Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Great Beach Reads


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This week’s topic is…

Top Ten Great Beach Reads

(Click the book cover link to the book’s Goodreads’ page)











What are some of your favorite summer/beach reads? What books do you have planned to read this summer? 

W…W…W…Wednesday: 05/25/2016


W…W…W…Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words and includes Three Ws:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?








What does your W…W…W…Wednesday look like? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed


HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s topic is…

 Ten Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

(Click the book cover link to the book’s Goodreads’ page)


The more I think about this book, the more I wish it had been written during my undergraduate career. I really needed a book like this when I was in college. 


This book is magical, and the more I think about it, the more magical gets it. *sigh*


I re-read this book every year. And every year I fall more in love with it.


The more I contemplate this play, the more it becomes my favorite Shakespeare play–beating out Macbeth *gasp*


If you love fairy tales, studying the origin of fairy tales (Grimm brothers), and feminism, you will love these poems. I feel more passionate about this collection of poems today than I did when I first read them in my undergraduate English class.


At first, I found Étienne St. Clair very frustrating, and he made me want to throw this book. But I’ve re-read this book about 5 times, and each time I read it, I begin to like him a little more.


The covers of this series are so beautiful. However, even though I have given the series a good try, as time passes, the more I loathe the main character and the lack of story plot. Too much action does not equal a fully-rounded story!


This is the book that began my obsession with Young Adult Literature; however, every time I re-read this book, I begin to become indifferent about its themes and the characters’ motivations. 


This book was CRAZY and intense. The first 10 pages were mouth-dropping and I still have a hard time processing the whole book…it’s so good. 


Every time  I think about this book, I always question why I even finished it. It was one of the first young adult books I wanted to throw against the wall.

What are some of the books that you feel differently about after time has passed? 





FRIDAY RAVES is a feature on my blog, in which I “RAVE” about important news, authors, books, novelties, and other bookish announcements that all bibliophiles should know about.

Today I’m RAVING about…YUREKA Subscription Box

If you don’t know already, I am a self-proclaimed Subscription Box addict *cough cough,* I mean fanatic, especially when it comes to bookish subscription boxes. This month I bought and tried out Yureka Books‘ subscription box. In regards to subscribers in the USA, there are three box options to pick from: 

$15 SUBSCRIPTION = 2 paperback books

$25 SUBSCRIPTION =1 hardcover and 1 paperback book OR 3 paperback books

$35 SUBSCRIPTION = 1 hardcover and 2 paperbacks OR 4 paperback books

Personally, after selecting the $15.00 Subscription Box, I took a survey/questionnaire regarding books and genres that I have enjoyed, loved, and disliked. And around mid-May I received this beautiful package in the mail:


Contents Inside:

Yureka subscription

As you can see, I received a beautifully written welcome letter, which explained the books I received this month: a fantasy novel and a dystopian novel (both of which I do not already own…WOOHOO!). I also enjoyed the little bookish items that came along with the package: a magnetic owl bookmark and some pretty bookplates. After scrolling through Instagram pictures of other people’s Yureka packages, I noticed that a lot of subscribers received different books than me, which is awesome, because Yureka sends out books based on genres that you like reading. I also noticed that some subscribers even received extra swag like The Winner’s Trilogy items. I sadly did not receive these extra items.

Overall, I am happy with the books and bookish items I received, the great pricing of the subscription package, and more importantly, I was really blown away by the packaging/wrapping. 

If you love books and bookish items, this inexpensive subscription box is for you. 

Want to learn more about Yureka Books? Visit their main website, Yureka Books, or click on the link, How it Works.


Are you obsessed with subscription boxes, too? Which subscription box(es) do you subscribe to? Which box(es) do you highly recommend? 


Note: I bought this box with my own money. I was not asked or paid to write a review for this subscription box or company. All statements, pictures, and opinions are my own. 

Throwback Thursday Mini-Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker


Title: The Witch Hunter
By: Virginia Boecker
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fiction, Paranormal, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 362 (Hardcover
Format: ARC
Source: Won from NOVL newsletter (2015)


The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut.

Your greatest enemy isn’t what you fight, but what you fear.

Elizabeth Grey is one of the king’s best witch hunters, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and doling out justice. But when she’s accused of being a witch herself, Elizabeth is arrested and sentenced to burn at the stake.

Salvation comes from a man she thought was her enemy. Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful and dangerous wizard in the kingdom, offers her a deal: he will save her from execution if she can break the deadly curse that’s been laid upon him.

But Nicholas and his followers know nothing of Elizabeth’s witch hunting past–if they find out, the stake will be the least of her worries. And as she’s thrust into the magical world of witches, ghosts, pirates, and one all-too-handsome healer, Elizabeth is forced to redefine her ideas of right and wrong, of friends and enemies, and of love and hate.

