say, it is definitely an unforgettable read.

Memorable Quotes:

~"I liked learning things. How numbers worked together to explain the stars. How molecules made the world. All the ugly and wonderful things people had done in the last two thousand years."


Interview with Jess Michaels - An Affair in Winter

 What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Rosalinde Wilde?

Rosalinde is a character who tends to live her life with arms wide open. She’s has some very tough times that could make her hard or cold or have a lack of belief in people. Instead, she takes risks and opens herself up. So she was fun to write and fun to consider when I think of my own way of living.

If you could introduce Rosalinde to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

Of my own books, I’d probably introduce her to Serafina from The Other Duke. Serafina was very closed off, but extremely kind and needed friends. I think they’d like each other.

 What other fictional world would most appeal to Lord Grayson?

I’m not sure Gray would be interested in any world but his own. He’s steering the future of his nation by working on steam engines and canals and he certainly would never leave Rosalinde :)

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn't so? 

Well, romance is the red headed step child of publishing and you hear all the comments about trash and such. I write great stories with people who overcome painful experiences and are healed by the power of love. If those aren’t important things, I don’t know what are.

 If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her? 

Teddy Roosevelt seems like a bad ass. I bet he’d be fun to spend an afternoon with. LOL

 If you could ask one author one question, what would the question be and who you would you ask?

I’ve been lucky to get to talk to, hang out with and be great friends with a lot of wonderful authors over the 17 years I’ve been writing and the 14 years I’ve been published. I love talking to other authors but those conversations happen kind of naturally. I don’t plan for them, so I guess I don’t think about it much. I’m always happy to answer questions from authors though. Twitter or email is a great way to reach out.

 Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans? 

An Affair in Winter launches a brand new series for me, Seasons. So if you’ve never read me or you want to try historical romance in general, this is a great place to start. You haven’t “missed” anything and I am so in love with this series (I just finished writing the second book, A Spring Deception, that comes out September 6 and started writing One Summer of Surrender, which is a November release.

About An Affair in Winter

Widow Rosalinde Wilde is on her way to her beloved sister’s wedding when an unexpected storm waylays her at an overcrowded inn. There she meets a tempting stranger who sweeps her into a night of unforgettable passion.

Grayson Danford never expected a night with the irresistible Mrs. Wilde, but she was a welcome distraction from the unpleasant duty of breaking up his brother’s impending nuptials. He’s shocked when he discovers his passionate lover is none other than the sister of his brother's intended.

Now Rosalinde and Gray will butt heads, even as their simmering desire for each other threatens to boil over. Who will win? And who might lose it all?

About the author

Jess Michaels always likes the "good parts" when she reads romance, so it makes sense that she writes erotic books. She is a USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of over 50 novels and novellas. When not writing, she enjoys being a geek and trying to keep the cat from scratching the furniture. She lives in Tucson with her husband.

                                           Goodreads - Website - Twitter - Facebook


Review:Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods

Summer of Supernovas by Darcy Woods

Fans of Jennifer E. Smith and Jenny Han will fall in love with this heartfelt and humor-laced debut following one girl’s race to find the guy of her cosmic dreams.

When zodiac-obsessed teen Wilamena Carlisle discovers a planetary alignment that won’t repeat for a decade, she’s forced to tackle her greatest astrological fear: The Fifth House—relationships and love.

But when Wil falls for a sensitive guitar player hailing from the wrong side of the astrology chart, she must decide whether a cosmically doomed love is worth rejecting her dead mother’s legacy and the very system she’s faithfully followed through a lifetime of unfailing belief.
First Line: "Two fears have plagued me from the time I was little, and today I must face one of them."

Review: Wilamena "Wil" puts all her faith in the stars. Her mom was an astrologer and to carry on her legacy Wil is dedicated to following in her footsteps. She lets the stars guide her way in life including her love life right down to the sign that should be her soulmate, when she finds out she has a limited amount of days to find her soulmate or wait for another decade she goes on a mission to find him, and that is where things go all screwy in her life.

I found Summer of Supernovas to be a cute and fun read with lots of humourous moments. Yes there are two guys and it becomes a love triangle but I loved it, I was a little skeptical going in because me and love triangles usually don't mesh well together but it really didn't bother me at all. There are two brothers Seth and Grant, one is her perfect match according to the stars and the other one will bring her to ruin. So why does she have these intense feelings for the one she should run in the complete other direction from. It was fun to see Wil grow as a character, the main plot obviously had to do with the romance but there was more to it, Wil had a lot of inner conflicts. Even though her mom died when she was quite young you can tell the astrology thing was more so her just trying to hold on to her mom and sadly it became a little unhealthy when it started to interfere with her own happiness.

