Most Likely by Sarah Watson ARC (Spoilers) Review

Welcome!

With my spring break, I took time to visit my sister and spent time just chilling. Like, actually relaxing. And, man, I am glad I had ‘Most Likely’ in my bag to devour in less than 24 hours! I could not set this book down for so many reasons. Let’s jump into it:


Most Likely by Sarah Watson cover and synopsis

title: Most Likely

author: Sarah Watson

category/genre: YA/NA contemporary

book depository* // barnes and noble // amazon

Add Most Likely to Goodreads!

The book opens right before a future presidential inauguration in which one of the ladies is about to become the President. The only ‘hint’ readers get before jumping into present-times is that the future President is somehow connected to Logan Diffenderfer. I literally spent the entire book trying to figure out the mystery based on this one clue. And let me tell you… Logan Diffenderfer is literally connected to every single character in this group. I nearly threw my book across the room multiple times with frustration from how well done Sarah kept the ending unsolvable.

Which brings me to the plot twists... my mind was literally blown from how well done Sarah Watson delivered the dynamic shifts. The plot twists didn’t so much as change the plot as they changed how I viewed certain characters’ decisions and lives. For me, I loved how Ava went on a journey to find her biological mother. On that trip to Stanford, she broke down any perceived stereotypes about people who choose adoption for their children. When Ava went to a “junky hospital”, she didn’t find a Mexican woman with a drug addiction. Instead her biological mother was the doctor who provided care for her community. I loved how Ava not only discovered her biological mother but also her calling to go to Stanford instead of an art school. Ava’s storyline is probably the most interesting for me personally.

CJ’s storyline made me smile with warmth. Her struggles with coming to terms about the SAT (or any standardized test to be honest) hit me hard. Personally, I never struggled with standardized tests score-wise, but, when people began comparing scores and placing the pressure of a specific score, I crumbled with comparison. Seeing CJ struggle with removing her worth from the score is a struggle students feel when they grew up taking standardized tests every year or two in K-12 education. What really made me smile, though, was how CJ navigated her relationship with Wyatt. I loved seeing how their friendship shifted into a romance and the conversations they had about being a person with disabilities. Also, CJ’s personal essay for Stanford literally made me start crying. I could talk about her storyline forever.

Jordan’s story made me feel like I could take over the world. I will say I was surprised to find out she wasn’t the future President. Sarah Watson set up the book to make Jordan the most probable candidate for becoming President. When she worked the entire book to keep the playground, give hard-hitting interviews, and focus on everything the future had to offer to her. Jordan’s romance always felt a little off to me, but I kind of love how Jordan took back control of how the romance was told. While she did launch her birthday night off with some crying, Ava, CJ, and Martha made sure there were laughs there, too.

Martha developed extremely well over the book’s entirety. I love how complex of issues her character alone tackled: sexuality, financial pressures, etc. You name it, and Martha probably conquered it. I love how seamlessly Sarah Watson drew Martha into a well-rounded character and showed how issues are interwoven. The glimpses into Martha’s parents’ lives and looking at a community’s history with income allowed me to truly see how every decision a community makes impacts lives in different ways. Martha’s perspective brought such a fresh twist to the cast of characters who all came from relatively well-off economic backgrounds. Martha drives past this, though, and goes on to conquer her future.

I categorized this book as young adult/new adult since every young person needs to read this powerful and motivating story of young women. As a twenty-something college student, I found such inspiration in reading about women finding their purposes and discovering themselves. In a digital age, people compare themselves to others and focus on what they don’t have. This book made me look at the women around me and just how much they support me in my journey like the Ava, CJ, Jordan, and Martha did in the book.

As to which character actually became the President of the United States, well, I think it would be more fun to try to connect the dots on your own. 😉

‘Most Likely’ by Sarah Watson is ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ for Gen Z with a cast of diverse characters perfect for leading the United States of America. Go ahead… pick it up now. Or… order it online.

Do you have a favorite cast of characters? Any sisterhood books you recommend? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

xo,

Charley

Ten Fantasy Books for Contemporary Lovers

Welcome!

For anyone that knows me, contemporary is my favorite genre to read. Something about finding the magic within my own world makes me warm inside. Reading to me is all about exploring. When I read outside of my genre, however, stories pleasantly surprise me. My favorite genre to dive into is fantasy! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a genre freebie, so I thought I would share a few of my favorite fantasy books as a contemporary lover!

serpent and dove by shelby mahurin

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin cover

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

this savage song by victoria schwab

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab cover

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

falling kingdoms by morgan rhodes

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes cover

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….

daughter of smoke and bone by laini taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor cover

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

house of salt and sorrows by erin a. craig

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A Craig cover

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

the cruel prince by holly black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black cover

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

four dead queens by astrid scholte

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte cover

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but in fact, she’s one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. Varin runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.

An enthralling fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences, Four Dead Queens heralds the arrival of an exciting new YA talent.

clockwork angel by cassandra clare

clockwork angel by cassandra clare cover

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

enchantee by gita trelease

Enchantee by Gita Trelease cover

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns… 

the hazel wood by melissa albert

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert cover

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away-by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Which genre makes you step outside your comfort zone? Do you have a favorite fantasy book to recommend? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

What’s On My Spring 2020 Reading List

Welcome!