Virginia Boecker weaves a riveting tale of magic, betrayal, and sacrifice in this unforgettable fantasy debut.


The Witch Hunter is a beautifully written and action-packed, debut novel about a young girl named Elizabeth Grey. Elizabeth has grown up learning the art of witch hunting. In the craft of witch hunting, she is inculcated with the idea that she is providing justice and purification for a kingdom that she is willing to protect. However, through life’s unexpectancies, Elizabeth’s world is put through a whirlwind, and she finds herself being accused of witchcraft. After weeks of incarceration, she is saved by the single wizard that she was told was her worst enemy–Nicholas Perevil. In Perevil’s protection, Elizabeth is healed by magic–something she was conditioned to loathe. More importantly, she discovers that she plays an important part in breaking the curse casted on Perevil by someone she trusted.

Elizabeth’s journey is filled with betrayal, a handsome healer, jolly pirates, whimsical forest parties, fancy ball gowns, cursed tablets, mythical swords, giant red-eyed rats, the crumbling of old friendships, and the growth of new friendships.

The Witch Hunter is a fast-paced, fantasy novel that will engross you in an enchanting world of betrayal, redemption, and a passionate heroine set forth to change a world she once loved.

star rating

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


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NOTE:          This review was previously posted on my Goodreads account in May 25, 2015, and has been updated for my blog. I received an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) as a winner of NOVL’s monthly newsletter giveaway.  Thank you, NOVL and Little, Brown Books! All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim


HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s topic is…

 Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim

(Click the book cover link to the book’s Goodreads’ page)


In 2006, I had a headlight out and my older brother took me to Wal-Mart to purchase a new one. Also, in my shopping cart, I added the paperback of Twilight, because I loved the apple on the cover. 


Saw the cover–loved the title–bought it! Now I own 5 different versions of this book, including the German cover.


I am obsessed with images of honeycombs and bees, so when I saw this cover, I knew I had to have it. Plus the book is beautifully written.


In the the mid-2000s, I was obsessed with Urban Fantasy. In 2006, I saw this book, read the synopsis, and immediately bought it. This is definitely one of my favorite series, still today. 


Once again, while going through an Urban Fantasy phase, I saw this book on the shelves at Borders, and immediately bought it. BEST BOOK SERIES EVER!!!


I saw this cover, and I immediately knew I had to read this series. This book saved me from a terrible reading slump!!! 


After browsing for a new series on the library shelves, I found this one. I fell in love with this series because of the well-developed characters, the adventure, and all the mythological facts. 


This was the first Morgan Matson book I read. I mainly read it because my uncle was just diagnosed with cancer, very similar to the main character’s father’s situation. This book was heartbreaking but also very healing. 


I first saw this book listed under the autographed copies on Barnes and Noble’s website. Then I looked it up on Book Depository and saw this UK cover, and bought it on a whim. I knew I had to read it ASAP after reading the synopsis. 


In the late 90s, my mom took me to the library ALL the time. I saw this book, found out it was about wizards/witches, and that night I was put under a Harry Potter spell. 

What books have you ever picked up on a whim? I tend to buy and read books based on their covers. What is your deciding factor in picking up a new book to read?

Blog Tour: Review of Love Charms and Other Catastrophes by Kimberly Karalius



Love Charms and Other Catastrophes

By:  Kimberly Karalius 
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult


Aspiring love charm maker Hijiri Kitamura was excited to come back to Grimbaud for her sophomore year-until she learns about the upcoming charm making competition. Grimbaud has just started to recover from the tyranny of Zita’s love fortunes and it would be too easy for the winning charm maker to take Zita’s place. The only solution is for Hijiri, with the support of her friends and fellow rebels, to win the contest herself.

Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, especially when Love itself has decided to meddle in Hijiri’s life. Concerned that it’s favorite charm maker has given up on finding a boyfriend of her own, Love takes matters into its own hands and delivers the perfect boyfriend to her in a giftwrapped box…literally.

Get ready to be charmed by this magical, quirky sequel to Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius.

PURCHASE:      Amazon     •     Barnes & Noble     •     iTunes      •      Kobo

My Rants and Raves of Love Charms and Other Catastrophes

YAY, the Grimbaud life continues in Love Charms and Other Catastrophes! Once again, Kimberly Karalius, a word enchantress, has created another magical novel. This sequel is filled with love, longing, mystery, courage, magic, soothing tea, and chocolate drizzled waffles. With beautiful and comforting sentences like, “…September cooled the town. Leaves browned, cardigans came out of closets, and chocolatiers added ginger and cinnamon to warm the insides of their pralines,” how can you not fall in love with the world of Grimbaud all over again?

