Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a belated post - happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate! I had a great (but tiring) day with my family and I'm currently resting my feet as I type this post. I know Thanksgiving has passed buuuuuut I thought I'd share some of the food from the day!

Photo Credit: my sister Lily!

We had 14 people total, so we cooked a feast! We're Indo-Trinidadian so most of the food is Indian/Trinidadian food, but there were "neutral" dishes like baked mac n cheese, stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, and corn! The Trinidadian dishes included callaloo (spinach), roti (like naan), curry goat, curry chicken, curry channa, and curry mango.

I took this straight from my Insta story -- we were tired! It was a lot of cooking, washing dishes, setting up, serving, washing more dishes, and breaking down. Everything went really well!

I hope everyone had a lovely, safe Thanksgiving! The roots of the holiday aren't great but what it is supposed to represent is meaningful. I want to thank everyone who has supported me and this blog in some way - you all are amazing. Please know that I appreciate EVERYONE. Enjoy the time off and the good food!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Swoon Thursday (#252): Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting

This week, my swoon is from Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston!

Then she leaned forward, and he made a move to try and catch her, worried she was falling -

She pressed her lips against his. They were warm and soft. It was like the kiss from Astoria, a second, a moment, a breath - 

One point three seconds - and gone.

"Oh, Goddess!" she gasped, pulling away, leaving the tingling, electric sensation against his lips. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean... that was... I didn't -"

He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her into another kiss, and she melted into him, pressing as close as she could, and still he wanted to be closer. Her fingers threading into his hair, his around her waist, moving, exploring. Calculations had no room here, probability and chances washed away to a deeper longing. His tongue traced the contour of her lips, memorizing her taste, her motion, her method. The kiss lit a million suns in between his zeroes and ones, and made him infinite. 

- ARC, page 381

I adored this scene - it was so sweet. You can check out my thoughts on the book HERE!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (#256): Nightblood by Elly Blake

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

Nightblood by Elly Blake
Book Three of the Frostblood series
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

Ruby's world has changed more than she ever could have imagined. She's in love with a powerful Frost King. She's the heir to the Fire Throne. And she may be a Nightblood--the spawn of a vengeful deity hellbent on releasing his wraithlike Minax from their prison. Once freed, these beasts will roam the earth, devouring every last person until he or she is nothing but an empty husk. But Ruby is able to control the Minax to a degree, and now she, her beloved Arcus, and her friend Kai must find a way to bring Frostbloods and Firebloods--sworn enemies--together to make a stand against a foe more deadly than any they've faced.

In this heart-pounding finale of Elly Blake's gorgeously written and action-packed Frostblood Saga, the fate of Frostbloods, Firebloods, and all of humanity is at stake.

I'm cheating a little because I haven't read Fireblood (book two) yet, but I did enjoy Frostblood! Perhaps I'll binge-read the final two books. :D

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Review: Undercover Attraction by Katee Robert

Undercover Attraction by Katee Robert
Book Five of the O'Malleys series
Publisher: Forever Romance
Publication Date: November 28, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

Scandal. Wealth. Power. Seduction. Welcome to the world of the O'Malleys.

Ex-cop Charlotte Finch used to think there was a clear line between right and wrong. Then her fellow officers betrayed her, and the world is no longer so black and white. Especially when it's Aiden O'Malley, one of the most dangerous men in Boston, who offers her a chance for justice. The only catch: she'll have to pretend to be his fiancΓ©e for his plan to work.

Aiden can't afford to let anyone see the man behind the mask. To run the O'Malley empire, he has to be cool and controlled at all times. But the moment he meets Charlie, they're playing with fire. Her slightest touch is enough to send him over the edge. At first their "engagement" was a way to eliminate his enemies. Now he'll do whatever it takes to keep her safe-- even if he has to destroy his own family to do it.

What I Liked:

I've read the previous four books in this series, and I've always been curious about Aiden from the start. Who is this cold, hardened man? Is he truly so cold? We discover his limits in Undercover Attraction, the continuation to the series, featuring Aiden and Charlie. I enjoyed this book on its own and I loved it as a sequel to the previous books. Katee Robert has done an excellent job in continuing the series so far, and I'm desperate for The Bastard's Bargain

In this book, Aiden is tightening his reign as the O'Malley head and simultaneously struggling to hold ground against Dmitri Romanov - and a new family in play, the Eldridges. He needs to keep his friends close and his enemies closer, and that's where Charlotte Finch - now Charlie Moreaux - comes in. The plan: they'll pretend they're engaged, to distract Aiden's enemies. Then, he'll eliminate them. But he doesn't plan on falling for Charlie - or vice versa. Now both Aiden and Charlie have so much more to lose, and with players in this dangerous game, they will stand to lose it all.

