October 31, 2017

The One Where I Wander Back in the Sphere


It's been a busy three weeks for me and though I'm mostly exhausted by the end of the day, I've never felt more energized.

  • Work is exhausting. If you'll allow me to gripe for a little bit, it's so hard to be effective and effecient in a job that doesn't inspire you. I'm looking for a new one, but with the holidays almost here, the search is becoming a challenge. So I'm "sucking it" at the moment.

  • So to relieve some of my stress and aggression, I decided to join the gym and I'm sore in places I ever knew existed! It's not fun to be out of shape and the only advice I can give to my younger self is: STAY ACTIVE! 

  • Fall is my favorite season and my social calendar is relatively busy with social outings. We went to two beer fest, the last one being the Bacon & Beer one. This is by far our favorite because, hello! ALL YOU CAN EAT BACON (and a few bacon infused dishes)! And because it won't be Fall without a pumpkins we also went to a pumpkin and chili fest last weekend. 

  • My knitting have also vastly improved and I've finished a leg warmer, working on starting the right one soon.

  • And oh, I got engaged! So we've been busy doing our rounds, visiting and celebrating with friends and family.

The bookworm in me is feeling guilty for neglecting my bookish duties and that includes blogging. That said, with the weather getting cooler everyday, I'm hoping I'll find the time to curl up with a good story versus just stealing an hour or two here and there. Meanwhile, below is an abbreviated view of my book list:

  • Tumanbay S2 (Podcast): I absolutely love this podcast, it's radio drama at it's finest! The best part is the show releases an average of two episodes every week so it's easy to keep up with the story. The cast and sound effects are perfection and the plot is fast paced. It's definitely worth listening to.

  • Anna Series by Kendare Blake (Audio | YA): After being so enamored by KBlake's Three Dark Crowns series, I realized I missed out on Anna. Everyone's told me this is an amazingly terrifying series. Although it wasn't as horrific as I thought it would be, perhaps the audio softened up the imagery, Anna and Cas' unconventional love story won me over. This is the perfect Halloween series, maybe next year I'll dress up as Anna. 

  • Jasper Dent Series by Barry Lyga (Audio | YA): Another series that I've always wanted to finish. This series is brilliant, clever, frustrating, and utterly captivating. Someone should turn this into a series, definitely.

I aslo read, The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine which is deliciously devious; The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace is weird, earthy, and extraordinarily tragic; The Chesapeake Bride by Mariah Stewart id easy and romantic; The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis is hard to peg but a totally fantastic read; and currently working on The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlaine, it's a little slow but I'm hoping the story will eventually come together. Hopefully I'll find the time to post a more lengthy review for these books because they deserve the attention even if my spotlight is small.

I hope you enjoy your candies and costumes today, be safe and stay warm folks!

Talk Supe

October 1, 2017

Gush & Gripe: At My Knits End coz #FantasyFootball

How is everyone's weekend going so far? I hope it's restful, uneventful, and chill.

Mine's... lively.

I joined a Fantasy Football League just for fun and I didn't realize how intense it could be. I don't know much about football but I find myself stalking my team and getting competitive with each week. Also, my league's group chat gets very interesting on Sundays, lots of taunting and trash talking, it's sometimes more entertaining than the actual games. My point is I want to win the league and make bank! I could always use the extra cash to get books and yarn.

Yes, yarn coz I also took up knitting.

September 19, 2017

Listened & Loved: SuperSoul Conversations, Tanis, Rabbits, Tumanbay Podcasts

Hey there Supies! How's the last been? It's been a whirlwind for sure what with all the hurricanes and political storms that are filling our news feeds lately, current events have become more compelling than any fiction I currently have. You just can't write a lot of these shit up! In between breaking news alerts, I've been enmeshed in podcasts, toggling from one show to the next, mixing fiction and non-fiction depending on my mood.

September 12, 2017

Loved It: Of Flame and Light by Cecy Robson + Midnight Texas

I guess lightning doesn't strike twice.

