247: Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Epoque Paris

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Synopsis

A delicious account of a murder most gallic—think CSI Paris meets Georges Simenon—whose lurid combination of sex, brutality, forensics, and hypnotism riveted first a nation and then the world.

Little Demon in the City of Light is the thrilling—and so wonderfully French—story of a gruesome 1889 murder of a lascivious court official at the hands of a ruthless con man and his pliant mistress and the international manhunt, sensational trial, and an inquiry into the limits of hypnotic power that ensued.

In France at the end of the nineteenth century a great debate raged over the question of whether someone could be hypnotically compelled to commit a crime in violation of his or her moral convictions. When Toussaint-Augustin Gouffé entered 3, rue Tronson du Coudray, he expected nothing but a delightful assignation with the comely young Gabrielle Bompard. Instead, he was murdered—hanged!—by her and her companion Michel Eyraud. The body was then stuffed in a trunk and dumped on a riverbank near Lyon.

As the inquiry into the guilt or innocence of the woman the French tabloids dubbed the “Little Demon” escalated, the most respected minds in France debated whether Gabrielle Bompard was the pawn of her mesmerizing lover or simply a coldly calculating murderess. And, at the burning center of it all: Could hypnosis force people to commit crimes against their will?

The Good

  • The chapters are short and it is very easy to read

I think this may fit in the vein of narrative nonfiction/cross over appeal for mystery fiction readers

  • French history

The court system (sounds like a lot), court case, all the players, and more

  • Seeing the almost actual words  of a lot of the people who were apart of this case (because the sources the author found)
  • Despite all things I thought about in The Thoughts section this was not a heavy book

The Meh

Even as I write this review I feel like I do not have a lot to say about it really. Did this book leave a impression on me is a question on my mind.

The Thoughts I Had

  • I thought about sexism because It’s present in this book
  • mental illness, trauma, racism
  • the way that some women benefit intentionally or unintentionally from perception of them because of their gender and race. This whole thought brought to mind Hannah Mary Tabbs which is the book that planted this seed in my head.

There was not a heavy conversation on any of these topics so do not take my thoughts as sign this was a heavy book.

Overall, I did enjoy this book and am thankful I finished it after more than a year of reading it. (I take forever to finish nonfiction)

(synopsis and cover image is from goodreads)

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248: Harmony House & Horror TBR 👻

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Synopsis

Jen Noonan’s father thinks a move to Harmony House is the key to salvation, but to everyone who has lived there before, it is a portal to pure horror.

After Jen’s alcoholic mother’s death, her father cracked. He dragged Jen to this dilapidated old manor on the shore of New Jersey to “start their new lives”—but Harmony House is more than just a creepy old estate. It’s got a chilling past—and the more Jen discovers its secrets, the more the house awakens. Strange visions follow Jen wherever she goes, and her father’s already-fragile sanity disintegrates before her eyes. As the forces in the house join together to terrorize Jen, she must find a way to escape the past she didn’t know was haunting her—and the mysterious and terrible power she didn’t realize she had.

The Good

-At the beginning, right away,  the story was interesting

-The dynamics of religion, the girl and her father (and some of the larger conversation you could take about religion)

-Story is not for the aesthetic type of book

-One of the few books that has a guy do horrible behavior and actually follows through instead of normalizing weird/bad behavior

-Story was for the majority of the book entertaining

The Bad

-Had black characters who were supposed to be black but were just white characters painted black

-Set ups that did not follow through

– I have said it in other reviews since last year but talking about issues surface level or with  no deviation does not vibe with me. I think I expect too much from fiction especially with us supposedly being in space of talking about tough issues.

-When I realized that the big reveal has been here all along…there is no other big reveal…everything is obvious…

-then a lot of reveals are not addressed with gravity

Why not put certain reveals earlier and deal with them instead of wasting pages of main character being dumb? (honestly, I was entertained so the flaws bit me later- when we are at the last 50 pages and the main character still in same mind frame, yikes)

-At the end of the story a lot of things felt like they really did not matter: its like why bring xyz up in the first place?

Horror TBR

The Island of Monsters (Spirit Hunters #2) by Ellen Oh

In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt

The Silent Companions  by Laura Purcell

Outer Darkness vol. 1

Bitter Root vol. 1

(image and synopsis are from goodreads)

 

 

253: The Perfect Date

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Synopsis

Angel Gomez only wants to get through nursing school and earn enough to support her mother and her son, Jose. Her bartending job helps bring in some extra cash, and the last thing she’s interested in is flirting or men in general.