I love the fake engagement trope! Especially when it involves two people who clearly do not want to be engaged. Fake engagements are great because the main couple is locked in and must interact - and there are rarely love triangles. (I hate love triangles.)

Aiden has always been somewhat of an enigma, throughout this series. He seems cold and closed-off, like Seamus O'Malley 2.0. But the truth is, he isn't like his father. He puts his family first, and does everything for the good of his family. Sadly, this costs Aiden individual relationships with his siblings, which is heartbreaking to watch. Aiden is isolated within his family, but he is a fair and hardened leader with an iron will. He emanates power and intensity, which I rather liked. He isn't a cold-hearted killer like he has everyone believe him to be, but he is dangerous.

Charlie is a tough woman who knows how to take care of herself. She used to be a cop, and now she is lying low after some rocky events in her past. She agrees to help Aiden and play his fiancee, but she never expects to actually fall for Aiden, or like his family (especially Keira). Charlie has a strong will but she isn't aggressive and "loud" in terms of her personality and will. She is smart and headstrong, and she knows her mind.

I found Aiden and Charlie to be a good match. Aiden is intense and alpha-y, and Charlie is assertive and kind. She isn't the fawning, sweet type, but she is very considerate and cognizant of Aiden's moods. I love how quickly she starts to read him, and he her. They fill each other's spaces and it becomes clear that they needed each other.

It doesn't hurt that they have great chemistry, from the start. Aiden is definitely more on the dominant side and Charlie likes it. There is a little bit of tug-of-war between these two, and that always results in some pretty steamy scenes. Of course, Robert is so good at writing creative steamy scenes, no matter how many books she has written!

The plot thickens, in terms of the O'Malley war with literally everyone else! But one neat thing is that the O'Malleys, Sheridans, Hallorans, and Romanovs are all a significant part of this book. It isn't just about Aiden, and Charlie. All of the O'Malley siblings (except Sloan) come out to play. With that new family coming in as a threat, and no one really knowing where Dmitri Romanov stands, it's all man for himself, except when there are fake alliances. Things really shake down to the sixth book!

I wll say that the ending of this book is a HEA for Aiden and Charlie. The book ends very well in that regard. In terms of the families/mobs/war/marriages/etc.? This series is not over yet. I love that each book can be read as a standalone BUT there is a lot that ties the series together, including the ongoing war between families. But everything is going to explode in book six and I can't wait!

What I Did Not Like:

There wasn't anything that I really disliked, per se, but I wouldn't rank this book among my favorites of all time (which is what I save the five-star ratings for). I liked this book a lot but looking at the series as a whole, it wouldn't be among my favorites. Books two, three, and five are somewhat forgettable for me, unfortunately. But I loved books one and four, and likely six!

Would I Recommend It:

If you've read any of the books in the series, definitely keep going! Or stop from the beginning. This dark romantic crime series is so, so good. Super hot, very intriguing, and always impressive. I don't usually read a ton of romance novels dealing with crime and mob families and such, but I think Robert is doing a great job with the series so far!


4 stars. I enjoyed this book! It was great to get inside Aiden's head (he's actually human!). I am so so so so so excited about Dmitri and Keira's book! I sometimes love, sometimes hate Keira, and I sometimes love, sometimes hate Dmitri, so it's perfect. The book could not come soon enough!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Review: Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

An action-packed tale full of romance, royalty, and adventure, inspired by the story of Anastasia. Perfect for fans of Six of Crows, Cinder, and the cult classic television show Firefly.

Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.

When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.

What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

What I Liked:

This review is suuuuper early (November 2017), I know. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and I'm going to be passing on my review copy to another reviewer, so I figured I'd get my review out too. I'd not read anything by Poston before but I'd heard good things about Geekerella. This book is much different from her other ones, and I'd been so excited about it. Sadly this YA sci-fi novel wasn't totally amazing for me, but I wasn't disappointed either. It is sure to please most excited readers.