At least IMHO as far as Charlaine Harris' Midnight Texas is concerned. I haven't read the books so I can't say if the TV series is faithful to the series or not. But the boob tube version is mediocre at best. The first two episodes were good then it was a just a slow decline for me from there. I love the storyline of the psychic, Manfred Bernardo, but the rest of the cast felt so bland to me, supernatural or not. Also, there's always a LOT going on that you're in this constant level of excitement and that becomes your normal. There are no high and lows and the lack of build-up stunts the suspense factor. Again, I haven't read the books so I don't know if it's the same and if it is, that would not be my cup of tea. I could hardly keep up with the events in the TV series, visual aids and all, I'm sure I'll feel lost reading it. 

September 7, 2017

Shots of YA: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake + Nashville Cocktails

What's your poison? 

I can't remember the number of times I've been asked this question. And just to be clear, I'm referring to alcohol (say NO to drugs, kids!) and since I've started dieting, I have to abstain from craft beers and drink liquor if I want to partake. I'm not a SHOTS! girl, now that I have a 21yo, I can't risk being turned into a meme so cocktails it is!

August 30, 2017

Cozied Up This Summer with Tonya Kappes, Maia Chance, Chrystle Fiedler, & Carrie Doyle

Wilson County Fair 2017
Lebanon, TN

Summer. I have a love and hate relationship with this season. I love how it almost automatically makes everyone peppy, basking in the warmth of the sun before the long, cold days of Winter rolls in. We got lucky here in Middle Tennessee, this Summer isn't as punishingly hot as the previous ones however that also drew in a LOT of tourists. Great for out state's economy, but navigating the city has become an effing bitch because of the traffic. 

As the adage goes: "if you can't beat them, join them!", so join them I did! One weekend I played tourist in the bustling city of Nashville and signed up for a Scavenger Hunt, not only did I learn some fascinating trivia about my town, I also discovered new hideaways. I strongly recommend you guys do this whether you're visiting a new city or want to get reacquainted with your own. Also, check Groupon first, that's where I got my ticket and there's a variety of hunts you can do. 

Reading wise, I've been at a turtle pace. I don't necessarily think I'm in a slump, I just felt a strong disinterest for books in the past few weeks. Ghastly I know, I promise you I was extremely frustrated because I was afraid that I'm turning into a non-reading person! Eep! In any case, I managed to read a few cozies and below's the rundown:

FIXIN' TO DIE by Tonya Kappes 
(Kenni Lowry 1 | 2016 | Henry Press)
I love Tonya Kappes and it's a no-brainer that I have to meet Sherriff Kenni Lowry. I had fun with Fixin' To Die and getting acquainted with Kenni's little Kentucky town as well as her quirky neighbors. The romantic tangent here is delicious too! I'll be following Kenni's dating adventures for sure. At the moment, TKappes' Ghostly Southern Mysteries still remain as my favorite, I find Emma Lee and her town of Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky more developed and full-bodied than Kenni Lowry. Then again, this is just the first of the series so my opinion might change as I continue on with the series.

(Discreet Retrieval Agency | 2015 | Minotaur Books)
Thanks Sophia (fellow blogger who you'll find moonlighting everywhere these days) for featuring this! 

Come Hell or Highball is my first Maia Chance and I absolutely love our first date! This series is set during the Prohibition era featuring a widow who's forced to utilize her snooping skills as a detective for hire to survive and pay off her bills and debts after her rich husband left her with nothing. This series is perfect for fans of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries what with its family drama, unique fashion, hifalutin lifestyles, high society intrigues, and scandalous murders. Lola Woodby will captivate you with her charm while her trusty sidekick and Swedish cook, Berta, will have you chuckling thanks to her dry sense of humor.

DANDELION DEAD by Chrystle Fiedler 
(A Natural Remedies Mystery 4 | 2016 | Pocket Books)
This is my second book in this series and it's yet to win me over. If the characters were real people, I would be delighted to have them as my friends or neighbor, but as fictional characters, they're a little too normal for my taste. Even the threat of a killer on the loose doesn't incite strong emotions from me. What's cool about this series though is all the trivia about herbs and plants and their therapeutic and medicinal properties. Other than that, I'm passing up on the rest of the books.

