Reviews

With This Heart by R.S. Grey

with this heart

 

official blurb
If someone had told me a year ago that I was about to fall in love, go on an epic road trip, ride a Triceratops, sing on a bar, and lose my virginity, I would have assumed they were on drugs. Well, that is, until I met Beckham.  Beck was mostly to blame for my recklessness. Gorgeous, clever, undeniably charming Beck barreled into my life as if it were his mission to make sure I never took living for granted. He showed me that there were no boundaries, rules were for the spineless, and a kiss was supposed to happen when I least expected. Beck was the plot twist that took me by surprise. Two months before I met him, death was knocking at my door. I’d all but given up my last scrap of hope when suddenly, I was given a second chance at life. This time around, I wasn’t going to let it slip through my fingers. We set out on a road trip with nothing to lose and no guarantees of tomorrow. Our road trip was about young, reckless love. The kind of love that burns bright. The kind of love that no road-map could bring me back from.

my blurb!
Never Been Kissed meets Return to Me in this steamy romcom.

5 out of 5                                                              4 out of 5 steam level

 

what i liked
Can you believe I finally read another romance novel other than The Hating Game and I gave it 5 stars?! I know, it’s hard to believe. Okay let’s get into what I loved about this book!
I am sucker for movies/ books like this. I loved Never Been Kissed and I loved Return to Me, so I was so into the whole plot of this book.  It even had a bit of an Elizabethtown vibe with the road trip involved.  (Okay you got me, I actually didn’t love Elizabethtown, but there was something rewatchable about that movie and I’m not sure why.)
Moving on! I loved Beck (I didn’t love this nickname however, and will be referring to him as his full name from here on out – Beckham…you know by this point that I’m a name snob).  I personally picture Beckham as Adam Brody.  He was random, and full of life, spontaneous and kind. As Abby said about Beckham in the book “It’s hard fighting relentlessly quirky charm.
Abby (who I had a hard time picturing but ended up with a young Kirsten Dunst), was innocent and brave. She was driven yet lost, heartbroken but understanding.  I loved them together! Great couple alert! Oh, there’s no siren noise for that? Hmm… we’re going to have to work on that as a society.  (Side note, I ended up chatting with the author about who she pictured for Abby.  I mean, feel free to fangirl with me for a moment about me just randomly chatting up Rachel [Author R.S. Grey’s name].  She had a full pinterest board full of amazing photos of Alison Sudol. Google her and then read the book!).
This book, like all of R.S. Grey’s books, had me laughing out loud.  Here’s a few quotes that had me smile giggling…

“So you’re a stalker?” I asked with a hard stare. He smirked a knees-turning-to-jelly kind of smirk. “I prefer gravitationally linked by your presence.”

“He had texted back quickly again, and in that moment I decided Gossip Girl wasn’t actually all that accurate considering they had cast thirty-year-olds to play high schoolers.”

While this book was just as funny as Grey’s books normally are, I would consider this a romdrom primarily.
I read this book in less that 48 hours and have thought of it many times since.  I am going to be super upset when my kindle unlimited subscription ends in a few months because I have loved reading all of R.S. Grey’s books through KU! I need to get them all on hard copy!

what i didn't like
I already told you I didn’t like Beckham’s nickname that I had to read the entire book. But to be fair, I am a book name snob.  There’s nothing about his name that is unappealing but for some reason I just really like the full name of Beckham so the nickname seemed to rob it of its awesomeness.
I also wasn’t sure what Beckham initially found so extremely appealing about Abby, luckily Grey included a chapter written from Beckham’s perspective at the end of the novel. So, while I found that a negative while I was reading the book, it was rectified in the end. Therefore no negative points in the con column for this book!

while reading you should
Do: Plan and go on a road trip!
Listen: to this playlist I created on spotify for this book!
Eat: a mouth-watering burger.

This book is REQUIRED READING for romance book lovers! To check out my full list, click here!

when to read
This book is best read in the summer during the hottest months.  But because it’s required reading, you can read it anytime!

