TKT by LJ Shen: Cover and Blurb Revealed

One of my favorite authors, LJ Shen, is coming out with a new book on January 9, and she has been sharing teasers about it for months, but the time has finally come to reveal the title, cover, and blurb for the book, and I am even more excited!

If you enjoy reading romance, then you definitely need to check her out! And she can write enemies-to-lovers romances like no one else! Seriously, every time I am having a bad day, or even just in a reading slump that nothing can get me out of, her books ALWAYS do the trick. I only discovered her a few months ago, but have already read everything she’s written and am craving more.

Now, without further ado, I present The Kiss Thief by LJ Shen!


by L.J. Shen

Release Date: January 9th

Add to Goodreads:

They say your first kiss should be earned.

Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.

They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.

Mine were broken before we left church.

They say your heart only beats for one man.

Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.

I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.

Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.

They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.

I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.

One kiss.

Two men.

Three lives.

Entwined together.

And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

About the Author
L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

Connect with L.J. Shen




Before (After series book 5) by Anna Todd

“But he was terrified of their future, for he learned as a child that every lie made in the dark becomes an evil truth in the light.”

My review will contain spoilers for all five books in the series.

Before is supposed to be a re-telling of book one from Hardin’s point of view, and as such, I thought it would kind of explain his actions, and what exactly he was thinking when he decided to share Tessa’s blood-stained sheet, but of course, that isn’t even TOUCHED on. Instead, this book was just a mess, kind of disjointed, and pointless.

Nor do we get to see the scene where he says I love you for the first time, or what he was thinking about when he took it back. Honestly, she did a very halfway, shoddy job in “re-telling” the story for the first book. If she was going to be that lazy about it and not even include half the scenes, why even bother?? I mean, she doesn’t show what he was thinking when he got their first apartment, or him actually winning the money, and what he decides to do with it afterwards.

“I try to imagine my life if she left. She would take with her all the color I’ve worked on painting into my life.”

The book just randomly jumps from that night at Landon’s house to a long time later with him asking her to move in with him. Um, what? And there is no indication of time given throughout the book. Just horrible writing all around.Honestly, she should have just included these parts in After. If she was worried that his thoughts would ruin the big twist… well, a skilled writer would know how to keep the mystery going.

But to go back to the beginning, we get to see the scenes of how Natalie, Molly, Melissa, and Steph first meet Hardin, but not their actual relationship with him. What was the point of that? I mean, learning Molly’s background: you think it would make her more sympathetic or a good person, but it doesn’t. I don’t think Anna Todd knows how to write good, well-rounded females.

Then at the end, we get to see what some of the male characters are up to, but it just randomly jumps in time without giving any indication how far into the future she has whimsically just flown into. And I could have cared less about Zed meeting a Tessa look-a-like whose name happens to be Therese. None of the other characters have learned their lesson or feel any remorse because they’re ready to have another bet, including Molly. So insanely stupid.

I could have just skipped over Christian’s chapter and been just fine. That chapter only further goes to prove the author doesn’t have a good grasp on time because she only goes back twenty years, when he first starts having feeling for Trish, but um… Hardin is 21+. Don’t think she knows how to do math. Or she just likes to insult her reader’s intelligence. Probably both.

And then we get two random ~Hessa~ scenes that are completely pointless and they still don’t get married. The end. I don’t think I’ll be checking out any more books by this author.

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: October 2018

I am once again participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon (for the fourth time!). Getting a very late start because my niece and nephew were over earlier so I played with them, and then I had other tasks to take care of, but I’m slowly getting started now (nearing noon, so almost 5 hours have past of the readathon already). Normally I try to clear out my schedule for the day as best as I can, but I have so many errands for this weekend I’m not sure how much time I’ll actually be able to dedicate to the readathon this time. I’m okay with that because I have read more this year than I ever have before in my life (nearing 100 books!), so I’m okay with keeping this more low key. Especially since come Tuesday, I am going to dedicate several hours, or as much of the day as possible, to reading Kingdom of Ash!