(2016 | Dunemere Books)
I binge-read this series and to be honest, Antonia Bingham didn't impress me. She's cute but her character was a little dry in the beginning. But her earnestness and mild naivete managed to charm me and now I'm a fan! Antonia Bingham is a foodie AND curvy so that made her accessible to me. 

Antonia is a busy bee so there's always something going on in her world whether it's flirting with a movie star, going on double dates with her bestie, managing her thriving inn, fending off unwanted advances from a local reporter, or investigating a murder, Antonia will keep your attention and will continue to entertain you. I'm a little wary of the brewing romance between Antonia and her movie star suitor, it's bordering on douchey as he's still married (on the rocks) and is already "courting" Antonia. I'm sure it's going to work out but it's not the best prelude and failed to give me the feels. Highly anticipating the next one to see how it goes down.

The cover arts are linked to its Goodreads 
page for your perusal at your liesure.

Talk Supe

August 28, 2017

Shelley Liked: Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews

Series: Standalone
Format: Hardcover | 272 pages
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Griffin Teen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult Fiction | Ghost Stories

A recently deceased girl must solve her own murder in order to escape purgatory.Sixteen year-old Echo Stone awakens in a cold sweat in a dark room, having no idea where she is or how she got there. But she soon finds out she’s in Middle House, an orphanage filled with mysteriously troubled kids.

There’s just one problem: she’s not an orphan. Her parents are very much alive.

She explains this to everyone, but no one will listen. After befriending a sympathetic (and handsome) boy, Echo is able to escape Middle House and rush home, only to discover it sealed off by crime scene tape and covered in the evidence of a terrible and violent crime. As Echo grapples with this world-shattering information, she spots her parents driving by and rushes to flag them down. Standing in the middle of street, waving her arms to get their attention, her parents’ car drives right through her.

She was right. Her parents are alive—but she’s not.

She’s a ghost, just like all the other denizens of Middle House. Desperate to somehow get her life back and reconnect with her still-alive boyfriend, Echo embarks on a quest to solve her own murder. As the list of suspects grows, the quest evolves into a journey of self-discovery in which she learns she wasn’t quite the girl she thought she was. In a twist of fate, she’s presented with one last chance to reclaim her life and must make a decision which will either haunt her or bless her forever.

Temple Mathews' BAD GIRL GONE is a young adult, paranormal ghost story featuring 16 year old Echo Stone. Echo wakes up in a place called Middle House. She has been told it is a place for orphans, but Echo isn't an orphan. She has a mother and father, and is out to prove everyone wrong. Especially the rude and obnoxious teens who taunt, and make her life a living hell upon her arrival. Echo flees from the House, and makes her way home. After arriving home, she discovers crime scene tape. Something bad definitely happened here, but what? 

Echo learns that she has ended up in Middle House (purgatory). It's a place for those who have been murdered to find their own brands of justice before moving on to the next plane of existence. Those who are murdered, including Echo, have zero memories of what happened to them because their soul consciousness shattered. When people die a normal death, they are surrounded by loved ones. Usually. The path from mortal life to the next life therefore is much easier. But, when you are murdered, killed in cold blood, it's radically different. Everyone at the Middle House has experienced trauma. Everyone is looking for the person who killed them. Nobody can move on until that happens.

August 23, 2017

Shelley Liked: Give Me a K-I-L-L by R.L. Stine

Series: Fear Street Relaunch 6
Format: Hardcover | 281 pages
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Thomas Dunne | St. Martin's
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult | Mystery | Horror

The sixth new book in the re-launch of R.L. Stine’s bestselling Fear Street series, which has sold more than 80 million copies around the world.

At Shadyside High, cheerleading can be a scream!

For the first time since the original series, R.L. Stine brings back his most beloved characters—the cheerleaders of Shadyside High.

The cheerleading squad at Shadyside has always been strong, but now there are rumors that lack of funds may mean the end of cheerleading at Shadyside. That would be a shame for Gretchen Page, who has just transferred from her old school, where she was a star, and is eager to join the squad. There’s only one other girl who stands in her way—rich, spoiled Devra Dalby, who is also trying out for the one open slot. The competition to join the squad is anything but friendly—and it ends in murder. Will Gretchen make the squad—if there's even a squad anymore—or will she end up dead?