DuxSignature smallercopy

Prince Caspian (The Chronicles of Narnia #4) by C.S. Lewis

prince caspian

4 out of 5

official blurb
The four Pevensies help Caspian battle Miraz and ascend his rightful throne. Narnia… the land between the lamp-post and the castle of Cair Paravel, where animals talk, where magical things happen… and where adventure begins. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are returning to boarding school when they are summoned from the dreary train station (by Susan’s own magic horn) to return to the land of Narnia—the land where they had ruled as kings and queens and where their help is desperately needed.

my blurb!
The siblings are back in Narnia after being summoned mysteriously.

what i liked
I really liked this book! This is the kind of book I was expecting when I started this series!
MAJOR shout out to Edmond, who in my mind is now the VIP of this series.  I know, I know, I hated him in LWW but he has redeemed himself greatly in my eyes.  And let me tell you, that rarely happens for me. Once I dislike a character, I’m committed to the act.  So props to Clive for some good writing.
I really liked the addition of Caspian- I loved seeing the siblings in Narnia again.

what i didn't like
The end of this book. Hmmmm.  Part of it was just a plot point that I didn’t appreciate.  If you’ve read it, you know that I’m talking about.  Rude, Clive! Rude!
The other aspect was that there was this super confusing greek/roman god section that had me so lost.  Upon researching, I realize that to the kids of the era, this would have made sense.  To 30 yr old, college educated me, it made little to no sense.

Overall, this book made me happy to be reading this series at all!  Which was a good feeling because after finishing THAHB, I was ready to quit this series.  Onto book #5!

while reading you should
Do: Sit by the fire and stay warm
Eat: A nice heart stew.
Listen to: The Planet Earth Soundrack

DuxSignature smallercopy

Make Me Bad by R.S. Grey

MakeMeBadEbookCover.png

 

official blurb
I was issued a warning: stay away from Ben Rosenberg. As Clifton Cove’s resident “king”, he thinks he’s entitled to anyone and anything.The trouble is, I’ve spent my whole life following the rules and playing it safe. I know what it feels like to be the good girl. I’m the police chief’s daughter and a librarian—for adorable children, no less. My wardrobe consists of colorful sundresses and baggy jeans. I might as well have a Post-it stuck to my forehead that reads: Yup, she’s a virgin.An all-nighter with a fictional hunk is about as exciting as my life gets, until one day, fate decides to take pity on me and shove me straight into the path of Mr. Off-Limits himself. Oof. Just as I suspected, every inch of him promises to be my demise. Up close, he’s tall, menacing, dangerously handsome—the type of man who’s never spent a single moment worrying about the opinions of others. A well-behaved girl would do as she’s told and avoid him at all costs, but I’m overdue for a little rebellion. No more Friday nights sprawled out on the couch in my comfiest pajamas. No more wishing I had the courage to misbehave. Everyone thinks Ben is going to ruin me. They think he’ll chew me up and spit me out.Well, Ben…go ahead. Tempt me. Taunt me. Make me bad.

my blurb!
An innocent girl (picture Mandy Moore in A Walk To Remember) decides she’s tired of  being so innocent.

5 out of 5

                                                                4 out of 5 steam level

 

what i liked
Did you know that I love R.S. Grey books? You did? Okay so I might’ve mentioned it a time or two, I get it.  But you cannot talk me out of laughing out loud from her romcoms!  And let me clarify that her romcoms are steamy, so if steam makes you blush feel free to skim those sections or live your life with an R.S. Grey shaped hole in it.  Dramatic? Fair enough.  Make Me Bad had me laughing out loud throughout the book.  The characters were crazy likable, I was rooting for them with every fiber of my fictional fandom.  They reminded me a little bit of a mixture of some of my favorite characters from The Winston Brothers series.   I read this book so quickly.  If I could have stayed up with no repercussions and finished it at 3am I would have, that’s how much I was enjoying it!  The plot was great, and I loved the friend group.  There were SO many good quotes but because I got an Advanced Readers Copy I won’t share them with you because I want you to experience the goodness for yourself.  Are you tired of me talking about how much I love an epilogue yet?  Too bad! In the words of Miley, I can’t stop won’t stop!   Shout out to the awesome epilogue written in this book! Also, do you know what people who love to read really love to read about? Librarians and Mr. Darcy.  It’s kind of like a total win situation when writers incorporate these aspects into their books.  And guess what?! R.S. Grey had both of these elements in MMB!  Have I peaked your interest yet? Are you ready to get this book and read it til your heart’s content?! Good!  Because this is Required Reading for Romance Lovers!  I will definitely be rereading it myself.  A little fun fact about this book is that there are some easter eggs from one of her previous books titled A Place In The Sun.  You don’t have to read that book first because the plots are not connected. But if you have read that book, keep your eyes peeled for some goodness popping out of the pages.

what i didn't like
Nothing! Go Read this book!

while reading you should
Do: Go bowling!
Listen to: This playlist on spotify
Eat: A cherry and try to tie it in a knot with your tongue.  Doesn’t it seem like all the “bad” girls in high school could do that?

