BACKLIST BABBLE – The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

With all the focus on upcoming titles or new releases, it’s easy to forget the books that came months, if not years, before. Books we loved, are only reading now for the first time, or are even rereading.

So in that vein we here at A Take from Two Cities are going to start a semi-frequent (aka whenever we feel like it) feature called Backlist Babble where one, or both, of us are going to babble a bit about a backlist title (or series) we love.

In my case (hi, Hollis here), I’m usually rereading old favourites because a spinoff has been announced or there’s a new book being added to the series. A perfect example of that? The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.

With the announcement of KING OF SCARS, which expanded the Grishaverse once more after the addition of the Six of Crows duology, it felt like the perfect time to reread the books that started it all. Books I remember loving so much when they released — which, in the case of the first book, SHADOW AND BONE, was back in 2013 — but, honestly, had only vague recollections of beyond some of the major key plot points. So I dove back in and, colour me surprised, but I think I liked them better with the passage of time.


I had some trepidation that SHADOW AND BONE a) wouldn’t live up to my memories (vague as they were), b) I would just find it too.. I don’t know what word I’m looking for but.. less. It wouldn’t be on par with the writing or pacing of SIX OF CROWS or CROOKED KINGDOM, and c) I would hate Mal. Because I remember really disliking him.

And, okay, maybe point B is kind of valid but the rest? Nope. I enjoyed the heck out of this. It’s a very nostalgic read for me that I obviously wanted to still like but also wow I had forgotten that pretty much everything I (mostly) remembered of this series actually takes place in book one. I have no idea where book two goes. It’s like my brain just stops here and jumps right to the very end of book three. Weird.

Also, Mal? Not that bad.


I think the reason I had forgotten book two entirely was probably because of how I felt about Mal the first go-round. And yet in hindsight.. I find SIEGE AND STORM to just be mostly heartbreaking. With, like, a lot of hilarity and banter. Fun mix.

I absolutely understand why this is the least liked (?) of the series for so many people. There’s a lot of seemingly tropey or dumb YA behaviour but I actually found it really believable considering the circumstances and the emotional turmoil. I mean, it isn’t without some frustration but it didn’t make me roll my eyes or anything.

For all the emotional upheaval and darkness, there were also these lovely light moments. Like in the beginning and then.. well, okay, that was probably it, but the banter, and Nikolai, really saved this one from being too dark and heavy.

Definitely my favourite of the series.


I’m so satisfied by the ending in RUIN AND RISING. It makes me think of another well-known trilogy that deals with stress and PTSD and loss and shows such a realistic place for the characters to end up. With a happy ending of sorts, sure, but not unmarked. Not without missing pieces. And not without lost friends. There were still breaks for levity and hilarity but again, things are dark, things are hopeless, things are heartbreaking. Until they aren’t. Or until it just is.

I’m so glad I reread this because I had forgotten so much of this series. And I am much better equipped to tackle not only my reread of the Six of Crows duology — and maybe pick up on some of the nuance I might have thought I understood but probably didn’t the first time around — but particularly KING OF SCARS. After everything that went on in this book for Nikolai.. wow, yeah, happy rereader is very happy. It was fun, too, to relive and see how this story built from where Bardugo started it off and also see where she was maybe already planning to take it.


And, of course, a reread wouldn’t be a reread without discovering some new, or overlooked, extras by an author who has fleshed out a world so well. So after reading the original trilogy I also read the beautiful bind-up of the Grishaverse novellas in THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS.

I had previously read maybe half of the stories within this collection but only remembered one or two really well. Revisiting them was a delight, though, and the new ones were just as fabulous. While these stories are all set within the Grishaverse, they are still essentially folktales or retellings, little fantastical bites of magic and myth and slightly twisted tales of morality, so even if you’re not familiar with Bardugo’s world, you can (and will!) definitely still enjoy.

Additionally, beyond the magic of the author’s words, what makes THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS not just great but amazing are the illustrations the evolve on the edges of the pages throughout each story. Stunning. Gorgeous. A total package of whimsy and wonder and heartbreak; of strong girls and brave girls, overlooked girls and betrayed girls.