Karalius’s setting, characters, and love-story are sweet and addicting. I was ecstatic to find out that not only does this sequel bring back the characters that we love, like Fallon and Sebastian, but the whole book follows our favorite love charm-maker, Hijiri. If you’ve read Love Fortunes and Other Disasters, you will remember Hijiri as the smart, shy student with a true craft in making love-charms. Even though I adore Hijiri, I did find myself irritated with her every now and then. Throughout the novel, she often puts herself down, because she honestly believes that she is not capable to fall in love. But when Hijiri becomes a  contestant in the town’s search for an eccentric and gifted new love charm-maker, her disheartening beliefs are challenged.

Hijiri is selfless, but she also has a very solitary demeanor. I like that Hijiri uses her innate gift to help other people’s love lives; however, when it comes to her own, she can be very aloof and very frustrating. Through her friends and Love’s gift, a charm-boy named Kentaro, I really appreciated how Karalius is able to develop and mold Hijiri into a strong heroine. More importantly, I love that Hijiri is surrounded by so much friendship and love, which helps her discouraging thoughts to recycle into an action of perseverance and a tenacity to stop underestimating herself. 

Unlike the first novel, which I found to be fast-paced and quirky, Love Charms has more of a serious undertone. This book is not just about a town infatuated with love; it is a story focused on friendship and self-discovery. Even though Hijiri is very smart and studious, I sometimes found her actions and words very disheartening, especially when she was interacting with Kentaro, a sweet, allegiant, and trusting boy that knows a little something about second chances. The conflicts and challenges Hijiri endures in this book—a mysterious gift-wrapped boy, a love charm-making contest, and a rampant robot—are all great obstacles that test her beliefs. Karalius has definitely created another great novel that has perfectly woven fantasy and contemporary together. And this time around, she has gifted her readers with a story about courage, friendship, and discovering confidence in oneself. 


“Sometimes you know what you like. It’s called trusting your heart.”

“Love is magic, she thought, and nothing can change that.”

“Your heart needs bending and stretching to grow. Not that it wasn’t already a proper size before…Your heart is not ruined. It’s stronger than ever.”

Kimberly (1)

KIMBERLY KARALIUS holds an MFA in fiction from the University of South Florida, and has been sharing stories on with a strong following of enthusiastic readers since the site’s conception. Although Kimberly lives in sunny Florida, she prefers to stay indoors and sometimes buys a scarf in the hopes of snow. She loves watching really old cartoons and silent films. Being in Florida certainly has one big perk: going to Disney World. Which she does. Frequently. Love Fortunes and Other Disasters is her debut novel.
Author links:   Main Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


♥ Win a Print Copy of Love Charms and Other Catastrophes 

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May 9th
Bibliobibuli YA >> Review
Book Sniffers Anonymous  >> Excerpt
the bookdragon >> Review

May 10th
Book briefs >> Review
A Book Addict’s Bookshelves >> Guest post
A Dream Within A Dream >> Excerpt
Bookish Escapes >> Review
Whatever You Can Still Betray >> Guest post

May 11th
Padme’s Library >> Interview
The Book Sirens >> Playlist
The Mind of a (Book) Dragon >> Review
5 Girls Book Reviews >> Review
BooksChatter >> Interview

May 12th
Quartzfeather >> Review
Twirling Book Princess >> Review
Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books! >> Excerpt
The Reading Nook Reviews >> Review

May 13th
InkdIn >> Review
Book Dust Magic >> Guest post
The Plot Bunny >> Review
Rants and Raves of a Bibliophile >> Review

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W…W…W… Wednesday: 05/11/2016

W…W…W… Wednesday

W…W…W.. Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words and includes Three Ws:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?







What does your W…W…W…Wednesday look like? 

REVIEW: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius


Title: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters
By:  Kimberly Karalius 
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Pages: 368 (Paperback)
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary, Magical Realism


In the tradition of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, one girl chooses to change her fortune and her fate by falling in love.

Love is real in the town of Grimbaud, and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Duprees have successfully followed the (100% accurate!) love fortunes from Zita’s famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high school sweethearts. It’s a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find love.

Fortunately, Fallon isn’t the only student with a terrible love fortune, and a rebellion is brewing. Fallon is determined to take control of her own fate—even if it means working with a notorious heartbreaker like Sebastian.

Will Fallon and Sebastian be able to overthrow Zita’s tyranny and fall in love?


INITIAL RAVES: Magic realism. Fate. Charms. A quirky heroine. A town infatuated with the fortunes of love. And a love to die for. So much goodness!!!

Love Fortunes and Other Disasters left me giddy and wanting more shenanigans in the town of Grimbaud. For a while, my thoughts of Kimberly Karalius’s novel could only be described in short phrases and words, and I still do not think I can do the book justice in sentence form, but I am going to try.