Ana is part of a highly wanted crew high heavy bounties on their names. She's a thief and fighter, and currently she is looking for coordinates to a lost ship that might contain information that will help her Metal friend Di. Di's memory has been short-circuiting, and Ana wants to save him. But an Ironblood buys the coordinates first. Robb Valerio might royalty, but that doesn't mean he always gets what he wants. He knows his father was on that lost ship seven years ago before it disappeared, which is why he wants the coordinates. Ana and Robb end up fleeing with the coordinates, and with the help of Ana's crew, they find the lost ship. But the ship doesn't hold all of the answers they expect - in fact, it only leads to more questions. Everything is about to change for Robb and Ana, and in ways they'd never expect.

This book is told from many POVs, which typically I don't like. Robb, Ana, Di, Jax (crew member), and a fifth POV who I won't mention (since it might be spoiler-y). I actually didn't mind all of the POVs! The book is written in third-person, so all of the POVs didn't blur together and get confusing. I liked all four of the characters, and rooted for each other them. Usually I dislike at least one person who has an exclusive POV but that was not the case in this book.

Of the four main characters, I think I liked Robb the most. I felt like he was the most misjudged. He is Robb Valerio (i.e. royalty), but he is a second son. He never had an interest in the kingdom, and he always hated his older brother (who is cruel and slimy). Robb becomes one of the most selfless characters pretty immediately. I feel like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time at the beginning, and that sucked for him, but he was smart enough to realize that the crew was his best chance at finding the lost ship. 

Ana is impulsive and irrational, only thinking of getting the coordinates to find the lost ship to find something that will help Di with his short-circuiting memory problems. She seems selfish, right? Dragging her entire crew - and an innocent Robb - into a dangerous situation. Not to mention Robb's mother and an Armada in tow, trying to get Robb back. I didn't love Ana at first but I also didn't hate her. She's a fighter and she's stubborn, which I really liked.

Jax is a sweetheart! He is the pilot and he is wicked smart. He's also loyal to a fault and one you wouldn't want to cross. I liked him. Other members of the crew, like Captain Siege, Barger, Wick, Lenda, and more I can't name, were fun to watch and easy to fall in love with.

I adored Di. He's a Metal, which is basically like a robot though not entirely a robot. He is programmed not to have emotions, but if Di could have emotions, they would all be for Ana. 

There are two romances in this book! I don't think naming them is terribly spoiler-y. You'd think Robb and Ana would be a couple - they're not! Ana has always loved Di, and her desperation to find a solution to his memory circuit problem stems from her feelings for her Metal. Robb and Jax hit it off, though not quite at first... but they are so cute. Honestly they are my favorite couple in the book.

If you couldn't tell, the romances are very diverse. A human and a robot is pretty new, right? And there is Robb and Jax, whose relationship felt so natural and cute to follow. Captain Siege is a woman and she's married to Talle, another woman, and that relationship was also very ship-worthy. Good on Poston for writing so many diverse romances without any of them feeling forced. Also, no love triangles in or between any of the romances!

Not to mention the cast is diverse in terms of skin color and background. There was a ton of diversity in the book without all of it feeling overwhelming or forced in readers' faces.

I think I was a little underwhelmed with the world-building and the story itself (which I'll talk about in the next section), but I wasn't bored at any point. Loss of interest happened, but I kept going and I'm glad I did. The ending was a roller coaster! This cannot be a standalone. If it is, I think everyone should beg the book's editor or the publisher (or both) for more. 

I won't go into detail about the plot and the story because that will get spoiler-y really quickly. But once the lost ship is found, things pick up from there. Ana learns a lot of truths about her past that she can't remember, and Robb makes some really key decisions involving Ana. You'll see!

Overall, I see why this book is so hyped. I see why people want to read it so badly. It had potential for me (especially with it being YA sci-fi), but I didn't love it - but I didn't hate it either. I think most readers will be very content with this book, and clamoring for more by the end. 

What I Did Not Like:

The beginning of the book is soooooo slow. I can see why some set the book aside for the time being. I didn't really get invested until the crew boards the lost ship, and that was at least one hundred pages in (maybe?). And even then, I was going through the motions. Things start to shake up after the crew comes out of the ship and are found by the Armada (i.e. Robb's mother).