Caleb “The Duke” Lewis is an up and coming star for the Yankees, known for getting around. However, his last breakup left him distracted and made him turn to drink. When he’s caught by the Yankees manager at a party instead of training, he’s suspended and sent back to the Bronx to get his head straight.

Angel and Duke’s worlds collide one night at the club and sparks fly. Though Angel wants nothing to do with Duke, he has no intention of letting her slip through his fingers. She isn’t star-struck by his fame, and this might be just what he needs to get things in order. He’ll do anything to convince her…even make her an offer she can’t refuse.

The Good

First I would like to thank St. Martins Press and Evelyn Lozada with Holly Lorincz for making it possible for me to win this advanced reader copy of The Perfect Date

Now on to my review🎇🎇🎇

  • Feminism does not feel forced or it feels different from how most feminism is handled
  • Angel Gomez is not so nice that she does not buck against girls who are mean
  • A lot of stuff from beginning is actually addressed as toxic, trash, and etc behavior
  • If you wanted Basketball Wives (or black reality tv) drama its here (I think that is what turned off a lot of reviewers since its not usually what is in romance fiction, non-urban fiction anyway, as a person who watches black reality tv I was having fun), also the drama is actually set up so when it happens it means something
  • Suffice to say I was entertained
  • Mentions consent
  • Two messy imperfect people in a romance
  • An imperfect hero
  • Mentioned: black/brown folks in sports industry, classism, and more

The Bad

  • The romance has no chemistry.
  • Was everything wrapped up too nicely?

Overall

I want her to write more because I think there is a place for The Perfect Date in the romance genre. I wonder if this is being marketed to the urban fiction crowd? If it is not being marketed to them it needs to be.

(cover and synopsis are from goodreads)

Library Checkout Reviews: Mirage & Girls of Paper and Fire (Spoilers?)

All the information Google doc with hosts, challenges, and books that could be read for readathon

Asian Readathon Announcement Video

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Mirage

> Culture element and this love of ones culture

> Internalized racism

>Romance was not handled as well as Girls of Paper and Fire because it felt all so inevitable of course she is going to fall in love with guy character of course he likes her back, I wish I got to see the romance really build up (girls of paper and fire had a slow burn romance which is why it probably felt handled better), the romance at times felt like it was in the way of the story because the romance is happening but not a lot else is progressing the story

>Info dump heavy,  a lot of time wasted rehashing instead of doing

>Nothing is happening, low conflict low stakes

sff elements <<< historical fic aka the science fiction elements had low presence in the story  I think the lack of heavy/medium amount of sff did not bother me as much as it did other people probably because I was prepared (by others reviews)

Similarities

< they are not fast paced

I think that their slow pacing is making people not enjoy  them and ignore what they are saying/doing

<Genocide, colonialism, oppression

They do it well and talk about it in ways that others do not

They really encompass the attitude of not only  the marginalized but also the oppressors

<The main characters are kind of plain

 

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Girls of Paper And Fire

>Diverse Asian cast

>Fetishization = not a lot of stories even get to slightly mentioning this (which is really messy because there is a large boom of interracial romance in ya)

>Rape= I did not feel the rape scene was done tactlessly,  it was not glamorized or sexualized (imo), It is important to show the rape happening through the main characters point of view (thinking about some recent portrayals of rape) and to show the mind frame of our villain (this was part of a larger subversion happening in the novel)

>Subverts the attractive male who seems mean but has a heart of gold

>Subverts/fixes somethings Wither (and a lot of other stories with a similar premise) messed up

>Sex= (coaching and discussion of it was powerful) it made me want to see more conversation about sex in ya, representation of sex workers/a sex worker, consent

>Romance= female/female, I think people really like the romance because its a slow burn and soft, their relationship is  for them (not for the male gaze) its not hypersexual, the story is the main character discovering her sexuality but its not this hard darkness around the realization and acknowledgment of her feelings

 

Other Asian Readathon Posts…

Asian Readathon: Young Adult Color Trend

Asian Readathon: Young Adult Color Trend

Asian Readathon Announcement Video

(Mini-comment: On the covers overall I like how minimalistic they are. The three color minimal color scheme=different color dress, text, and background. However,  the expression of the cover model and the yellow dress makes the middle my favorite. )

So it all started with Fake It Till You Break It swoon reads cover voting which  was going to be a part of a larger post on  all the Asian cover voting on swoon reads. While drafting my cover post I saw the cover for  Bliss (not young adult but I was in connecting mode) which is pink too. I may have connected another book like The Way You Make Me Feel or It’s Not Like It’s A Secret at this point either way it got into my head that pink maybe a little of a trend color in Asian young adult books. Then after research I realized its actually a big trending color it is not like the red trend in black ya novels.