If you’ve yet to read, or read some or all of the novellas back when they were ebooks, I would highly highly recommend you treat yourself to buying or borrowing a physical copy.

And thus wraps my Backlist Babble for The Grisha Trilogy! Hopefully you enjoyed this feature and we hope to have more to come soon. If you have any suggestions for a back list title for us to read, or revisit, let us know in the comments below.

Also, brief word of caution, neither of us have yet to read KING OF SCARS so no spoilers please!


.. that’s the question that plagues almost every bookie I know. It definitely plagues me. Hi, Hollis here. Once upon a time I used to reread books on an almost yearly basis. Some of my favourite books, and series, were on constant replay, looping through my TBR the way I listen to a song on youtube these days (aka way too many times in a row).

Now it’s a rare event. Now it’s more like.. a reward, a special occasion, a holiday. Actually most of my rereads do happen on holidays, like Christmas. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of the season? I’m not sure. What is new about my pattern of behaviour when it comes to rereading is that, if I can find a copy on my OverDrive (and the narrator doesn’t make my brain bleed), I’ll actually choose an audio reread over a physical book reread. It’s a medium I’m still getting used to, will never be my go-to, but there is an appeal that I didn’t ever expect : it gives the experience a freshness and, bonus, lets me multitask at work.

Okay, Micky’s slice of pie here. I’m interrupting this intelligent rationalisation of rereading to tell you the only time I reread is for comfort. As a mood reader, sometimes I need a familiar friend, a quilt of a book to wrap myself up in, especially if life or work is stressful. I tend to want ease in a reread, not to be challenged by need for deep concentration, some light-ish angst is okay though. I have some go-to books for this like PERSUASION by Jane Austen, THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne, REAL by Katy Evans, OBSIDIAN by Jennifer L Armentrout and many others. Rereading has got me through some sticky life points and I am ever grateful to books for their balming words. I don’t like to reread a book before the next one comes out and will only do this if I really can’t remember; I have to force myself to do this.

So our question is, for the rereaders out there, do you find you have less time to re-experience your favourites? Do you like to flip between audio and reading? Do you find that the more time that passes, the less likely you are to want to reread incase your tastes have change? Or do you like seeing if your tastes change and don’t mind moving on from a favourite?

Can you tell we are curious or are we being too subtle with the barrage of questions? Let us know!


Hi hello, readers, welcome to the first edition of, “If You Like That, Try This!”.

Today we’re going to be talking THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne. If you’ve yet to read this book, stop what you’re doing and go get started. I’ll even give you a handy link. Here. One, two, click, boom. Enjoy. And you’re welcome.

For those of you who have already enjoyed this book (and for those of who have since come back from their impromptu read, hi, welcome back!), I thought it helpful to start out this blog feature with this particular book because something I often hear in Romancelandia/the book community is :

I want more books like THE HATING GAME.
I loved THE HATING GAME, can you give me similar recommendations?

Well, today you’re in luck!

First up we have WALK OF SHAME by Lauren Layne. This is a hate to love between a party girl heiress and a celebrity divorce attorney. They live in the same building and, every day, pass each other in the lobby : one just coming home, the other leaving for work. She loves to tease, he doesn’t have time for her ‘type’, and well.. we all know where that inevitably leads. I loved how Layne made these two go through all the typical motions, all the standard romance tropes, and yet.. make them so self-aware while still managing to change up the game. There’s relentless snark, delicious chemistry, so many two steps forward and three steps back agonies, adorable moments, heartbreaking moments, a little bit of drama, aaaand swoons. While this is shelved under Layne’s Love Unexpectedly series, there’s actually no crossover between any of the books so this totally stands on it’s own.

Next up we have PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT by Julie James. This book actually predates THE HATING GAME but it has that same vibe and is also set in an office; except in this story we have sassy lawyers snarking and pulling pranks on each other as they battle for the one partnership position open in their firm. We have misunderstandings, banter, quips, hijinks, and humour. James had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. I know it’s not very highly rated (at least not on GR) but I loved her writing and I enjoyed the hell out of these characters.

ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker might be the most un-THE HATING GAME-y of all these recommendations but it definitely a worthy addition to this list. Why? Because it’s an excellent hate-to-love romance full of tension and snappy rejoinders — but this one has a fake-boyfriend trope thrown in and is set against the London West End stage. Their chemistry was just so so great and while Parker doesn’t give us any explicit intimate scenes, they were instead a different kind of intimate. The heat was there, yes, but the tenderness and affection was so palpable that you didn’t feel the lack of graphic interactions between the two — just like with Josh and Lucy. With sprinkles of emotional and personal drama alongside the drama of celebrity and actors and PR nightmares, book one in the London Celebrities series was funny without veering into silliness, adorable and swoony, with drama, characters to love, characters to hate, a grumpy hero for all the readers who love them, a strong heroine who gives as good as she gets, a few thrills and chills, and an epilogue that will turn you into a walking talking heart-eyes emoji face.

BUNS by Alice Clayton (#3 of her Hudson Valley series) is a gently funny contemporary romance where hate to something more is on the menu at this hotel. Clara Morgan loves her life of going into a struggling hotel and fixing what is wrong. Being on the move and never really setting down roots works for her. Archie Bryant however, is deeply attached to his family’s hotel which might be a run-down money pit but he knows what he’s doing. Clara’s ideas seem to gain traction and these two are professionally at odds but there’s chemistry and sweet, sweet buns to be had. I honestly got all the feels reading this story. Archie had a stubborn but strong streak to him, with a side of geek. I found him very appealing and I loved reading these two together. If you liked the previous Hudson Valley books, you will see more of the previous characters, the women from previous books are friends with Clara. But you can read this as a standalone and won’t miss out. Got to say though, Cream of the Crop (#2) is worth your time!

BURN FOR YOU by J.T. Geissenger has some of the most delicious hate to love vibes I’ve ever read. Why delicious? Because Bianca is head chef in her own New Orleans restaurant and the food she makes had my mouth watering but the hate chemistry also had me hungry, if you catch my vibe. The ‘BEAST’ Jackson is a rude, rich, entitled arse who comes into Bianca’s restaurant and insults everyone, then he has the front to ask her to cater a fundraiser for him. Bianca needs the money for a very good reason. The sense of family on Bianca’s side paints a rich and bitter-sweet picture. Whilst on Jackson’s side, the breaking through of his persona to his humanity is something to behold. It took me time to be on the side of this couple but it made me all the more loyal. This book had heart and heat with a culinary context that was fantastic and you MUST READ THIS. I’d say I’m sorry we both talk about this book too much, but I’m not!

THE OPPOSITE OF YOU by Rachel Higginson is the first in a series of interconnected standalones that are also in the chef-ing world. What is it about chefs that equals grumpy and sexy? In this first book, both protagonists are chefs but Killan is the locally-reknown ‘IT’ chef with the Michelin star and Vera is the stubborn and strong chef working from the food van across the road with equal talent but unequal footing in the world. Killan is a grumpy grunter, low on communication but there is much more to this over-worked culinary genius than first meets the eye. There’s less banter in this book and more argument but you know what happens after an argument with a couple who create chemistry-laden fireworks? Yeah, THAT. This was a great hate to love read with a fantastic, rich and sometimes traumatic story to tell. I loved this whole series, but you have to start at the beginning.

And there you have it! We hope you check out and enjoy (if not love) these recommendations — please let us know if you do. And if you have any suggestions for our next “If You Like This..” feature, send them our way!

JUNE 2019 TBRs

Micky is a mood reader who tries to splice in ARCs and library reads as per her momentary mood. She is also a polyreader. Hollis is an organised creature who is always sickeningly ahead of the game with her ARCs, library reads, and general reads. Hollis sensibly reads one book at a time. Micky is jealous of Hollis.

Micky’s June TBR

I try and have a physical TBR which is often aspirational and ambitious. I have a rough eBook TBR that always includes my ARCs, the rest is mood for audio (I commute and listen) and owned eBooks.