And after that too, the story wasn't terribly unique. Intriguing, yes, but I recognize how similar it could be compared to other YA sci-fi novels dealing with space.

Maybe I was expecting more "science" from a space-centered science fiction novel. Sure, the Metals are robots which are science-y, right? For some reason I thought there would be more space travel and such, especially given the giant space ship on the cover. This book was more about saving Di (which is cool) than anything else. And then politics, towards the end. I was hoping for action and battles and basically Star Wars.

I think I was underwhelmed by the world-building, in general. I never got a good sense of where I was or what Astoria looked like or even the hierarchy of their political system. Everyone threw around a "Goddess" all the time and how this one person of the royal line could become the Goddess (or something). This wasn't really explained well (or I didn't grasp it). I also didn't the significance or the true heir's touch not rusting the crown. A lot of things surrounding the religion and the whole heir succession thing seemed too convenient and not fleshed out. 

I had a hard time with Ana, initially. Arguably I had a hard time with her for the entire book. I *know*, teenagers are teenagers and don't I remember what I was like as a teen? Gee well that was only three years ago, and five years ago since I was seventeen. Ana is so irrational and impulsive - like maybe too much so? She seemed so over-the-top. And she's very selfish and knows she's selfish. Sadly, this trait really didn't get better as the book went on. You know how there is character development and such, in a book? I didn't see Ana getting less selfish, less irrational, less impulsive. I didn't hate her, but I didn't love her. I found it easier to root for the other characters. Perhaps her character will be further developed in the next book though. 

The ending, of course! The author turns a great character into a bad one, and that was heartbreaking. I know the idea is that the crew will try to save this character in book two, but it still made me sad.

In general, in terms of dislikes, I think my thoughts are that the world isn't anything unique or special in YA science fiction right now. YA sci-fi is inundated with space thrillers, and I can see them all blending together in my mind. This one was unique with all of the shippy romances! But the world and the story weren't super unique. 

Would I Recommend It:

I think this will be a fan favorite, for those who enjoy YA sci-fi. It isn't nearly as science-y as I'd expected, but it is set in space on various planets and moons, which is neat. There are several shippy romances and NO love triangles, which is awesome. The story is interesting and never boring, though it is a slow-burn type that works up to a very intense climax. I do recommend the book, but at the same time, for those who are curious but not dying to read it - wait until the next book publishes!  have no idea how long the series will be (or if there is even a second book contracted at this point) but I think there needs to be at least one more!


3.5 stars -> rounded down to 3 stars. Really it's 3.5 stars and my overall feelings toward the book are fairly positive. But I'm rounding down to 3 stars for now. It's a very long book and there are stretches of pages in which I felt like nothing was happening or was important. But I think the second book will be more exciting with higher stakes, especially with all of the curtains having fallen. I'm going to keep an eye out for that sequel!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Review: Beautiful Lawman by Sophie Jordan

Beautiful Lawman by Sophie Jordan
Book Four of the Devil's Rock series
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 26, 2017
Rating: 5 stars
Source: ARC sent by publicist

Summary (from Goodreads):

From the wrong side of the tracks and with most of her family in jail or dead, Piper Walsh is used to everyone in town thinking the worst about her. It doesn’t seem to matter that she’s worked hard to build a good life for herself. So she isn’t surprised that when she comes into contact with Sweet Hill’s wildly irresistible, arrogant sheriff, Hale Walters, they’re instant adversaries. Piper has nothing in common with the town golden-boy-turned-lawman—and she refuses to be a notch on his bedpost.

Despite rumors, Hale avoids fooling around with the women of Sweet Hill, many of whom are hoping to get him to the altar. But staying out of Piper’s path is proving near impossible. The infuriating troublemaker clearly has no respect for his badge. As she continues to push his buttons, it becomes clear to Hale that he must either arrest Piper—or claim her as his own.

What I Liked:

I've been extremely excited about this book ever since I'd heard that Jordan was contracted to write more books in the series. I'd read the first three books and absolutely loved them, especially the third one, which introduced us to Piper. There is one single interaction between Piper and Hale in Fury on Fire, and it's hilarious because Piper dumps ice water all over Hale's lap at the club she works at. Beautiful Lawman is Hale and Piper's story and it does not disappoint.