Packed with screams and guaranteed to send a shiver up your spine, this is a terrifying installment in Stine's bestselling Fear Street series.

GIVE ME A K-I-L-L is the 6th installment in author R.L. Stine's Fear Street Relaunch series. Meet protagonist Gretchen Page, new to Shadyside High School. As the new kid in school, Gretchen has to prove herself, especially when it comes to joining the cheerleading squad which has already proven they belong among the best. In her old school of Savanna Mills HS, Gretchen was the best cheerleader on her squad. But, after a divorce, she and her mother move to Fear Street.

August 16, 2017

Suped Up: Irresistible You by Kate Meader

Series: Chicago Rebels 1
Format: ARC
Release Date: August 15, 2017 
Publisher: Pocket Star
Source: Publisher 
Genre: Sports Romance (Hockey)

Irresistible You kicks of the all new, scorching Chicago Rebels hockey series by Kate Meader, featuring her signature “steamy sex scenes, colorful characters, and riveting dialogue” (Romantic Times). Three estranged sisters inherit their late father’s failing hockey franchise and are forced to confront a man’s world, their family’s demons, and the battle-hardened ice warriors skating into their hearts.

Harper Chase has just become the most powerful woman in the NHL after the death of her father Clifford Chase, maverick owner of the Chicago Rebels. But the team is a hot mess—underfunded, overweight, and close to tapping out of the league. Hell-bent on turning the luckless franchise around, Harper won’t let anything stand in her way. Not her gender, not her sisters, and especially not a veteran player with an attitude problem and a smoldering gaze designed to melt her ice-compacted defenses.

Veteran center Remy “Jinx” DuPre is on the downside of a career that’s seen him win big sponsorships, fans’ hearts, and more than a few notches on his stick. Only one goal has eluded him: the Stanley Cup. Sure, he’s been labeled as the unluckiest guy in the league, but with his recent streak of good play, he knows this is his year. So why the hell is he being shunted off to a failing hockey franchise run by a ball-buster in heels? And is she seriously expecting him to lead her band of misfit losers to a coveted spot in the playoffs?

He’d have a better chance of leading Harper on a merry skate to his bed…

Sports has never been an area of interest for me. It's always been a need-to-know like if something major is happening like the Olympics then I will follow and even then, I won't go beyond the trivial stuff. Then I met my BF who is a HUGE sports fan! And so my "formal education" in sports began and I found myself falling in love with hockey. 

If you follow the sport or is a fan of some celebrity who is married to a hockey player, you probably heard that our home team, The Nashville Predators, made it to the Stanley Cup this year. Sadly we didn't win but the team's Cinderella season turned huge so much so that major news networks are covering the event and the street where the arena is now called (unofficially) Smashville.

August 9, 2017

A Shot of YA: The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May

Series: The Falconer 3
Format: eGalley
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Sci-Fi | Fantasy | Steampunk

The long-awaited final book in the Falconer trilogy is an imaginative tour-de-force that will thrill fans of the series. Aileana Kameron, resurrected by ancient fae magic, returns to the world she once knew with no memory of her past and with dangerous powers she struggles to control. Desperate to break the curse that pits two factions of the fae against each other in a struggle that will decide the fate of the human and fae worlds, her only hope is hidden in an ancient book guarded by the legendary Morrigan, a faery of immense power and cruelty. To save the world and the people she loves, Aileana must learn to harness her dark new powers even as they are slowly destroying her. Packed with immersive detail, action, romance, and fae lore, and publishing simultaneously in the UK, The Fallen Kingdom brings the Falconer's story to an epic and unforgettable conclusion.

The Falconer, one of the best YA fantasy series that deserves more coverage and hype IMHO. What is The Falconer about? Set in 19th century Scotland, the series has a fae-based myth revolving around the infamous Wild Hunt, the never ending war between the Seelie and Unseelie, and how the survival of the world lies on a human girl called The Falconer. 