DuxSignature smallercopy

Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey

hotshot doc

 

official blurb
Dr. Russell has a bad reputation around our hospital. The scrub techs say he’s cold-blooded, the nurses say he’s too cocky for his own good, and the residents say he’s the best surgeon in the world—really, just a swell guy!—on the off chance he’s within earshot. I try to avoid him and his temper at all costs. It’s just as easy to admire his sexy, grip-it-while-he’s ravishing-you hair and chiseled jaw from a healthy distance, preferably from the other end of the hallway half-hidden behind a plant. Unfortunately, my plan crumbles when my trusty ol’ boss decides to swap his white coat for a Hawaiian shirt. His retirement leaves me with two terrible options: switch specialties and spend months retraining, or take an open position as Dr. Russell’s surgical assistant. That means I have to stand near him in the OR for hours on end and anticipate his every need without letting his biting words and bad attitude intimidate me. Oh, and as if that’s not difficult enough, my silly crush on him—the one I’ve tried to stomp on until it disappears—might just be reciprocated. It’s fine. I’m fine. I take my job seriously. There will be no smoldering bedroom eyes across the operating table, no angry almost-kisses in the storage closet. (Well, no more of those.)What’s the phrase? An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Maybe I should go for a whole damn bushel.

my blurb!
A Grey’s Anatomy season one scenario- in hilarious book form.

4 out of 5                                                           4 out of 5 steam level too!

 

I finally picked up an RS Grey book at the end of my romance readathon (I know, that was like a full two months ago and I’m just sitting down to review it.  Gah!)  Who is R.S. Grey, you ask?  Well in the world of romance novels, she is the steamy romcom queen.  I’ve had her recommended to me 1000 times but when I got my new kindle for christmas, it came with a 6 month free subscription to Kindle Unlimited (which is like Netflix for books) and all of her books are on that service! (Not ALL books are free with kindle unlimited so that’s a bit annoying- but the romance genre has a strong selection!)

what i liked
This book was funny! I laughed out loud multiple times.  Here’s a few quotes to prove it.

If the metric for a “relationship” lies solely in the number of text messages exchanged then as of this week, I’m in a relationship with my tailor, my UberEats delivery guy, and my housekeeper. I’ve got my hands f**king full.

Choosing Harry Potter over her own flesh and blood?! I would do the same, but how dare she?

There is a supporting character in it named Josie, and she is so great.  She is witty, and smart and a perfect teenage version of manipulative. She also is obsessed with Harry Potter so that makes her an immediate fictional friend, in my book.
I don’t know what was going on in all of the medical scenarios, but I believed all of it.  Similarly I believed Grey’s Anatomy in the beginning too- so they are either both really well done, or I have no idea how badly they are done.
I pictured Izzy from Grey’s Anatomy as Bailey, but for the life of me I could not picture Matt at all!
She ends this book with an epilogue. It needed the epilogue and I loved the epilogue!  Am I the only one who wishes more authors would write epilogues? Nope? Okay writers, we have made it known- we want more epilogues!

what i didn't like
The last chapter. No spoilers here. But it should have been an amazing scene- and it left some things to be desired.  Hence why the epilogue was needed even more.
I mentioned I couldn’t picture Matt- this wasn’t a huge problem for me, but it would’ve been helpful if I could.  She describes his hair a lot- but I just couldn’t put a face to the name!

while reading you should
Watch: Grey’s Anatomy – of course.  Only the first few seasons because, woah does it go downhill (seriously, how is that show still on?)
Listen to: Cosy in the Rocket by Psapp
Eat: Finger Foods

DuxSignature smallercopy

The Doctor Will See You Now : Recognizing and Treating Endometriosis by Dr. Tamer Seckin

Fun fact before you read through this entire review – Dr Seckin’s name is pronounced “Such- kin.”

