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Saga v. 5-7 | by Brian K. Vaughan

Saga, Vol. 5 (Saga, #5)

Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan; art by Fiona Staples
(Image Comics, 2015, 152 pages)

Well, I apparently read this volume about three years ago… I’m glad I read it again, though! It was so fun getting back into Saga after an unintended hiatus. We still have the same cast of characters, people are trying to stay alive, others are trying to kill… This would end up being spoiler-y for anyone that isn’t as far in the series or who is considering picking it up. For all three volumes in this post I’ll just say that Vaughan and Staples continue to work their magic. It looks like volumes 8 and 9 have moved up in my TBR pile 🙂

4/5 stars

Saga, Vol. 6 (Saga, #6)

Saga, Vol. 6 by Brian K. Vaughan; art by Fiona Staples
(Image Comics, 2016, 152 pages)

4/5 stars

Saga, Vol. 7 (Saga, #7)

Saga, Vol. 7 by Brian K. Vaughan; art by Fiona Staples
(Image Comics, 2017, 152 pages)

4/5 stars

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Fiction · Julia P · Quick Read! · Romance · Series · Steamy

Hurts to Love You | by Alisha Rai

Hurts to Love You (Forbidden Hearts, #3)

Hurts to Love You (Forbidden Hearts #3) by Alisha Rai
(Avon, 2018, 369 pages)

The final book in the Forbidden Hearts series wrapped things up nicely. Keeping things in the Kane and Chandler families this book focuses on Eve, the youngest (and only) daughter in the Chandler family. She is getting ready to celebrate the wedding of her brother and his recently-reunited high school love, Livvy, but in the midst of wedding details she finds it harder and harder to ignore her attraction to Gabe Hunter, a surrogate-Kane if ever there was one.

Gabe was the child of the Kane’s housekeeper and was effectively raised with the Kane children. Tall, rugged, handsome, tattooed, known for his sexual prowess… he’s the man Eve has had her eye on since she was a teenager. What Eve doesn’t know is that in the midst of the wedding planning Gabe has developed something of a crush on her that he regularly tries to brush off.

While both Eve and Gabe try to deny their mutual attraction it seems like all the mishaps leading up to the wedding day are conspiring to get them to spend more one-on-one time together. Eve helps that along by deciding to put herself out there in a way she hadn’t really done before. As the two find themselves getting closer family secrets find a way of coming out… Neither Gabe nor Eve is sure they can handle the ramifications.

There’s no question that the first book in this series (Hate to Want You) was the one I enjoyed the most, but this one didn’t disappoint. I’m glad I discovered Rai’s writing and will turning to her when I’m looking for another contemporary romance to round out my TBR pile.

3.5/5 stars

Fantasy · Fiction · Julia P · Series · Young Adult

The Belles | by Dhonielle Clayton

The Belles

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
(Disney-Hyperion, 2018, 440 pages)

I had been eagerly anticipating the publication of this book for a while. This is primarily because it was getting such great buzz but also because it’s author is COO for We Need Diverse Books (a non-profit I love) and I was curious to see what she had in the works. This book is the first in a series and I promise that I am compelled to keep up with it. I was honestly surprised at just how much I found myself drawn into the book.

Set in a future world known as Orleans we are introduced to a group of 6 girls known as “The Belles.” These girls are responsible for bestowing beauty on the people of Orleans, a population that is born grey and ugly, with red eyes and straw-like hair. The notion of beauty changes based on the royal family and the looks that the Belles come up with. There are no limitations based on skin color, hair texture, body size… it’s all based on what the individual wants and believes to be a notable look. Our primary Belle is Camellia and it is through her experiences that we get insight into what is expected of the Belles in addition to uncovering the dark secrets embedded within the royal family.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be keeping up with the series. I’m frustrated that I’ll have to wait since I started the first book almost as soon as it was published. I did note some parallels between details in this book and those from The Hunger Game series but the book stands on its own. And you’ll appreciate the lush descriptions Clayton offers up when referring to everything from food to clothing. For a good review of the text that pairs well with my reading of the book feel free to check out Roxane Gay’s post on Goodreads.