To be fair, the bones of this series is familiar with tropes like forbidden love, class (creature) inequality, friends-lovers-enemies, etc., we've all reead this kind of plot at least once so a fair question to ask is what makes it stand out from the rest? I honestly don't have a specific answer for you except for how Elizabeth May portioned the elements of the story. Like for example, the romantic element is made stronger by muting the passion between the leads and replacing it with undying faith and loyalty; Or the deliberate demonstrations of everlasting friendship, and duty to one's purpose, or how unflinching Aileana is when faced with important decisions and difficult choices like choosing her own happiness or forfeit that for the sake of peace and everyone's survival. The human element especially in this last installment, THE FALLEN KINGDOM, is written so deliberate that even the most desensitized reader will be reduced to mush.

And perhaps the most stunning and possibly my favorite part of this series is how EMay didn't shy away from devastating her readers be it from a character dying or total annihilation. This author is as cutthroat as her villains when it comes to character development which, IMO, is that one thing that gives The Falconer a leg up from the rest of its contemporaries or at least puts it in the same category as one of the best out there.

To close it off, THE FALLEN KINGDOM concluded The Falconer series perfectly. I cheered, I was nervous and anxious, I loved, laughed, and even cried! And though this ended happily, it came at such a high cost that I took the HEA as nothing but a well deserved ending for everyone.

Talk Supe

August 2, 2017

Bourbon, Gypsy, & The Red by Tiffany Reisz

So is it me or is Bourbon (the liquor) everywhere from books like J.R. Ward (has any of you read Devil's Cut?) and Tiffany Reisz, to TV. Even my favorite liquor store has stocked up on different kinds of Bourbon!

July 27, 2017

Gush & Gripe: That Time When I Went AWOL Again

You can get this at Etsy
Hey, friends of Talk Supe! It's been a while, I know, so many things going on so I thought I'd catch you up some on what I've been up to lately.

Simply put: life is great! The downside is Talk Supe is pushed to the wayside. I apologize for ghosting, but I don't feel guilty because I've earned this season in my life.

Short backstory: the past 7 years have been a trial where I was constantly comparing (and inspiring) myself to Job. It was chaotic, to say the least, and because I have a wild streak (party like a rockstar), I consciously chose to live like a hermit, cut myself off from my friends, focused on my mental health and swore off anything "fun". So I chose to seek solace in books and eventually found my way to Talk Supe.

It's been quite the journey, but boy, when my lessons were done, Life came for me hard and it came bearing gifts, confetti, and lots of craft beer. Craft beer is my new thing now, sours and barrel-aged being my top favorites. Oh and Bourbon too! All those Bourbon books got me curious & now I'm a little hooked!

Right now: I'm still reading and I'm currently collating the books I've read and will review, but a hermit I am not anymore. Surrounded by the right people in the right environment, I'm now social again. And in my brief hiatus I've also pondered how I'm going to incorporate Talk Supe into this phase in my life and as of now, it'll be a mix of books and life stuff. Don't worry, this isn't going to be "that" kind of blog, rather there will be more personal posts like this and mostly because this happiness I'm experiencing right now is overwhelming and I just have to be obnoxious about it once in a while. The Universe is a tough teacher, but it's the best too!

I apologize in advance for future silly posts. Then again I'm not guilty. I worked for this and I earned it.

Thanks again for your continued patronage and support. I love you guys!

Talk Supe

July 10, 2017

Suped Up: Soul Redeemed by Keri Lake

Series: Sons of Wrath 4
Format: Mobi
Release Date: June 27, 2017 
Publisher: Self
Source: Author
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Being half incubus sucks sometimes. Sure, the sex is great, but getting hounded by females gets old pretty fast. Especially when the only one Calix cares about has gone missing, propelling him into a downward spiral of depression and abstinence.

Trapped by a wannabe mad scientist inside a nightmare of her own, Ava longs to be free, even if it means going back to the only male she regrets having betrayed. All she needs is a single opportunity to lead the way.

Calix should hate Ava for the way she deceived him and his brothers. Yet, when she shows up looking like she’s been through a hell of her own, the sweet relief over her return battles the bitter sting of her betrayal, and Calix can’t bring himself to turn her away. Not to mention, an incubus who’s starved himself of sex for too long is a detriment to everyone—including his brothers—and the way Ava commands his body is exactly the release he needs.