This month my planned ARCs are:

THE PERFECT DATE by Evelyn Lozada
OUR STOP by Laura Jane Williams
THE AU PAIR by Emma Rous

This is my physical TBR plan:
MARESI RED MANTLE by Maria Turtschaninoff
THE GIRL IN RED by Christina Henry
SKY IN THE DEEP by Adrienne Young
NAONDEL by Maria Turtshcaninoff
THE GIRL IN RED by Christina Henry

These are the audios I’d like to accompany me to work:

BUTTERFLY TATTOO by Deirdre Knight
99 PERCENT MINE by Sally Thorne (reread)
RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston
SHERWOOD by Meagan Spooner

Hollis’ June TBR

My TBRs are far more loosey-goosey in the sense that the only thing I plan are.. deadlines. ARC due in a few weeks? Great, it’s on my TBR for the month! Library hold comes available? Great, it’s on my TBR for the month!

The ARCs I have due are :
THE FRIEND ZONE by Abby Jimenez
STORM AND FURY by Jennifer L Armentrout

and I might also pick up LETS CALL IT A DOOMSDAY by Katie Henry, though the release date isn’t until August.

As for non-ARCs, I’m finally going to read CALL ME BY YOUR NAME by AndrĂ© Aciman, a book long overdue for this m/m reader, and very likely CINDER & THE PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT by Susan Ee which releases June third. Also, if the OverDrive gods are kind, I’m hoping to also get to THE TAKEOVER EFFECT by Nisha Sharma, which Micky highly recommended last month, as well as THE BRONZE HORSEMAN by Paullina Simons which is another read I’m very late to the party for.

What’s on your TBR for the month? Let us know in the comments!


Each month, we’ll be putting together a list of our top most anticipated releases; from romance, to sci-fi, to fantasy, and everything in between. These releases might be ones we’re counting down the days for or ones we’ve already read and want you to read (and love!), too.

What you do need to bear in mind is that living on different continents we have different release dates. So as a general rule there might be some repeats from one month to the next.. it’s not that we’re just being weird. Though we can’t dismiss that totally out of turn.

For June, Micky’s hotly anticipated titles are :

Top of my list is THE BRIDE TEST by Helen Hoang. I know it released last month in the US but the paperback is only out in the UK this month. I got an early copy and I adored this so I am all anticipation for my fellow UK readers. This story has all the appeals in terms of characters, diversity and representation wrapped up in a mail order bride type story. Don’t hesitate on this one. THE BRIDE TEST is out on JUNE 6, 2019.

THE GIRL IN RED by Christina Henry is a red riding hood retelling in what sounds like a post-apocalyptic context. The woman in the red jacket is just trying to stay alive and keep away from the woods and everything that lurks there. This sounds like a dark tale with a strong woman who will do anything to stay alive. THE GIRL IN RED is out on June 18, 2019.

Some Penny Reid fans have been reading KISSING GALLILEO weekly in her e-newsletter for free but I am the kind of reader that prefers to wait for it all bundled up as a whole story, so I am looking forward to this release. This second installment in her Dear Professor series promises to bring Penny Reid’s special brand of wit and intellect. KISSING GALILEO is out on June 11, 2019.

NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH A ROCKSTAR by Rachel Higginson centres on Clover Calloway who is a has-been rock star, now with a normal life she has built and savours. The musical life is over because her heart got shattered by the lead singer in the band she played with and now he’s back. AND I am clicking this as soon as it drops! NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH A ROCKSTAR is out on June 25, 2019.

For June, Hollis’ hotly anticipated titles are :

I’ve been plagued by disappointing YA fantasy reads of late but I can’t help but be excited about SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson. First of all, that cover? Stunning. Secondly this is about sorcerers and libraries and seems to feature a hate-to-love pairing? I’m more than willing to give this a go and from seeing some early reviews I have hopes it won’t let me down! SORCERY OF THORNS is out June 4, 2019.

LIKE A LOVE STORY by Abdi Nazemian is a YA historical fiction novel set in the eighties around the AIDS crisis. It follows three teens, one gay and closeted, another out and proud, and a third who has an uncle dying of AIDS. This is diverse, #ownvoices, and sounds compelling and heartbreaking in equal measure. LIKE A LOVE STORY is out June 4, 2019.