As for Seth and Grant, I fell for Grant hard! Seth is a little bit more complicated and I really liked him too but a few things happened that made me love Grant more and more. Not to mention the chemistry between Wil and Grant were off the charts.

I did find the story to be a bit cliche and predictable but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book especially when I was really in the mood for a light fun summer read.

Memorable Quotes:

~"Sometimes life requires a leap of faith."


Review: Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca

Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca

Kelsey and David became best friends the summer before freshman year and were inseparable ever after. Until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke, and everything around her crumbled—including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey's parents decided to move away, she couldn't wait to start over and leave the past behind. Except, David wasn't ready to let her go...

Now it's senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David's family moves to town and he shakes up everything. Soon old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey's second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never truly let him go. And maybe she never wants to.

Told in alternating sections, LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE is a charming and romantic debut about loving, leaving, and letting go.
First Line: "The first day of senior year, he came back."

Review: Right off the bat Last Year's Mistake was a quick read. I read it in under a day and there were so many times I wanted to take my kindle and just throw it across the room because of how frustrating Kelsey was.

There was drama, angst, more drama, and plenty of slut-shaming. And yet here I am still giving this book a three and a half star rating and I'm still confused on why because slut shaming to the extent that was in this book along with the overblown drama usually makes me give a low rating or even dnf a book but here I was reading Last Year's Mistake and devouring it even though I was pissed for majority of the read.

The book is told in alternating chapters between the past and the present so we can really understand the relationship between Kelsey and David. The two were actually friends, best friends at that but after something happened Kelsey packed up and moved. Flash forward to present day, Kelsey has the perfect HS life unlike her previous high school she is now popular, lots of friends, and a hot boyfriend. Everything is great until David walks back into her life and things start to unravel very quickly, she thought she was over him but apparently her heart didn't get the memo.

There was a lot of back and forth between David and Kelsey, one minute Kelsey wanted her current boyfriend then the next David, and David loved Kelsey but dated other girls. It was all so complicated but honestly, it was teenagers being teenagers that is what I chalk it up to. As far as Kelsey went I did not like her that much, at least not present day Kelsey. Her actions made her very unlikeable and I just wanted to smack some serious sense into her. David was a good guy you can tell he obviously still really cared about Kelsey, he had his dumb moments here and there but they were usually provoked by Kelsey.

Overall this book may not be for everyone. Even with all its complications there was something about it that I still can't put my finger on which made it a very fast read for me but I would say preview a few chapters and see if this is the book for you.

Memorable Quotes:

~"Because knowing he hated me would have been a thousand times easier than knowing he didn't love me anymore."

~"I'm kind of an idiot when it comes to you. And I don't know why


Blog Tour: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi-Q&A

What/Who were your biggest inspirations for the characters in The Star-Touched Queen?

Which character in The Star-Touched Queen did you personally relate to the most and why? For Maya and Amar, they were inspired by the Hades/Persephone. But I imagined those two mythological characters a little more differently. In Maya’s case, I knew that ambition was her defining trait, but I wasn’t sure whether that would manifest as seeking emotional or material fulfillment. Turns out, it was a bit of both. Kamala was inspired by my love of fiendish side characters like Mogget from Garth Nix’s SABRIEL and is probably the character I relate to the most. Her sense of humor can be a little abrasive. But she’s fiercely loyal to her friends. Other people in TSTQ were inspired by a collection of people whom I met/knew/heard of growing up.

Have you always been drawn to Mythology and what are some of your favorite mythological tales? What myth specifically inspired Star-Touched? 

Always! I was raised on mythology. It was one of the most important outlets for me to connect to my Filipino/Indian heritage. My favorite Indian myths are Shakuntula, Nala and Damayanti, and Savitri. My favorite Filipino story is the Igorot tale of the Sky Maiden. My favorite Western myth is Hades and Persephone. TSTQ was specifically inspired by Hades & Persephone.

Let's talk inspiration.  What Indian folklore inspired The Star-Touched Queen and where could someone who might be interested in reading and learning more about it and other Indian stories (cough, me, cough) learn more? 