Background

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The girls you’re looking for

This Time Will Be Different

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Fake It Till You Break It

Rani Patel In Full Effect

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Good Enough

You Must Be Layla

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It’s Not like Its a Secret

Here We Are Now

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Emergency Contact

The Authentics

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Nothing but the Truth

Ombre

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Saints and Misfits

The Magnolia Sword

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The Astonishing Color of After

The Way You Make Me Feel

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The Library of Fates

Does This Count?

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A Girl Like That- both covers use clothing to showcase the color

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Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me -I’ve connected the two covers so I have to add this cover even though I found out it is a graphic novel so probably should not be on here

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I Love You So Mochi– cherry blossoms are prominent in background

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A Match Made In Mehendi– pink lettering. The wall background  looks pink but I’d have to see it in person.

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Sad Girls– I think it is pinkish white

Thoughts

~there are only two fantasy and one magical realism novel among, unsurprising, mostly contemporary

~According to my totally sound* analysis the color pink is slightly rising over the years in Asian ya

~Pink is so wide that there are micro trends: pink background, ombre, and more

*there is not enough information about pre-2017 Asian young adult fiction to tell how prominent it was at the time

 

Would I be remiss in not acknowledging millennial pink being a thing in the adult book community (a fact I did not know about until drafting this post)?

I love talking about covers so more posts about covers…

Black Young Adult Cover Trends

Analyze Book Covers: Layers

Analyzing Book Covers

 

(all images are from goodreads except the swoon reads cover voting)

249: With The Fire On High

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo official blog tour banner (11)

I want to first of all thank Harper Collins International and Afire Pages I’m thankful to be a part of this opportunity.

ISBN: 0062662856

Title: With the Fire on High

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: May 7th 2019

No. of Pages: 400

Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Review

🍊 Message About Teen pregnancy

  • Story is set post-pregnancy: not about so many things teen pregnancy books are usually about because it starts at a point most teen pregnancy stories have already ended it is not
  •  goes against because you are a teen mom your life is over and you cannot do anything (which is layered very strongly on certain girls of color because they are seen as hypersexual so any amount of sexuality in them needs to be tamed)
  •  Things that happen around teen pregnancy: teen fathers, how many parents of the father act, and more

🍊Malachi

  • feels like a white knight: guy who is never wrong
  • on opposite hand he made it able for there to be conversations about dating and etc

🍊There is no conflict (sometimes the story felt like it had no conflict)

  • There is something to be said about things going well and happy happening against what we expect for people of color (and for teen moms)
  • it has a good feeling vibe because despite everything it is hopeful

🍊Poverty/poor representation

  • why a lot of poor people struggle to go to college
  • Level of responsibility a lot of poc (particularly women of color) are expected to do or have to do for family

About the author:

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ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is the youngest child and only daughter of Dominican immigrants. She holds a BA in Performing Arts from the George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. With over fourteen years of performance poetry experience, Acevedo is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Cave Canem Fellow, CantoMundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. She has two collections of poetry, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016) and winner of the 2016 Berkshire Prize, Medusa Reads La Negra’s Palm (Tupelo Press, forthcoming). The Poet X is her debut novel. She lives with her partner in Washington, DC.

 

Find her on:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Purchase links:

Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Tour Schedule:

1st week

April 22 – Afire Pages | Welcome Post & BTS Look on the Cover Design Process

April 23 – Reading Peaches

April 24 – Shut Up, Shealea | Printable wallpapers/ bookmarks

April 25 – A Book Devourer | “The Life of Emoni; A Comparison”

April 26 – Bookish Wanderess

April 27 – Flipping Through the Pages

April 28 – Utopia State of Mind

 

2nd week

April 29 – For the Love of Diversity in Books | Aesthetics + Quote Graphics

April 30 – The Royal Polar Bear Reads | Instagram Photos

May 1 – Endless Chapters | Recipe

May 2 – The Ultimate Fangirl

May 3 – The Wolf & Books

May 4 – Book Lover’s Book Reviews

May 5 – Weekend Reader | Cover Inspired Hairstyle

 

3rd week

May 6 – The Writer and The Story | Favorite Quotes

May 7 – Themollyweather

May 8 – All Things Gene

May 9 – Darque Dreamer Reads

May 10 – Your Tita Kate

May 11 – Afergtale | “Stories Our Abuelas Wouldn’t Tell Today”

May 12 – F A N N A

 

Giveaways

Yes, you’ve read it right! This blog tour has giveawayS not just a giveaway. Enter below to enter and win a book or a shirt of With the Fire on High! You can enter not just on either but on BOTH giveaways. The giveaways are open internationally until May 22nd.