THE FRIEND ZONE by Abby Jimenez is a women’s fiction title that is getting tons of buzz right now in Romancelandia and seems to be one that will make you laugh, cry, and cry-laugh. My favourite kind of book! This is also the author’s debut which is very exciting. THE FRIEND ZONE is out June 11, 2019.

I read OFF THE ICE by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn, the first in this duo’s Hat Trick series, back in 2017 and really loved it! Now they’re back (finally..) with GOALIE INTERFERENCE which features an enemies to lovers trope but made better : it’s an m/m romance with two goalies. I know it’s a cliche, as a Canadian, to be a hockey fan but I own it. However a little known (hah) fact is that goalies tend to be my favourite players. So, yeah, I’m very much anticipating this one. GOALIE INTERFERENCE is out June 17, 2019.

What titles are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments below!


How do you feel about debut authors? Are you likely to pick up an unknown author or do you prefer reading the tried, tested, and true? We here at A Take from Two Cities find ourselves picking up quite a few unknowns, either because the synopsis of an ARC intrigues us or we’ve heard buzz from the community and/or friends.

Some of these debut titles on our list are quite well known now. Others don’t get half as much love as they deserve (in our opinion). Additionally some of these authors have put out quite a few books since these particular releases, leaving their ‘debut author’ status far behind.

Here’s a list of just some of our favourites.

Micky’s memorable debuts

FROSTBLOOD by Elly Blake
TO KILL A KINGDOM by Alexandra Christo
THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne
ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker
THE KEEPER by Jillian Liota
WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones
ON THE ISLAND by Tracey Garver Graves
UNTEACHABLE by Leah Raeder (Elliot Wake)

Hollis’ memorable debuts

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston
THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne
BAD JUDGMENT by Sidney Bell
ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker
FIRST & THEN by Emma Mills
THE KING’S MAN by Elizabeth Kingston
DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST by Juliet Marillier

Did your favourite debut also make our list? What would you add? Let us know in the comments!


Micky here. Whenever I speak to my fellow bookworms about TBRs, I realise I am not alone in terms of the increasing number of unread books on my kindle and the growing stack of unread physical books scattered around my house. I am beginning to believe that unread books are like zombies; no matter how far or fast you run, they keep following in your wake and just won’t give up. They’re coming to get me because I keep ignoring them (Hollis would like to point out she’s probably going to have some weird nightmares about this visual later). So I am going to use this post to out my unread stats, possibly make you feel generally better about your own backlog, whilst also initiating the ‘I wont feel bad about my TBR’ club.

For some time, probably about three years, I have had an ‘owned but not read’ shelf on my Goodreads bookshelf. This is my attempt to try and keep myself accountable to the owned books that I do want to read but, for one reason or another, I just forget about. This shelf includes my ebook and physical owned books. Are you ready for my current total?

Yes, you read it correctly, I have 383 owned books that I haven’t read. This is terrible, you say? I don’t think so. You see, I’ve been through this ‘pile’ of books and I still want to read what’s there. Most months I get to one or two of my owned books, do I keep buying? Yes, but not indiscriminately. If I think back to my ebook buying habits of old, I would click on a bargain, now I always think about whether my library has it and if I am going to read it soon. I have had periods of being in a book buying ban and that’s been good for a time but buying books also brings me pleasure so I’m cool with it if I can afford it.

One of the reasons that my owned books total doesn’t go down as fast as it might considering the volume I read is because I get arc books each month and I prioritise those reads because they are on a deadline for review. Sometimes I have a KU subscription, so you gotta get value for money, library books…and the excuses just keep coming.

All in all, I’m sorry but I just don’t feel guilty about it. I know how many books are on my TBR and I am strangely comfortable with it. Being a mood reader, I know I will always find something on my kindle or shelf that will match my mood. It’s like knowing you have chocolate in the cupboard, yeah? Hollis, give us your take.

Welp, I remember about two years ago Micky convinced (read : guilt tripped) me to add up all my unread physical books as well as sort through my kindle to suss out what had yet to be read — like Micky, and probably lots of other bookies, I was prone to one-clicking freebies and dollar eBooks.. just because (I don’t do this as much anymore. I discovered some chill, also the library).