Unfortunately, thanks to the lunatic who held her captive, she’s now a walking death trap to any male that tries to bed her. But danger is closing in, placing Ava’s life in jeopardy, and if Calix doesn’t find a way to control his virile urges, he might just be her deadliest threat.

First of all, thank you, Keri Lake, for granting me an ARC AND for being patient. The short of it is I've been too busy to even take a break so my reading pace and my blogging activities have come into a slow crawl.

On to SOUL REDEEMED, Sons of Wrath 4, that's years overdue! From my rating it was obviously worth the wait. This installment has the right amount of everything and a whole lot of sexy.

July 7, 2017

Shelley Loved: Dead in the Water by Hailey Edwards

Series: Gemini 1 
Format: Kindle | 188 pages
Release Date: January 30, 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital Svcs 
Source: Amazon
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Camille Ellis is the Earthen Conclave’s golden girl. Her peculiar talent solves cases with a touch. She isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty, but every bright star casts a shadow, and her deepest scars lurk just beneath the skin.
A routine consultation goes sideways when a victim’s brother gets involved in the investigation. Riding the edge of grief, the warg will go to any lengths to avenge his sister’s death. Even if it means ensuring Cam’s cooperation at the jaws of his wolf.

When the killer strikes again, Cam is caught between a warg and a hard place. To save the next victim, she must embrace her past. Even if it means dragging her darkest secrets into the light of day.

DEAD IN THE WATER is the first installment in author Hailey Edwards Gemini series. DEAD IN THE WATER is set in the same universe as the Black Dog series which means that there are several characters who will make an appearance. While some have recommended that you read Thierry Thackeray's series first, I truly believe that you can get through these first three books in the Gemini series without having to go back and reading Thierry's story. The first three books of the Gemini series (there are 6) follows Protagonist Camille Ellis.

July 2, 2017

Suped Up: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswall

Series: Standalone
Format: eGalley via Edelweiss
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher
Genre: Women's Fiction

A lively, sexy, and thought-provoking East-meets-West story about community, friendship, and women’s lives at all ages—a spicy and alluring mix of Together Tea and Calendar Girls.

Every woman has a secret life...

Nikki lives in cosmopolitan West London, where she tends bar at the local pub. The daughter of Indian immigrants, she’s spent most of her twenty-odd years distancing herself from the traditional Sikh community of her childhood, preferring a more independent (that is, Western) life. When her father’s death leaves the family financially strapped, Nikki, a law school dropout, impulsively takes a job teaching a "creative writing" course at the community center in the beating heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community.

Because of a miscommunication, the proper Sikh widows who show up are expecting to learn basic English literacy, not the art of short-story writing. When one of the widows finds a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class, Nikki realizes that beneath their white dupattas, her students have a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express their untold stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected—and exciting—kind.

As more women are drawn to the class, Nikki warns her students to keep their work secret from the Brotherhood, a group of highly conservative young men who have appointed themselves the community’s "moral police." But when the widows’ gossip offers shocking insights into the death of a young wife—a modern woman like Nikki—and some of the class erotica is shared among friends, it sparks a scandal that threatens them all.

Looking for something different to read? Well how about you pick up Balli Kaur Jaswal's EROTIC STORIES FOR PUNJABI WIDOWS. It's a breath of fresh air, a palate cleanser, and a totally entertaining read that's sexy, heartwarming, and oozing with girl power. 

June 29, 2017

Suped Up: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Series: Standalone
Format: eGalley
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Atria
Source: Publisher

Genre: Women's Lit | Literary Fiction

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.

And it's a 2-0 for Taylor Jenkins Reid. Though not as wrenching as My First Two Loves, THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO drew me in and had me lost in Hollywood Icon Evelyn Hugo's desultory love life. Suffice to say that this was almost impossible to put down. It's subtle, very straightforward, and unintentionally romantic. Evelyn Hugo is an anti-heroine and she's quick to vilify herself, stressing that she's a calculating bitch who'll do what she has to do to get what she wants regardless of the means. 