Piper Walsh is used to having a certain reputation, thanks to other members of her family. No one will hire her, so she's stuck working the bar at a club - which she hates. She has never had to do anything other than serve drinks, but she needs more money if she is going to continue to support her fifteen-year-old sister and herself. Hale Walters is the town sheriff who seems to have it in for Piper. To him, Piper is a troublemaker who keeps popping up on his radar. Neither of them want to admit it at first, but there is a simmering attraction between. They might dance around each other and infuriate each other, but there's no denying their need for each other.

Friends, this was such a good romance story. Some tropes: enemies to lovers, damsel in distress (kind of?). I personally don't mind the damsel in distress trope at all - sometimes, a girl needs saving and a guy is perfect for the job. We can't always save ourselves, and even if we can, it's nice that someone else is there to do so.

And the enemies to lovers trope - definitely one of my favorites! There's something about the animosity and the bickering and the tension that is so fun to read. All of that negative passion becoming positively charged passion can be exciting. Jordan pulls that off perfectly, in this book!

Hale was kind of a jerk in Fury on Fire, but not in an unforgivable way. He was clearly looking out for his sister Faith, and I can't fault him for that. In this book, he still has his golden-boy, commanding demeanor, but we see a lot more to him than his looks and his authoritative figure. He's a genuinely good guy, even if he completely misjudged Piper.

Piper is a sweetheart! She seems prickly on the outside, but she has a soft, good heart. She would do anything for her little sister, and didn't hesitate to raise her, even though she's almost as young as her sister. Piper hates her job and hates what she might have to do eventually, but she is a hard worker and a tough girl. Slowly, Hale sees the rose behind the thorns.

These two together are incredibly satisfying to watch! They butt heads every time and it seems like they don't get along. What is it about Piper that frustrates Hale? What is it about Hale that Piper can't seem to shake? I love this kind of slow-burn, antagonistic romance. The chemistry is seriously scorching, and this is probably one of the hottest books in the series. Great tension, great build-up.

But I also liked watching them fall for each other. It was sweet, seeing Hale "rescue" Piper time and again. To me it was lovely because Piper was so used to doing everything by herself, and doing everything for her sister. She needed someone to look out for and care for her, and Hale was there. Hale needed someone to push his buttons and rattle him, and that was Piper.

There is very little drama to this book, even at the climax. I was so happy about this because drama can ruin a book. No love triangles, no past boyfriend/girlfriend issues, no cheating, no surprise pregnancies. Definitely my kind of romance novel!

The ending was excellent! Endings of romance novels usually are, but this one was especially so. It kind of hints at the fifth book? Which I'm excited about. I hope the fifth book will be about Cruz, Piper's older brother!

What I Did Not Like:

I guess I only wish that the book was longer! I loved Hale and Piper's dynamic.

Would I Recommend It:

I really REALLY recommend this book, of all of the books in the series. This one is probably my favorite. It was steamy hot and so sweet and I have reread it several times already. I also recommend the other books in the series, especially Fury on Fire, but if you read any book from the series, try this one! Super hot contemporary romance, friends.


5 stars. A rare 5 stars from me. Jordan's contemporary romance stories keep getting better and better. She really digs into her characters and brings out their flaws and their good qualities, and she masterfully pieces together the romance between the characters. I am so hoping there will be a fifth book about Cruz and some lucky lady!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (#256)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, November 12th to Saturday, November 18th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

Thank you, Macmillan! I've been hearing about To Kill a Kingdom so I'm really excited about that one.

Isn't this neat?! I love the box! I'll post more pictures on Instagram. The box is super cool and the book sounds fantastic!

From NetGalley:


Thank you, HMH Teen and Macmillan!

Reviews from this week:

(Click on the covers to go to my reviews!)

Giveaways from this week:

Favorite Instagram post from this week:

A post shared by Alyssa (@theeaterofbooks) on

This week was wonderful! Mostly because of Man Bun Guy. If you're following me on Twitter, you'll see my latest updates (I use #ManBunGuy). He is a sweetheart! Aaaaaaaand Friday was pretty exciting. I need to share Friday's story but I've got some additions!

On last week's STS post, I shared parts one and two. This week I'm sharing parts three and four! I'll share the events from Friday soon. I'm busy with Thanksgiving prep, unfortunately!