the dr will see you now

 

official blurb
Endometriosis materializes when the endometrium – the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus – sheds, but does not exit a woman’s body during her period. Instead, it grows outside of the uterus, spreading to organs and nerves in and around the pelvic region. The resulting pain is so physically and emotionally insufferable that it can mercilessly dominate a woman’s life. The average woman with endometriosis is twenty-seven years old before she is diagnosed. It is one of the top three causes of female infertility. The pain it emits can affect a woman’s career, social life, relationships, sexual activity, sleep, and diet. It is incurable, but highly treatable. Unfortunately, though, it is rarely treated in a timely manner, if at all, because of misdiagnoses and/or a lack of education among those in the medical community. This book gives hope to everyone connected to endometriosis. That includes every woman and young girl who has it, and the women and men in their lives – the mothers, fathers, husbands, children, and friends – who know something is wrong, but do not know what it is or what to do about it. This book is written at a level that everyone with ties to this disease can relate to and understand, but it is also for doctors with good intentions who lack the knowledge of how to diagnose or treat it. “The Doctor Will See You Now” is for women determined to let the world know their stories so that every woman with this disease – from the thirteen-year-old girl who is being told that her pain is “part of becoming a woman” to the woman who has been misdiagnosed for decades – knows she is not alone. Yes, her pain is real. No, she is not crazy. Yes, there is hope.

5 out of 5

 

 

what i liked
This book is REQUIRED READING for People with Endometriosis.  Have you ever read a book and been relieved to read about other people’s suffering? No?  Well, I hadn’t either until I read this book.  I was desperate to figure out a solution for my pain.  I had already had one exploratory laparoscopic surgery that same year- where they found scar tissue inside of me but no endometrial tissue.  I ordered a ton of books from the library and this was one of them.  This book is a series of testimonials from people who have undergone deep excision surgery by Dr. Seckin.  They talk about their lives prior to having the surgery and they suffered.  And I was thrilled.  These women felt what I was feeling! They also were sure they had endometriosis but a quick surgery told them they didn’t.  They also suffered from extreme measures of pain and were on constant pain killers.  They also found that doctors just did no believe the severity of pain that they lived in on a normal basis.  These women were me!
Dr. Seckin describes various treatment options for endometriosis, along with highly recommending his deep laparoscopic excision surgery.  He even includes things you should be asking your doctor if you think you have endometriosis.
Truth be told, this book was a game changer for me.  I read it, and I researched like crazy. I looked into the best of the best endometriosis specialists. I got on facebook and I messaged their previous patients who had left different reviews on their facebook posts. I facetimed with previous patients and made a decision.  I ended up going to see Dr. Seckin – yes the same guy who wrote this book and he performed my surgery.  Finding PLENTY of endometrial tissue (confirmed with a pathologist), along with a grapefruit sized cyst, and an appendix that was looking rough. None of which was seen in the previous quick surgery by an obgyn who’s website specified that they treat endometriosis patients.
Even if you don’t end up with him as your surgeon (and I’m not advocating that you have to see him), this book is a MUST READ.  It will help you feel heard. Help you have solace in knowing that you’re not crazy.  It will help you feel empowered to get the treatment you deserve.  It will help you to feel hopeful for the first time in a long time, knowing some people took the risk and tried the surgery and had a drastic lifestyle change.  It will empower you to be your own health advocate.
Read this book! You won’t regret it.

 

dux signature2

Six of Crows Initiation Waffles

Welcome to episode two of books & baking!  Oh, this isn’t recording? Well….
In today’s post we will channel our inner Ninas and make some gourmet waffles on a stick!
books and baking

I read the Six of Crows duology and immediately wanted to join their crew.  You know how you hear of hazing stories on the news and you think, who would want to join a group so badly that they would do any of those things?!  Well, I now can answer that question. I would do a lot to get onto team SOC.  Including making gourmet waffles on a stick.  I mean, Nina would totally pay to have me in the crew simply to supply her with waffles right? Right.  Well, now that I’m the seventh crow- let me make you my apprentice.

P.S.  If you want to read this book in your book club and are looking for questions at your meeting, scroll to the bottom of this post!

for the review of this book
Click here: Six of Crows.
Click here: (the second book in the duology) Crooked Kingdom.

Okay let’s get to it! This is what you’re going to make…

LRM_EXPORT_210662237340192_20190224_141805881

That’s right- Six of Crows Initiation Waffles will make you a hit at your next book club!  The perfect title right?

So, this is the genius of waffles on a stick- you can do whatever you want! Put brownie mix in your waffle iron? Heck yes!  Use up that last box of pumpkin pancake mix from Trader Joe’s in your waffle iron? Um…no I’m not going to waste that sharing with other people.   Okay, I’ll give you one more picture for inspiration…

LRM_EXPORT_210383051935700_20190224_141326696

 

For this recipe I used the following INGREDIENTS:
1 box Kodiak Pancake/Waffle mix (I used the just add water kind, but you do you)
1 bag of dark chocolate chips
1 can of sprinkles
1 handful of rice krispie treats
1 bag of popsicle sticks
1 bag of peanut butter m&ms
1 jar of creamy peanut butter

I also got out shredded coconut and marshmallows, but I didn’t end up making those ones.  But an idea for you in case you want a coconut marshmallow waffle of goodness.