And for all of Evelyn's awe inspiring life and love story, I also felt an overwhelming sadness, and at times anger towards her and on her behalf. TJReid didn't romanticize Hugo's flaws nor hid it behind the convenience of glamour of her status as a Hollywood icon, Evelyn is as human as you could possibly imagine, you could almost see her bleed through the pages. 

This novel is raw and emotionally grating, I felt challenged to find some redemptive quality of Hugo's to absolve her in the end. I could go wax poetic over how fantastic THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO is but where's the fun in that?! Aside from me boring you, I'd rather you read this for yourself and experience the magic that is Evelyn Hugo.

Talk Supe

June 27, 2017

Shelley Loved: Song of the Lioness Books 1 & 2 by Tamora Pierce

Series: Song of the Lioness 1
Format: Hardcover, 260 pages
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy

From Tamora Pierce, the first book in the Song of the Lioness Quartet, honored with the Margaret A. Edwards Award.

“From now on I’m Alan of Trebond, the younger twin. I’ll be a knight.”

In a time when girls are forbidden to be warriors, Alanna of Trebond wants nothing more than to be a knight of the realm of Tortall. So she finds a way to switch places with her twin brother, Thom. Disguised as a boy, Alanna begins her training as a page at the palace of King Roald. But the road to knighthood, as she discovers, is not an easy one. Alanna must master weapons, combat, and magic, as well as polite behavior, her temper, and even her own heart.

Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna’s first adventure begins—one that will lead to the fulfillment of her dreams and make her a legend in the land

ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE is the first installment in author Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness series. This is a series that was originally released nearly 30 years ago. The book I borrowed from my library was released in 2014. Set in the realm of Tortall, Alanna of Trebold is the main character. Alanna is a girl who wants to become a knight, while her twin brother Thom, wants to become a sorcerer. 

In this world, girls are sent to a convent called Daughters of the Goddess, while boys are sent to the King's court to learn how to be nobles of the Kingdom. This includes being trained as a page, squire, and later becoming a Knight of the Realm if they pass the grueling tests. When the story starts, Alanna is (8) years away from taking the challenge to become a Knight of the Realm. At the end of this story, Alanna has become a good student, who is fairly proficient with weapons, and can hold her own against almost anyone. 

June 23, 2017

Shelley Liked: If I'm Found by Terri Blackstock

Series: If I Run 2
Format: Hardcover | 384 pages
Release Date: March 21st 2017
Publisher: Zondervan
Source: Library
Genre: Thriller | Mystery

In this riveting sequel to the USA TODAY bestseller If I Run, evil lurks, drawing Casey out of the shadows . . . but there is light shining in the darkness.

Casey Cox is still on the run, fleeing prosecution for a murder she didn’t commit. Dylan Roberts—her most relentless pursuer—is still on her trail, but his secret emails insist he knows the truth and wants to help her. He’s let her escape before when he had her in his grasp, but trust doesn’t come easily.

As Casey works to collect evidence about the real murderers, she stumbles on another unbearable injustice: an abused child and a suicidal man who’s also been falsely accused. Casey risks her own safety to right this wrong and protect the little girl from her tormenters. But doing so is risky and may result in her capture—and if she’s captured, she has no doubt she’ll be murdered before she ever steps foot in a jail cell.

IF I'M FOUND is the second installment in author Terri Blackstock's If I Run trilogy. Picking up right where If I Run left off, Casey Cox is still on the run knowing full well that she is the key suspect in the murder of her best friend. With her DNA at the crime scene, the murder weapon found in her car, Casey knows that she is being set up by some very bad people, namely cops. After risking exposure to find a kidnapped girl, and barely walking away unscathed in If I Run, Casey is on the move. 

After changing her alias, again, Casey ends up investigating some really horrible people after an innocent man is accused of a very sick crime. Casey also ends up following a lead to the doorstep of a certain corrupt cops mistress and to the corrupt cop himself. One of the things that has been at the top of my list of things to like about this series, is Casey's determination to save others at the expense of being caught by the corrupt cops who continue to run her down. So, where does this lead Casey? To more trouble, to more people who need her help, to Dylan who has opened up Casey's eyes to faith, and to trusting that he is on her side without hesitation, or reservations.