The Blonde Bookworm

Art Boss by Kayla Cagan -- Review

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Title: Art Boss 
Author: Kayla Cagan 
Pages: 384
Publishing: October 2nd 2018 by Chronicle Books


Artist Piper Perish has moved from her hometown of Houston, Texas, to New York City. Her days are spent exploring; her nights are filled with painting. It's her lifelong dream come true . . . . Except life in the city isn't as glamorous as it looks from afar. Piper's high-pressure work as an assistant to a famous modern artist takes away time from her own art. And Piper's new friend Grace, a budding activist, has Piper beginning to wonder if making great art is really enough.

In a story that stands alone but can be read as a companion novel to Piper Perish, acclaimed author Kayla Cagan returns with Piper's powerful and utterly authentic journey of growing up into a strong, independent young woman—as she learns how to make life about art, and how to make that art matter. Art Boss will have readers asking big questions along with Piper. What is art for? What can art do? And how can a young artist change the world?


I LOVED Piper Perish so I was really excited when Chronicle sent me a copy of Art Boss. I was so excited to see where Piper's career would take her in New York! unfortunately, it fell a little flat for me. I felt like Piper's character was a little more annoying than I remembered and I felt like she complained a lot. I wasn't a huge fan of the other characters either. The drama between Piper and the other characters felt a little forced and silly. 

All in all, it was entertaining enough, but it just didn't keep my attention. I think if Piper's character was toned down a little, I might have enjoyed it more. Thank you to Chronicle Books and NetGalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 


Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean -- Review

Monday, January 21, 2019

Title: Empress of All Seasons
Author: Emiko Jean
Pages: 384
Publishing: November 6th 2018 by HMH Books for Young Readers


In a palace of illusions, nothing is what it seems.

Each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. All are eligible to compete—all except yōkai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy. 

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren't hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yōkai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yōkai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro, and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku in this beautifully written, edge-of-your-seat YA fantasy.


I absolutely loved all of the Japanese elements of this novel and felt that those cultural elements really helped this novel stand out. The characters were a lot of fun and I kept finding myself turning the pages faster and faster. I loved all of the excitement and how action packed the novel was from start to finish. 

There were a few portions of the novel that felt a little jumpy at times and I would have liked to see a few more unique elements to the plot. All in all, it was a surprisingly fun and entertaining read and I would recommend it to readers who enjoy YA fantasy. Thank you to HMH Young Readers and Netgalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3/5 

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen -- Review

Title: An Anonymous Girl
Author: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Pages: 375
Publishing: January 8th 2019 by St. Martin's Press


The next novel of psychological suspense and obsession from the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us.

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

From the authors of the blockbuster bestseller The Wife Between Us comes an electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.


An Anonymous Girl was a very interesting read, and it definitely held my attention! There weren't really any bad points to the novel, but there wasn't really anything that truly stuck out to me either. It was entertaining and fun and I enjoyed it while I was reading, but it seems like one of those novels that I won't really remember reading a few months down the road. I liked the characters and the plot, but it just didn't jump out at me. 

With that said, I really enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it to thriller/suspense readers. Just because the story wasn't super memorable doesn't mean it wasn't an entertaining read! Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for sending this novel in exchange for and honest review.

Rating 3/5

My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren -- Review

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Title: My Favorite Half-Night Stand 
Author: Christina Lauren 
Pages: 384
Publishing: December 4th 2018 by Gallery Books


Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.


Ya'll... I keep thinking that one day I'm going to be totally let down by one of Christina Lauren's books, BUT TODAY WAS NOT THAT DAY! My Favorite Half-Night Stand was laugh out loud funny and had me turning pages late into the night. I absolutely loved the characters and felt like they were a mix between Friends and The Big Bang Theory. I looooooved his novel! 

From the very first page, I knew I was going to love Millie. What I didn't realize was how much I was going to love every single freaking character. They were all loveable and so entertaining. I enjoyed the chat convos between the group and I felt like that mixed media added a little extra something to the novel. This was hands down my favorite Christina Lauren novel and I would highly recommend it. Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 5/5

The Christmas Sisters by Sarah Morgan -- Review

Title: The Christmas Sisters 
Author: Sarah Morgan 
Pages: 416
Publishing: September 25th 2018 by HQN Book


In the snowy Highlands of Scotland, Suzanne McBride is dreaming of the perfect cozy Christmas. Her three adopted daughters are coming home for the holidays and she can’t wait to see them. But tensions are running high…

Workaholic Hannah knows she can’t avoid spending the holidays with her family two years in a row. But it’s not the weight of their expectations that’s panicking her—it’s the life-changing secret she’s hiding. Stay-at-home mom Beth is having a personal crisis. All she wants for Christmas is time to decide if she’s ready to return to work—seeing everyone was supposed to help her stress levels, not increase them! Posy isn’t sure she’s living her best life, but with her parents depending on her, making a change seems risky. But not as risky as falling for gorgeous new neighbor Luke…

As Suzanne’s dreams of the perfect McBride Christmas unravel, she must rely on the magic of the season to bring her daughters together. But will this new togetherness teach the sisters that their close-knit bond is strong enough to withstand anything—including a family Christmas?


This novel is THE perfect Christmas read. I love snuggling up on the couch with a good book during the holidays and this novel is exactly what I would want to grab on a cold winter night. The characters were realistic and I felt that their stories were so relatable. I also loved the setting of the novel and I think it played into that Christmas vibe that made you want to curl up next to a fire. 

If you are a fan of classic Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas movies, you will absolutely love this novel. The setting was gorgeous, the characters were fun, and the story was fast paced. I highly recommend this novel and would definitely read more from Sarah Morgan. Thank you to NetGalley and HQN for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 

The Wicked King by Holly Black -- Review

Title: The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black 
Pages: 336
Publishing: January 8th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.


I have been looking forward to this book for a full year. And it did NOT let me down. The politics, the lust, the DRAMA! I seriously loved this novel from start to finish and I can't say enough amazing things about it. I absolutely loved the characters and I felt connected to each of them more than I did in the first novel. 

The setting was amazing and I loved how I was constantly guessing what would happen next and who would betray the other first. There was so much drama and politics that I was flipping the pages faster than I could read them. The novel was over way too fast and now I'm left with such a horrible book hangover than I can't stand it! If you're into gorgeous settings, dramatic plots, and uniquely complex characters, this novel is definitely for you. Thank you so much to The NOVL for sending this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5

Watching You by Lisa Jewell -- Review

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Title: Watching You
Author: Lisa Jewell
Pages: 320
Publishing: December 26th 2018 by Atria Books 


Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…


TOTALLY DIDN'T SEE THIS COMING! I like to pride myself on the fact that I can generally figure out most suspense novels before the end, but this one definitely caught me off guard. I had a little bit of a tough time initially getting into the novel, but about 50 pages in I was hooked and couldn't put it down. The characters are all unique and interesting and the plot was twisty and full of suspense. 

I am a huge fan of Lisa Jewell and this novel just adds to my love for her writing. It was fast paced, unique, and had me guessing on every page. I would highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy suspense novels and other Lisa Jewell books. Thank you to Atria and NetGalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5  
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