Okay, now before I begin, a few more notes:
– I will try and update this blog hourly, so if you’re interested to see how I’m doing, refresh the page periodically!
– I’m also going to try and update my instagram every now and then, so go and follow me there: @moonspree.

My first update should come in an hour (at 1 PM CST, so check back then!).

Hour 6 (1 PM): Hour 6 is over, and I’ve only managed to read about 15 pages of Lady Midnight. I just can’t seem to concentrate. I am enjoying the book, but it’s rather slow-moving. And still feeling sleepy thanks to some allergy medication, so I think I’m going to head out now to get some coffee. I’ll try and listen to an audiobook on the way and hope I have better luck with my reading the rest of the day!

Hour 7: I’ve made some progress! I read Scooby-Doo and the Witching Hour, and even though it was a kids’ book, I actually finished an entire book! I think I feel more motivated to continue now. (15 pages)

Hour 8: I started reading a Wonder Woman graphic novel, and got 1/3 of the way through (~40 pages) before I got tired of it and switched to Reese Witherspoon’s new book, and read 50 pages of that. Quickly took a food break and ate half a bagel as well, now I’m refreshed and ready to go for the next hour!

Hour 9: Read 50 more pages of Wonder Woman (only 30 more to go before I’m done!) and then 50 more of Reese’s book (it has a lot of pictures, so it’s a fast read; but I’m getting pretty annoyed with it so I might put it down for the day). I need to find something else to read after Wonder Woman, something that I will enjoy a lot more than either of these books. I could always pick up another LJ shen book.

Hour 10: Finished Wonder Woman (30 pages)! And started If We Were Villains (10 pages so far), but I’m already having a hard time keeping up with all of the characters. I feel like I need to pull out a notepad and pencil to keep up. But I am enjoying it so far!  I think I’m about to take a really early dinner break now.

Hour 12: I didn’t update for hour 11 because I took a break to go pick up some pizza and snacks. I ate while watching an episode of Melissa and Joey, and then started reading again a little after 6. I decided to try and attempt to finish A Court of Frost and Starlight finally since it’s such a short book, and I have read 35 pages so far. Only 120 more to go until I finish!

Hour 13: Read another 65 pages in ACOFAS! Only 65 more to go until I finish! Not liking it any more than I did previously, but at least I’ll be done with this book.

Hour 14: Read those last 65 pages and finished ACOFAS! Thank goodness! Now I will pick up one last book before I sleep. Not sure yet what it will be, but it may be an LJ Shen book because those keep me hooked!

The End: I read 10 pages of The Sword in The Stone, but after that, my anxiety of everything I had put off for the day kicked in and I couldn’t concentrate on reading anymore. Instead, I watched a couple of episodes of Melissa and Joey and then went to sleep. I still consider it a successful readathon since I finished a book I had been meaning to since May, read a graphic novel that otherwise who knows when I would have gotten to, and finished a kids’ book that I had checked out from the library as well so I can return it. I’m already looking forward to the next one!

Pages read: 435
Books read: 3

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories | Edited by Stephanie Perkins

“Now summer was round and full, fruit ready to burst, a sun emerging fat, yellow, and happy from the sea.”
– Leigh Bardugo

This is a collection of twelve short stories that all take place in the summer, and they are definitely a perfect summer read (well, the ones I enjoyed anyway), but I think they can be enjoyed at any time of the year. This book was worth it for the stories by Leigh Bardugo, Libba Bray, Lev Grossman, and Veronica Roth. Others were a hit and miss, but I’ve written my thoughts on each of them so you can get an idea what they’re about.

 Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★★
This review was posted to my blog two days ago!

 The End of Love by Nina LaCour ★★★★
This story is about Flora, who is taking geometry in summer school after 11th grade even though she did well in it the first time around. She says she just needs something to keep her out of the house because her parents are going through a divorce. It’s in this class that she runs into a group of her ex-boyfriend’s friends, including the girl she had a crush on while she was dating her boyfriend. It was this girl that made her realize that she had feelings for girls, but then they lost touch because they went to different schools. Anyway, this girl invites her on a camping trip, and the description of this camping trip was so beautiful, and this is where their relationship begins to develop.

 Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray ★★★★★
This review was posted to my blog yesterday!

 Sick Pleasure by Francesca Lia Block 0 ★s
This one just had me going WTF the whole time. It’s so confusing because the narrator doesn’t refer to anyone by name, just initials. So in my head, I jokingly thought I guess her initial is “I” since that’s how she refers to herself in the first person… But then when a character asks her her name, she actually says it’s “I.” Creative much?

But I was willing to get past that because I’ve loved the first three stories in this book and thought this one must be worth it too, but nope. It only got worse as the story progressed. It felt like I was reading this book through a haze, and that’s exactly what other reviewers have said. There’s a bunch of disjointed scenes thrown all together and really no plot.

There IS what seems like a date rape, but it’s never called such and never mentioned again. No repercussions, nothing. And the story just got even more depressing from there. It made no sense and I absolutely regret reading this thing. Like, my life would have been better had I never read this. That’s how much I hated it.

 In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins ★★★
I expected this to be one of my favorites in this collection because I’ve loved all three YA romances that Stephanie Perkins has written, but I just found this one slightly gloomy and not so happy. Marigold Moon Ling has traveled from Atlanta back to North Carolina to meet up with, and try to “rescue”, her recent ex-boyfriend North from a boring life of working at his parents’ Christmas tree farm. When she gets there, she finds out that he’s actually working an hour away at a mountain working a funicular, so she heads there. The description of the mountain and the funicular were absolutely beautiful and made me feel like I was right there. But her meeting with North left a lot to be desired because he was really short and curt with her. In the end, he does explain why, but I just wasn’t feeling the little “romance” in this that was there.

 Souvenirs by Tim Federle ★★
This takes place at a local Pennsylvania amusement park, and while I loved the setting, I couldn’t have cared less for the story. And it’s the only one that ends with the two breaking up by the end (which is fine, because one of them seemed rather narcissistic anyway).

 Inertia by Veronica Roth ★★★★
I enjoyed this story, and I think it’s one that will stay with me. It’s about a girl who suffers from depression but doesn’t want to take treatment for it, and the guy who used to be her best friend. He gets in a car crash and suffers near fatal injuries.

 Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skvron ★
What even was this story? And how did it end up in this collection? It was full of cliches. There was no character development, no buildup to the relationships, just everyone pairing off by the end. The writing was so cringey and had me rolling my eyes. I skimmed through this as fast as I could.

 Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert ★★
This was about a girl, Rashida, who is sad that her cousin is leaving her in Chicago to move to San Francisco with her gf. This cousin has been like a surrogate mother to her the past four years since her own mother passed away from taking a bottle of anti-depressants. There is a good-bye party for her cousin Audrey and Gillian, and while there, Rashida snaps at Gillian for offering her something to drink when she very well knows she’s in high school and her family is here. Immediately, Gillian’s brother Pierre steps in to snap back at Rashida. A little while later, Rashida is in the bathroom fixing her makeup or something, and there Pierre is again to bully her some more, letting her know that he’s sad too but it’s not like anyone’s dying or anything. And that’s exactly what you don’t say to someone whose mother passed away.

Gillian ends up drinking so much that she’s ready to pass out, and it somehow takes all three of them to take her back to the apartment. And that sums up this story. Oh, and if you can’t tell, Rashida and Pierre end up having a thing after she decides she’d like to stay in the apartment to watch Gillian with him rather than return to the party: as if staying with a guy who was such a jerk to you is the better option. Eye roll.

I’m giving this an extra star because it does cover an important talk: the taboo of talking about mental health/anti-depressants in the African American community.

 Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare ★★★

“It was a dark carnival. You know the drill. Evil clowns lurching out of the shadows, blood on their puffy white gloves. Tattered Big Top, blowing in a hot summer breeze. insane giggling children running in and out of the shadows. The hall of mirrors that throws back terrifying, distorted reflections. The tattooed man whose tattoos move and crawl on his skin, the merry-go-round that turns back time, the bearded lady who comes at you with a carving knife, and the forutne-teller who gives you only bad news.”