#1

ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH

ENTER HERE 🙂

#2

ENTER TO WIN A WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH SHIRT

ENTER HERE 🙂

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Shirt design by Melissa Chan, read more about her designs here.

Novelization/Tie-Ins: Update, TBR, Book Haul

In honor of finishing  the Suicide Squad Novelization its time to talk about more novelizations.

I’ve done two novelization TBRS: one in 2017 and one in 2018

2017: 

Spartacus: Swords and Ashes~ currently reading

Spartacus: Morituri~ read and reviewed

Man of Steel ~ read and reviewed

The Flash: Haunting of Barry Allen~ still unread

Ever After~ still unread

Wonder Woman~ still unread

Mean Girls ~ DNF, I did not like it funny enough I bought Riverdale: The Day Before which I think is lackluster too. But I bought it so I feel I have to finish it, awesome.

Miles Morales Spider-man ~ read and reviewed. Also, go see Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse with Miles Morales.

Mass Effect: Initiation ~ on the fence about reading this because I don’t think I like N.K. Jemisin writing

Star Wars: Phasma ~ DNF, I just couldn’t get into it

Rise of The Isles of the Lost~ on the fence a bit about reading this but leaning more towards reading it because Uma and Cruz is not a bad writer. It’s just for the most part she is an overall eh writer.

2018:

Black Panther Junior Novel~still unread

Thor: Ragnarok Junior Novel~still unread

Spiderman: Homecoming Junior Novel ~ still unread

Alien: Covenant ~still unread

Kong Skull Island ~still unread

Love, Simon (or Simon vs Homosapiens Agenda) ~still unread

Annihilation~ DNF, I think the book is more literary sff which has been shown to not be my cup of tea. 

Monster~ on the fence, on  one hand it is good to see another book talking about police and black people. On the other hand I don’t know if his writing is for me having dnf one of his books. If anything I want to see the movie (even though I recently saw The Hate U Give it was a lot emotionally as a black person, it was a lot).

The Darkest Minds ~on the fence about this but mostly its a no from me. I liked Alexandra Bracken’s The Princess, The Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy(+) I already saw the Darkest Minds movie and thought it was okay (+/-) Sampled first chapter of the book it felt like average ya dystopia fare (-) this one is probably really going to come down to if I find it for cheap somewhere. 

Snow Falling ~ just got this from the library couple of days ago and it’s already a DNF. Only read a little bit but it’s poorly written and obviously thinly (very thinly) veiled reenactment of the show in historical time period.

Assasins Creed: Origins ~still unread

Charmed: The Power of Three ~still unread

Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox ~still unread

War for the Planet of the Apes: Revelations ~still unread

Battlefront II: Inferno Squad ~ read and reviewed, I made a comment in my 2017 tbr about  Phasma. Oddly, I’m more into the Star Wars tie-in novels than the novelizations or the movies.

Surprises Not On The TBR 

Now lets talk about novelizations/tie-ins that I did not have on my TBR that got finished.

Brave (Mini-Rant) ~ Hated it. *inserts In living color gif*

The Ghoul Next Door ~Hated it.

Star Wars: The Princess, The Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy ~ enjoyed it a lot. 

Girl Meets World: Let’s Do This~ surprisingly had fun reading this

Four Acquired, Four Unacquired

I want to mention  quickly that I created a 2019 and 2018 novelizations  releases list on goodreads.

Four I Bought

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Star Trek Discovery Drastic Measures ~ wanted to get Desperate Hours first because Michael is the main character of that one but its cool. I’m excited to get a Star Trek discovery novel overall.

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Riverdale: The Day Before = 50% through it don’t like it but is does read fast.

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Independene Day: Crucible

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Independence Day: Resurgence

Four I Don’t Own

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Dater’s Handbook ~ excited its black woman authored, black main character in a romance, romance is rare in novelizations

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Star Trek: Discovery Desperate Hours

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Dishonored: The Veiled Threat

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Warcraft Novelization ~ I really think that this story will be improved in a 300+ page format. This one has been on my tbr for a very long time the fact that it’s not cheap cheap is causing me not to get it.