So I, too, created a shelf to track everything on GR because I rely on many shelves for that purpose (my ARC TBR shelf being my constant lifesaver with regards to deadlines). That being said.. I was not so great at updating said shelves. All that work and did I consistently log purchased eBooks? Maybe one out of every ten. And physicals? I don’t buy many books anymore so this might actually not be too far off the mark but honestly who knows.

Do I now feel obligated to go and tally all my totals so that, come the end of the year, I have proper stats for you? Yes. Accountability for the win! In the meantime though here’s what my shelves look like :

Ultimately though I don’t really feel any kind of general pressure about my TBR. It’s an amorphous blob of a presence in the back of my head; like the thought of property taxes or a Pap smear. I know it’s out there, and I dread looking it in the eye, but it’s also just a fact of life. But less like a Pap smear, my TBR is generally vague. There’s lots of books I want to read. Sometimes I even throw myself a little party for shifting a book off my GR “want to read” shelf and putting it on my “read” shelf instead of just adding to the “read” with library or ARC reads. Other times I go through a big cleanse and delete hundred of books off my “want to read” shelf. It’s an ever fluctuating process. Tastes change, plots that sounded interesting four years ago are just.. not anymore, and if I only get to knock out twenty backlist titles a year? Well, that’s okay. More to savour the next year. The scarier concept (beyond Micky’s zombie scenario) is running out of books to read. Cue fainting gif.

So there you have it! We are a pretty chill duo when it comes to the pressures of reading. But we’d love to hear your position on your TBR stats. Whether it stresses you out, whether you prefer not to know the number, or if the TBR force is strong with you and it is a manageable number. Tell us all the things!


Each month, we’ll be putting together a list of our top most anticipated releases; from romance, to sci-fi, to fantasy, and everything in between. These releases might be ones we’re counting down the days for or ones we’ve already read and want you to read (and love!), too.

What you do need to bear in mind is that living on different continents we have different release dates; for example, THE BRIDE TEST is out in May for Canada but not until June for the UK. So as a general rule there might be some repeats from one month to the next.. it’s not that we’re just being weird. Though we can’t dismiss that totally out of turn.

For May, Hollis’ hotly anticipated titles are :

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid the hype on this one.. I’d love to know where you’re hiding because I’m pretty sure you have the best spot picked out to survive the apocalypse. So, for those of you don’t know, this is a New Adult (not YA!) debut featuring the President’s son, Alex, and Henry, the Prince of Wales. They form an unlikely (faked) friendship after scandal strikes and that friendship becomes.. more. This was hilarious, heartwarming, and heavily populated by real world politics somewhat turned on its head. I’ve already read it (you might notice a trend with that..) and can’t recommend it enough. You can get your hands on it on May 14, 2019.

HER ROYAL HIGHNESS by Rachel Hawkins is a f/f YA contemporary, set in the world established by the first book, PRINCE CHARMING (previously titled ROYALS), and focuses on Mille, a girl from Houston, given an opportunity to spend a year abroad in Scotland at a boarding school, and ends up rooming with a princess. No, but like, an actual Scottish Princess. This was adorable, with lots of my favourite kinds of tropes, and is honestly just a feel good rom-com — but sapphic. HER ROYAL HIGHNESS is out May 7, 2019.

Also out May 7th, and highly anticipated by probably everyone in Romancelandia, is THE BRIDE TEST, Helen Hoang’s sophomore title following the huge success, and taking place in the same world, of THE KISS QUOTIENT. We follow another austistic lead character, Khai, but his autistic experience is very different from Stella’s, and the love interest, Esme, is inspired by Hoang’s own mother’s immigrant experience. This author continues to bring not only the diversity but some sorely needed representation to the Romance genre and this is a very swoony, sweet, read that is very different from THE KISS QUOTIENT. But one I definitely still recommend.