I loved the atmostphere/setting for this, but I just didn’t care too much for the characters or the story.

 A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith ★★★
This one takes place at a summer camp for kids, where the main character is a counselor. She spends a lot of time helping a kid with autism. One night after camp she’s at a grocery store, and she runs into a cute guy from school that she decides to ask out. And by the end of the story, you find out that he too is on the spectrum (Aspergers). It was very obvious to the reader from the beginning, but not at all to her. When she finds out, she decides it changes everything, yet when she verbalizes her feelings, she says she still wants to date him. That made no sense to me. One second it seemed like she had lost all interested in him, and the next, it didn’t? I don’t know. I couldn’t connect with this story either.

 The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman ★★★★★
This story was absolutely beautiful and made trudging through some of the above stories worth it just to get to this. I don’t even have words, but if you only read one story in this collection, make it this one. I’m looking forward to reading more by Lev Grossman now!

Last Stand at the Cinegore by Libba Bray

This short story can also be found in the anthology, Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, and my review for that will be up tomorrow. But I wanted to highlight this one as well because it was one of my favorites, and is the perfect fall/Halloween read!

“On the last night of the Cinegore, the sky looked like it needed to call in sick, all yellow-green going dark around the edges like an infected cut, a summer storm heading in hard.”

This was such a beautiful, atmospheric horror/fantasy read. This story revolves around Kevin, who is working his last day at the local movie theater in Deadwood, Texas, the Cinegore, which will be shut down the next day. There is an urban legend surrounding its inception: A Mr. Scratsche had moved to Deadwood in 1963 and bought this run-down 1920s movie palace, the Cinemore Theater. He re-named it “the Cinegore” and turned it into a horror movie palace. It featured “state-of-the-art details like Smell-O-Vision, Tingler shocker seats, skeletons that zoomed above the audience’s heads on an invisible wire,” and a 3-D screen and completely sounds like a place I wish I could visit! No one had seen Mr. Scratsche in years, but when staff for the place are hired, they’re asked to fill out a questionnaire about their hopes, dreams, and fears to see if they will be a good fit for the place.

The last movie they are playing is I Walk This Earth, which is said to be cursed, as all the people who worked on this movie died in mysterious ways: the lead actress hung herself in a motel room, the teen heartthrob was beheaded when he crashed his car into a tree, and the director confessed that he’d sold his soul to the devil to make the film, and that it had the power to corrupt anyone who watched it and should not be seen by human eyes. And this may have just been my favorite story of the entire collection, mostly because I just love stories set in movie theaters, but also because unlike all the horror movies out there, it actually has a good, satisfying ending.

Head, Scales, Tongue, Tail by Leigh Bardugo

This short story can be found in the anthology Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, and I will have my review up for that later this week.

But this story was absolutely magical and breathtaking and heart-breaking. It revolves around three different characters:

Annalee Saperstein , a woman who ran a laundromat in New York until she met Ruth in 1986.

“This town was full of sham monsters, fake witches, stories that were just stories. But anything was worth a try.”

Ruth is a girl in New York who dreamed of a river god touching and kissing her, and nine months later, she gave birth to a baby with kelp-green eyes and ropes of seaweed hair. Her father kicked her out, and Annalee took her in and believed in her when no one else did. Her daughter grew up to be a famous model, which allowed Annalee to quit her job, move to Little Spindle, and open a Dairy Queen franchise. This is where she meets Gracie.

“Gracie floated in her sandals. She felt covered in jewels. Her bicycle was a winged horse.”

Gracie is a teenager growing up in Little Spindle, a small town where some families come for the summer every year. And this is where our story takes place. Gracie noticed some strange, almost magical creature in the river but doesn’t think anyone would believe her about it. She talks to Annalee about this, and Annalee says she should talk to this boy, Eli, who comes to Little Spindle every summer. Boy meets girl, and you know what happens next. BUT there is a huge twist at the end that I almost didn’t see coming. But their friendship did start with Gracie’s hunt for the magical creature in the water, which Eli admits he’s not sure is real, but this leads them to talking about cryptozoology: “Statistically. But no one was sure the giant squid was real until they started washing up on beachines in New Zealand…There’s a specimen at the Natural History Museum in London that’s 28 feet long. They think that’s a small one. And, “Every culture has its own set of megafauna. A giant blue crow has been spotted in Brazil.” 