4/5 stars

Comics · Fiction · Graphic Novel · Julia P · Science Fiction · Series

Paper Girls (v. 1 & v. 2) | by Brian K. Vaughan

Paper Girls, Vol. 1 (Paper Girls, #1)

Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan; illustrated by Cliff Chiang and Matthew Wilson
(Image Comics, 2016, 144 pages)

I grabbed this off the shelf at my public library because it caught my eye and I’d been wanting to check it out; especially since one of my co-workers, Kelly, was a fan of the series. Brian K. Vaughan, the author, is also the mastermind behind the graphic novel series Saga (which, if you haven’t read you’ve no doubt heard about). He has such a way with crafting stories that you’re always intrigued to see where he’s going to take you next. This remains the case in Paper Girls. It was so far from what I thought it was going to be… but it captured my interest and I’m so curious to see how he ends things!

Paper Girls, Vol. 1 takes place in the late 80s and introduces us to a group of four pre-teen girls who each have a newspaper delivery route. They meet up early in the morning on November 1 and notice that things are a little “off.” They try to get to the bottom of things but find they don’t really have any frame of reference for what’s going on. I saw a review that mentioned this would be an ideal read for fans of the Netflix show “Stranger Things.” I definitely agree.

4/5 stars

Paper Girls, Vol. 2 (Paper Girls, #2)

Paper Girls, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan; illustrated by Cliff Chiang and Matthew Wilson
(Image Comics, 2016, 128 pages)

I can’t really say much about this one because I don’t want to ruin volume 1. Just know you’re following the girls as they continue on their journey to try and figure out what happened that fateful morning of November 1.

3.5/5 stars

Fiction · Julia P · Quick Read! · Romance · Series

Wrong to Need You | by Alisha Rai

Wrong to Need You (Forbidden Hearts, #2)

Wrong to Need You (Forbidden Hearts #2) by Alisha Rai
(Avon, 2017, 368 pages)

The second book in the Forbidden Hearts series focuses on Jackson and Sadia. Jackson is Livvy’s twin brother (from Hate to Want You) and Sadia is the widow of his older brother, Paul – yes, this is an interesting love “triangle.”

Jackson returned home to check on his sister after he worried she’d be hurt by Nicholas, again. This is the first time he’s stepped foot back in town since he was accused of arson. He didn’t even come back for his brother’s funeral. When Sadia realizes Jackson is home NOW she can’t believe it. Not only did he miss the funeral but he also hasn’t replied to any of the messages she has sent him over the past decade. They’d grown up together, been best friends, and then she couldn’t help but be hurt by his radio silence.

Jackson knows he hasn’t done right by Sadia and so he attempts to make amends by helping out in the cafe she runs on her own. The truth is, he’s been in love with her since high school and he had to bury his feelings when she married Paul. What neither he nor Sadia counted on was the strong attraction she would feel for him. It feels wrong lusting after her brother-in-law but there’s no denying the chemistry between them…

It was fun to be able to read this immediately after the first book in the series. I appreciate the connecting characters, though the books could feasibly stand alone. I wasn’t as invested in this title as the first one, but I still enjoyed it. And I’m obviously keeping up with the series. I’ll be pursuing Rai’s backlist next 😉

3.5/5 stars

Fiction · Julia P · Quick Read! · Romance · Series · Steamy

Hate to Want You | by Alisha Rai

Hate to Want You (Forbidden Hearts, #1)

Hate to Want You (Forbidden Hearts #1) by Alisha Rai
(Avon, 2017, 371 pages)

Nicholas and Livvy have established a one-night rendezvous every year for the past decade. That’s all they get – one night. Then they go back to not communicating until the following year. The two have a complicated past. They’d been high school sweethearts but a rift between their families forced them apart. When Livvy doesn’t show up for her standing date with Nicholas he’s not sure how to handle things. He’d been counting down the days each year until he got to be with her. Then he finds out she’s back in their hometown and he won’t be able to rest until he finds out why she stood him up.

Meanwhile, Livvy can’t really believe she’s back home. She has spent the past ten years wandering around the country. The only reason she’s back is because her mom is recovering from an injury and Livvy wants to be supportive. The last thing she wants is to run into Nicholas… so naturally, he puts himself right in her path.

Nicholas and Livvy struggle to find a way to coexist in the same town without giving in to lustful urges they know will eventually do more harm than good. Even with their families doing everything they can to keep them apart, it’s hard to ignore their attraction to one another…

This was my first time reading a book by Rai and I loved it! She was actually recommended as a contemporary romance author I might like by Victoria Dahl (whose romance novels I love). I appreciate the writing, the multicultural cast, and just hearing a new voice. I definitely recommend her. I’m about to start book 3 in the series 😉

4/5 stars