DIRECTIONS:

Step 1:  Mix your waffle mix as directed. It helps to have cute measuring cups.
20190224_125504

Step 2: Cook your waffles in your waffle iron until desired crispness is accomplished. (That sounded official right?).  While waffles are cooking, melt your dark chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave.  Start at about 30 seconds, then stir.  Then keep adding 10-20 seconds and continue stirring. Stop the process when 2/3 of the bowl is melted. Melt the remaining 1/3 of dark chocolate chips by stirring together in the bowl. (You can also accomplish this on your stovetop if you live life without a microwave).

Step 3: Remove from waffle iron and let cool on a plate.  Cut the waffle into four quadrants.

Step 4: Drizzle your melted chocolate all over desired waffles.  (For some of my waffles I used a knife and spread peanut butter all over the top of it).

Step 5: Add your flavor!  I added peanut butter M&M’s to the waffle with peanut butter on it.  I added sprinkles to the chocolate one, and sprinkles AND rice krispie treats to another!

Step 6: Grab a popsicle stick and shove it through the waffle, making sure you’re at a good anchor spot right in the middle!

Tada! You have just made Six of Crows Initiation Waffles!  Enjoy your power, revel in it! And then eat your heart out!  Did it seem too easy? Good! You ARE making these to hang out with your book club, not to spend the whole day baking!  And I promise, it was as easy as it seems!

LRM_EXPORT_210318722584476_20190224_141222365

 

book club questions
1. What Dreg do you wish you could be out of all of them? (Nina, Inej, Kaz, Matthias, Wylan, Jesper)
2. Would you be able to be IRL friends with Kaz?
3.  If you HAD to have any of the powers of the grisha, which power do you choose?
4.  Plan your own heist! What are you stealing?
5. Are you rooting for Nina and Matthias?

happy eating

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

crooked kingdom

 

official blurb
Welcome to the world of the Grisha. Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

my blurb!
The page turning conclusion to Six of Crows that leaves you wanting more and thrilled with the ending all at the same time.

5 out of 5

what i liked
Like the first book in this duology – this book is required reading for fantasy lovers!
Oh. My. Gosh. So many feelings!  (I know, I’m super original – I should totally write a blog).
First of all, this book is just as good as the first book. (Seriously, does that ever happen?) I don’t know how she writes a book that is over 500 pages that somehow leaves me wanting more!  I want a novela, or a follow up book for at least 3 of the characters.  I felt like she really wrapped up two of the characters storylines well, but some others… (you’ll notice I’m leaving names out here- this is to avoid any spoilers for you!)
I bonded with these characters so much. I am the 7th crow.  Inej might have been the wraith but call me the hawk because I hovered around them watching all of them and creating a blood brothers bond with them all.  In hindsight, maybe I should have chosen a different animal for that scenario. A hawk being the 7th crow?  Well… what can I say, my imagination works in mysterious ways.  ANYWAYS, I bonded with these characters so much that I am in dire need of some condolence casserole from having to part ways with them.
Bardugo’s writing is so great, it reminded me a little of the lunar chronicles (I know, they’re nothing alike but bear with me here) because those books featured a crew (whom I’m also close friends with) with the odds against them that I got to hang out with in VERY long books and was constantly excited by the plot lines, and surprised and always left wanting more. [Did you enjoy that run on sentence as much as I did?] EXCEPT Marissa Meyer (the author of the lunar chronicles) wrote FOUR books and TWO novellas in the series.  Bardugo only wrote this Duology!!!!! (Okay, yes, it’s true that this is connected to her Grisha Trilogy- and is part of the whole Grishaverse, but these two books stand on their own and don’t overlap with main characters into the other series because it takes place afterwards.  Make sense? So I’m not counting those books towards the total number for this series.  That made sense right?)
My husband once said to me… and I’m not making this up “maybe I should be a vigilante because I love justice.”  This is how I felt reading this series.  I AM A CROW.  It’s all in my head but that won’t stop me from living my best life.

what i didn't like
Nothing! I loved it all! Take me back to the Grishaverse!

 

while reading you should
Listen to: Everybody Knows by Sigrid
and also listen to: Robbers by the 1975
Watch: Now You See Me
Do: practice slide of hand. (that’s right, time to scour amazon for a magician’s kit!)

DuxSignature smallercopy