256: The Proposal⚾

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Synopsis

The author of The Wedding Date serves up a novel about what happens when a public proposal doesn’t turn into a happy ending, thanks to a woman who knows exactly how to make one on her own…

When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn’t come as a surprise–or happen in front of 45,000 people.

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…

The Bad

From the first page I did not like this book but I thought it would get better.

The story wanted me to be on Nikole side about the proposal from the beginning but if I’m being honest I felt she was slightly in the wrong.  I came around after a while but *shrug* I just did not care

Nikole “Nik”, never did like her she just rubbed me the wrong way

I was so tired of talking about Fisher, the rejected proposal dude.

 Nothing happens= you would get chapters upon chapters with characters saying the same thing

 Forcedness

-diversity=I do not say this lightly, it just felt forced in the way that the characters were first presented

-feminism= Nikole

-relationship=No chemistry between the leads it all seemed like the relationship was in the beginning stages and not we are in love or even we really like each other. As a couple they were not cute or fun to read.

The Meh

There was some interesting events that acknowledged some of my issues  in  that I think should have happened earlier. It would have made the story better.

 

Finished a book off my romance tbr

(all images and the synopsis are from goodreads)

Black Young Adult Cover Trends

Let’s talk about some black cover trends I have noticed.

Flowers/Greenery

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Possible causes: Literary fiction bouquet trend, the content

Calling My Name

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph

The Belles

A Blade So Black

Tyler Johnson Was Here

Learning To Breathe

 

Looking up commentary on the flower trend found this article:

Book Cover Monotony and the Rise of the ‘Bouquet Book’

I wonder if some of these books have flowers because the subject matter of the book. For example, A Blade So Black is about a girl entering into Wonderland so it makes sense there are flowers on the cover.

Art= animated people

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Possible causes: The Hate U Give, Children of Blood and Bone

One of the interesting things I realized while drafting this post is animated covers are becoming more prominent while photographic covers are lessening.

Black Enough: Being Young & Black In America

On The Come Up

Opposite of Always

Watch Us Rise

Girls Like Us

Inventing Victoria

Let Me Hear A Rhyme

Home and Away

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

The Voice In My Head

Finding Yvonne

 

Real Peps

Possible causes: people pushing for black people on book covers

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A Dream So Dark

The Everlasting Rose

The Weight of Stars

Full Disclosure

When Stars Lead to You

Truly Madly Royally

Sorry Not Sorry

Spin

You Don’t Know Me But I Know You

 

No Peps

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Possible causes: the content, dislike of people on covers

Undead Girl Gang

Mirage

No One Here Is Lonely

Overturned

The Beauty That Remains

Beasts Made of Night

 

Minimalism=character + 1 solid color

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Possible causes:  the content

Rebound

Monday’s Not Coming

#PrettyBoyMustDie

Odd One Out

Let’s Talk About Love

Tiffany Sly Lives Here

Security Breach

 

A mini-trend inside a trend I have noticed is red being used as the background color

Thoughts

-Reading the article mentioned earlier I did not know I would leave it thinking that most black book covers fit the content/vibe of the book. I think that is why I don’t personally have a problem with seeing more animated or no people on book covers.

-The cover trends are dispersed over genre: certain cover trends like for example flowers are not regulated to only contemporary.

 

More posts talking about covers…I like talking about covers…

Analyze Book Covers: Layers

Analyzing Book Covers

Top Ten Cover Trends In My TBR

259: A Princess In Theory(&Black💜Romance Novels TBR)

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Synopsis

From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

Selected as one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018!

*this was my first finished book of 2019

The Good

💜Puts commentary into a fun/cute contemporary and does not drag down the story (a skill that is needed more and more in books now)

~Microagressions

~black feminism

~commentary about how women (particularly) black women get treated in science field

~and more

💜Having said all the above it is still fun, it is not heavy

💜Current (mentions f-boys for example)

💜Black love couple (and both are dark skin and have natural hair)

💜Very movie-esque- I could see it becoming a movie

&Black Romance Novel TBR

💜A Royal Wedding by Jeevani Charika

💜Dater’s Handbook by Cara Lockwood

💜The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

💜Reckless by Selena Montgomery

💜One of Alyssa Cole’s other books

(cover image and synopsis from goodreads)