BIRTHDAY by Meredith Russo is a coming of age YA LGBTQ+ contemporary focusing on two individuals, Morgan and Eric, who are born on the same day in the same hospital. We see them grow up, discover themselves, drift apart, and everything in between. I loved the subject matter, I hurt from the agony of some of the characters’ experiences, their struggles, but their enduring connection, the evolution of it, was just so heartbreakingly beautiful. This was my first by this author but it won’t be my last. BIRTHDAY is out May 21, 2019, and I would definitely recommend you pick it up.

Finally, we have AURORA RISING by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This is the only book on this list I have not read and as a result the excitement is really really real. Because I just don’t know what to expect. This is another YA sci-fi book from the authors who brought us the Illuminae Files and honestly I didn’t need much more information than that before I preordered it. I saw their names, saw space, and was done. But I would’ve been keen even if it wasn’t sci-fi. Can’t wait to read this.. and not long now! AURORA RISING is out May 7, 2019.

For May, the titles Micky is getting excited about are:

Hello AURORA RISING is the top of my list. I’m not going to repeat what Hollis has just said but I am beyond fangirl about this writing duo. I have a few copies pre-ordered, the Goldsboro and Illumicrate editions. Hollis and I normally buddy read these authors’ work so watch out for that.

PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND OTHER FLAVORS by Sonali Dev has my attention and I am 10% into an arc of this and loving the feel of it. Desi context romance has appeal for me and splicing that with a retake on P&P has all the potential for enjoyment. I’ve enjoyed Sonali Dev’s work before so I know her writing style works for me. There will be a review for this up and coming soon.

I’m afraid Jay Kristoff is Mr Popular this month with DEV1AT3, the follow-up to LIFEL1K3. I found the world created in this series compelling and it was only after I read book one that I heard comparisons to an Anastasia retelling and there’s definitely something in that. However, it had more of a Mad Max feel to me, whatever you want to compare it to, this was fast-paced, twisty reading and I want more.

I am a long-standing fan of Samantha Young and so her continuation of the Hart’s Boardwalk series equals a desire to be back there. I’ve read an arc of this new release and it didn’t disappoint, so look out for THINGS WE NEVER SAID.

What titles are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments below!


Micky is a mood reader who tries to splice in arcs and library reads as per her momentary mood. She is also a poly reader (current reads are seven at present). Hollis is an organised creature who is always sickeningly ahead of the game with her arcs, library reads, and general reads. Hollis sensibly reads one book at a time. Micky is jealous of Hollis.

Micky’s May tbr

I try and have a physical tbr which is often inspirational and ambitious. I have a rough ebook tbr that always includes my arcs, the rest is mood for audio (I commute and listen) and owned ebooks.

This month my planned arcs are: Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev, Things We Never Said by Samantha Young, Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett (UK release date is later than the US date), Stepsister by Jennifer Donnolley and Million Dollar Devil by Katy Evans. I have an expiring KU subscription and I’m determined to fit in Crash by Harper Dallas and hopefully Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan.

This is my physical tbr pictured below and I have to admit that A Curse So Dark and Lonely was on my April tbr!


Hollis’ May TBR

I may be more “sensible” with my reading habits but my TBRs are also far more loosey-goosey in the sense that the only thing I plan are.. deadlines. ARC due in a few weeks? Great, it’s on my TBR for the month! Library hold comes available? Great, it’s on my TBR for the month!

This month includes one ARC that is actually to be published in May (on the seventh, yikes, cutting this one close) which is ROMANOV by Nadine Brandes. I’m also planning to read ARCs of SORCERY OF THORNS by Margaret Rogerson and LIKE A LOVE STORY by Abdi Nazemian — both releasing June 4, 2019. However, I’m also planning to snap up the brand new (!) m/m contemporary romance by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen — the first from this duo in over three years! — that is publishing on May seventh. If you’re only hearing about TOP SECRET now, well, where have you been! Can’t wait.

What’s on your TBR for the month? Let us know in the comments!


Well hello!

Micky and Hollis here. Just wanted to extend a big, blissful, bookish welcome to you for visiting our little corner of the internet. We know there are many book blogs out there and we appreciate you clicking on this one; particularly as we’re just getting out feet wet in this new medium.

We hope to have reviews, wrap ups, anticipated titles, and more, for you to enjoy very soon!

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