As a person seeking out contemporary reads but in love with fantasy/magic realism, Love Fortunes is the perfect book that interweaves both of these genres. Karalius somehow discovered an elaborate formula to perfectly combine elements of Pushing Daisies, The Night Circus, and Francesca Lia Block’s modern spin on mythical entities into one–and alas Love Fortunes and Other Disasters was constructed.

As a novel in the Swoon Reads publishing company, Love Fortunes and Other Disasters entwines different snapshots of swoon-worthy moments and memorable characters. The heroine, Fallon, is willing to fight against a love fortune that fate has given her, and change her destiny in the realm of love. As she commits to changing her own destiny, she also begins to help her friends and other people in town who are fated hopelessness and ill fortunes in their “love” lives, including the swoony, “I’m-too-good-to-fall-in-love” classmate, Sebastian.

If you are in the mood for a fun, fast-paced story about a quirky and determined female, Love Fortunes and Other Disasters is the book you are destined to read.

star rating

My Rating: 5 out 5 Stars


Amazon        Barnes and Noble         Book Depository 

NOTE:          This review was previously posted on my Goodreads account in April 11, 2015, and has been updated for my blog. I received an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) through the publisher in a Goodreads giveaway.  All statements and honest opinions are mine.


A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly: Book Blitz & Giveaway

A Criminal Magic
Lee Kelly
Publication date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult

THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly’s new crossover fantasy novel.

Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive – and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.

It’s 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city’s magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters’ crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer’s shine.

Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC’s most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family’s home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.

Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic – and when their paths cross at the Shaws’ performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.

A CRIMINAL MAGIC casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iTunes

Book trailer (created by Claribel Ortega)



Real-Life Gangsters that Inspired the Tough Guys in A CRIMINAL MAGIC

The pitch for my latest book, A CRIMINAL MAGIC, is THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE PEAKY BLINDERS, and for anyone who’s seen that twisty, violent BBC drama, you’ll know this means there’s some pretty hardened criminals in this one. My story takes place during an alternative Prohibition-era America, but instead of alcohol, magic has been prohibited. And just like during real Prohibition, gangsters have created an extensive, lucrative underworld to make sure people still get what they want, despite the letter of the law.

Because the magic in this novel is tricky and dangerous by nature, I knew I needed gangsters that weren’t just ruthless – these wise guys had to be clever, driven, and one step ahead of the sorcerers they employ in all aspects of their illegal trade. For inspiration and ideas, I naturally turned to history. Here are some of the notorious, hardnosed gangsters that most inspired me while writing A CRIMINAL MAGIC:

Owen “Owney” Madden was a New York gangster nicknamed “the Killer,” and aptly so as he was known for his very public executions. Madden more than once gunned down his rival gang members in the streets, and he allegedly shot a man on a trolley for flirting with his date. Despite being a hothead, he was also a shrewd businessman, and ran The Cotton Club (as well as some other swanky speakeasies) in New York City. In my novel, Erwin McEvoy, the boss of the Irish Shaw Gang, is loosely based on Madden (with a little Boo Boo Hoff thrown in there too. Boo Boo’s up next).

I have to admit, I was first attracted to Max “Boo Boo” Hoff because of his name, but the more I read about this Philly-based crime boss, the more fascinated I became. Hoff was a boxer turned gangster, and his bootlegging operation was so successful during Prohibition, it’s claimed he had an office of operations with 175 phones and a weekly payroll of $30,000 (in the 1920s)! Also known for his partying and extravagant lifestyle, Hoff frequently rubbed shoulders with celebrity types at his lavish affairs.

Also intriguing was Guiseppe “Joe the Boss” Masseria, the head of the New York Italian-American mafia – the city’s powerful crime alliance known as the Five Families – during the later years of Prohibition. But Masseria was a bit of an underworld dictator: he even required monetary tributes from other Families as testaments of their loyalty. His reign naturally didn’t last: several families declared war on Masseria, which broke up the crime dynasty and led to his execution. I loosely based my novel’s Italian-American gang, the D Street Outfit, on Masseria’s New York operation.

And of course, no list of Prohibition-era gangsters would be complete without Al Capone. Though my novel’s young gangster-on-the-rise, Harrison Gunn, is actually nothing like media-hungry Capone was, I couldn’t believe that Capone was at the height of his power and became a Chicago crime boss in his mid-twenties. So I made Gunn younger (originally he was going to be middle-aged), to help rev up the tension between him and my female protagonist, Joan.


Author Bio:

Lee Kelly has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York. She lives with her husband and children in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she can’t help but still call herself a New Yorker. She is the author of A Criminal Magic and City of Savages. Visit her at

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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