The main Indian folktales/myths that inspired TSTQ or particular scenes were: Shakuntula (plays on the idea of memory and forgotten loves), Savitri & Satyavan (bargaining with Lord of Death, wily females!) and Narasimha (the fourth avatar of Lord Vishnu who defeated the demon king Hirayankashipu). Honestly, most of these were stories I heard growing up with my family. But my favorite thing to read when I was younger were the Amar Chitra Katha comics! They’re these illustrated tales from Indian mythology and I love them so so so much.

What scene in THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN was your favorite to write? 

Definitely the scene where Amar and Maya are working together in the constellation room. I think it’s an important scene about interpretation, which, to me, is a major theme in TSTQ.

Did you listen to any music while writing this book? If yes, what would you say was your MOST played artist or song?

Sometimes I listen to music when I write. It just depends on whether the song is distracting me or fueling some weird atmospheric part of the scene. Sometimes it’s just one song on repeat. I listen to a lot of hip hop. And when I pretty much rewrote TSTQ in February 2015, I felt furious. Not with anyone. But just with the story. Like it was itching to be told right and I was failing it. I think the songs I listened to the most with TSTQ was either Kid Ink’s “Show Me” or Kendrick Lamar’s “Poetic Justice.”

What is your dream movie cast for STAR-TOUCHED?

LOVE this question. I’ve always envisioned Lakshmi Menon (the Sri Lankan model) as Maya-esque. Amar has some definite Arjun Rampal undertones (swoons forever). Gupta is kinda cheeky and nerdy, and reminds me of Imran Khan (actor not Pakistani cricket player). Gauri is cheeky, but fierce, so definitely Preity Zinta or Deepika Padukone. Nritti: Aishwarya Rai. And Mother Dhina: Rekha.

What is the most exciting part about publishing your first novel? 

Interacting with readers. Talking to the YA community gives me so much life.

How did you build your world and keep everything straight for STAR-TOUCHED?

Flashcards, charts, webs, etc. I know everyone has their own tricks! Flashcards, backs of receipts, corners of napkins. Which is to say, I did not keep things straight at all. This is why you have beta readers. To throw virtual tomatoes at you and point out that given the rules of your world, you cannot do the thing you just did.

What is your next project? Is it in the same world as STAR-TOUCHED?

I just finished the companion novel to TSTQ! So, I’m hoping to get started on edits soon. I can’t wait for y’all to read it. I love it so much.

What is the one thing you want readers to walk away from STAR-TOUCHED with? 

I hope readers see a little of how fairytales and folklore celebrate our shared experiences across cultural spectrums. And I hope their dreams are a little star-touched and that they close the book thinking they’ve tasted fairy fruit and walked through more than one life.

About The Star-Touched Queen

A lush and vivid standalone debut young adult fantasy that seamlessly weaves the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone with Indian folklore. Featuring a smart, independent anti-princess who must take her place as queen and a forbidden romance that defies the odds, debut author Roshani Chokshi pairs beautiful writing with a thrilling pace and compulsive plot, using her own Filipino and Indian heritage to create a culturally diverse and vividly imagined world. 

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen? 

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire... 

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most...including herself. 

From an incredibly fresh voice, Roshani Chokski’s THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is a beautifully written standalone novel that will enchant young adult and fantasy readers until the last page.

“A setting drawn from ancient India, romance with feminist sensibilities, and a unique magic system…a stunning debut filled with lush writing, smart characters, and a mysterious plot that provides as many twists as it does swoons.” School Library Journal, STARRED Review 

“Chokshi's rich, descriptive writing weaves a lush web...a swoony romance, betrayal, and a journey to power and selfaffirmation, with a slightly wicked, slightly funny animal sidekick in the best tradition… work together to create a spell that many readers will willingly succumb to. Richly imagined, deeply mythic, filled with lovely language with violet overtones: this is an author to watch.” —Kirkus Reviews 

“This gorgeous debut promises big things to come from Chokshi, who at barely 25 has decades ahead to dazzle us.” —Cosmopolitan.com on “8 Life-Changing Novels by Twentysomething Women”

“Chokshi’s first novel is filled to the brim with gorgeous, scintillating writing that easily draws readers into its new take on traditional tales. A unique fantasy that is epic myth and beautiful fairy tale combined.” —Booklist

“A heady blend of mythology and metaphor, THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is sure to appeal to fans of Laini Taylor and Leigh Bardugo. Maya is a great character, full of promise and patience, even as the odds are stacked against her.” —Romantic Times Book Reviews 

About the author:

ROSHANI CHOKSHI comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she's learning a new kind of storytelling. 

Connect With Roshani Chokshi

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