“She was cherry dip cones, all those old paperbacks, records stacked on dusty shelves—something to hold Eli’s interest, maybe even something he really liked, but a summer thing, not quite real when the weather turned.”

And more quotes I liked because her writing is just too beautiful not to share:

“Why do you eat that way? Like you’re going to write an essay about every bite. You’re eating a cheeseburger, not defusing a bomb.”

“The summer took on a different shape–a desperate, jagged shape, the rise and fall of a dragon’s back. The world felt full of hazards. Every song on every album bristled with portent.”

“They slipped down the Mohawk to the Hudson, past the river god with his sloped gray shoulders, and out into the Atlantic. They met polar bears in the Arctic, frightened manatees near the Florida Keys. They curled together in a knot, watching the dream lights of jellyfish off the coast of Australia.”

Top Ten Tuesday: Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

This was a hard topic because I don’t keep track of my books by page length, and even though Goodreads lets you see which was the longest book you read per year, they don’t let you sort ALL the books you’ve read in order of page length (although if there is a way to do this, please comment and let me know!). So I went to Goodreads and looked at what was the longest book I read each year, and this is what I got. Although by the time I got to 2015, I don’t think I tracked every single book I read on goodreads, so this may not be accurate, but here we go:

2018: City of Heavenly Fire, 725 pages
Although one problem with Cassandra Clare books is that they use a lot larger font than every other book (such as Sarah J. Maas’s). PLUS, there is a bigger amount of spacing between the lines as well, artifically inflating the page count of her books. I’m not quite sure why the publishers do this? It’s rather annoying, especially because the books end up being so thick and hard to hold. I mean, if you put a Sarah J. Maas book next to this one, Sarah J. Maas’s will come out to be a lot thinner in terms of spine, which I like. All that to say, this is probably not the longest book I read this year, since I also read Tower of Dawn (and plan to read Kingdom of Ash!), but in terms of artificially inflated page numbers, it is.

2017: Empire of Storms, 693 pages
And there you have it. I mentioned Sarah J. Maas, and of course her book was the longest for this year. High fantasy usually is.

2016: A Court of Mist and Fury, 626 pages
Another Sarah J. Maas.

2015: The Hypnotist’s Love Story, 466 pages
I’m not sure if this was actually the longest I read this year (and if it was, wow sad), but I don’t think I have all my books logged in on goodreads

2014: Cracking the MCAT by the Princeton Review, 1168 pages
Yup, I used to be pre-med once upon a time. And I’m not even sure I read this in its entirety?

2013: Velocity by Dean Koontz, 460 pages
Another short one, mostly because I haven’t logged all my books on goodreads.

Okay, after that I barely have any books on goodreads, so I’m just going to pick a few random ones:
Longest audiobook I’ve “read”: A Time to Kill by John Grisham (it was a total of 17 torturous hours, but by the end I was listening to it on 2x speed).
Longest book I have read in a single day: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! This was probably the longest book I had ever read in my life up to that point, and probably the longest book I have ever read in a single day.
Longest book I plan to (maybe) one day read: A Count of Monte Cristo with over 1,000 pages. I originally wanted to read this when I was watching the show Revenge, and it was loosely based on that. I had plans to read it during the hiatus of that show, but then I lost interest in that show and the length of this book.
Longest book I gave up on: Anna Karenina, 800-1,000 pages (DNF @ 200 pages). It was just really boring, and was I really interested in reading about an adulterous “romance”? No, thank you.

Also wow, this was kind of another boring topic because who wants to hear so much about page length? And I can’t review some of the books since it’s been so many years and sadly I don’t have a review for a lot of my books on goodreads.