With all the craziness of school getting cancelled and daily work changes due to COVID-19, I didn’t particularly have the energy to write a post. But then, I reminded myself how much of an escape reading and books can be for me when I’m stressing. I know Tuesday is technically already past us, but I wanted to jump aboard Top Ten Tuesday’s topic for this week: Spring 2020 TBR.

throw like a girl by sarah henning

Throw Like a Girl Cover by sarah Henning

Throw Like a Girl was recommended by @booklovinjean as part of my ‘Twelve Book Recs from Twelve Friends’ challenge for this year. Technically, it’s a book for May, but I might just get around to it before then.

the betrothed by kiera cass

The Betrothed Kiera Cass cover

Y’all, I am so excited to get my hands on this book. I pre-ordered through Barnes and Noble, and I can’t wait until May begins to dive into a new royal world from Kiera Cass. This world is sure to be full of glamor and politics and everything I loved from The Selection series… AND MORE.

they went left by monica hesse

They Went Left Monica Hesse cover

They Went Left is the May Barnes and Noble YA Book Club pick, and I cannot wait to dive in to a historical fiction again. I haven’t read anything by Monica Hesse yet. Her book ‘Girl In the Blue Coat’ has been on my list for a while now. I am intrigued to see a WWII era book from after the war ends and the effects the Holocaust had on the Jews.

most likely by sarah watson

Most Likely cover by Sarah Watson

I am such a huge fan of ‘The Bold Type’, so when I heard Sarah Watson wrote a book along the same feminine-power ideas, I knew I had to pick it up. As Barnes and Noble’s April YA book club pick, I am even more excited to talk with other people about what happens in this book!

live by sadie robertson

LIve cover by Sadie Robertson

I grew up watching Sadie Robertson on Duck Dynasty, but I recently rediscovered her with her podcast. I picked up this book to buddy-read with one of my friends, and I can’t wait to read it with her. Sadie’s podcast is always full of so much wisdom and purpose which I’m sure will carry over into this book. I flipped through it quickly before buying it, and I love the mixture of pictures, short chapters, and color!

clean getaway by nic stone

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‘Clean Getaway’ by Nic Stone is another ‘Twelve Book Recs from Twelve Friends’ choice for April which @gryffindorbooksofficial recommended. I read ‘Dear Martin’ by Nic Stone earlier last year for a class, and I enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see how her writing style differs with a middle-grade book compared to a young-adult book.

a thousand perfect notes by c.g. drews

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Technically, ‘A Thousand Perfect Notes’ was recommended by @hanneasinhannah for my January read. The book came super late, though, so I was not able to get my hands on the book until early February. Hopefully, I will find time to read it before the end of the semester for sure.

Which books are you hoping to read this season? Do you have any ways you destress? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

march 2020 thrift shop haul

Welcome!

I love spending free time wandering through local thrift shops and discovering new treasures. For the past month, I have had a few pieces in my head when searching: a new winter jacket and a jean jacket. I finally found them along with a few other pieces.

So here’s a quick look at my recent thrift finds:

jean jacket: $4.49

Goodwill was having a sale on all winter jackets AND the tag color was half off, so I actually got this jacket for 75% off the thrift shop price. I was even more ecstatic when I looked up the brand and found a similar jacket by this brand being sold for over $100!

winter jacket: $7.49

I am quite literally in love with this jacket! My other winter jacket is now over three years old and has tears around the cuffs and bottom hem. I only recently discovered a small tear by the hood which I will fix with fabric glue in this jacket. This jacket was too cute to pass up!

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan: $2.49

I could not believe my eyes when I saw a hardcover of Immortal Beloved in Goodwill! I read this book back in 2012, but I fell in love with this trilogy. I will definitely be needing to reread this book since I have it on my shelves now.

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares: $6.99

I went to a different Goodwill about 30 minutes away from my house, and I found THIS GEM! For anyone who doesn’t know, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series actually has five books. This is the fifth book! I easily find the first four books in just about every thrift shop, but I recently resolved myself to never being able to find the last book. A few squeals may have come out when I snatched this one off the shelf. The stickers were a little tough to get off, but a damp paper towel and a few minutes later… voila! A sticker-free cover!

Rachael Ray cookbook: $2.49

Rachael Ray was the cook of my childhood and my role model. I learned how to cook from my parents with her 30-Minute Meals for Kids cookbook, and I watched all her shows on Food Network. When I find her cookbooks in thrift stores, I almost always buy them. This one just so happened to have a half-off color tag. And yes, it did come with a jacket, but I enjoy seeing cookbooks without them.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare: $4.99

Clockwork Angel hardcover by Cassandra Clare

I already own the entire Infernal Devices trilogy, but I had Clockwork Angel in paperback from when my parents first bought me the book. The rest of my books are hardcovers, so I screamed in excitement to see a hardcover of Clockwork Angel for half off and in great condition! I had to swap out my editions, so now this gorgeous trilogy all matches.

100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs: $2.49

100 Days to Brave devotional by Annie F. Downs

Annie’s podcast is one of my favorites, especially her enneagram books. I always keep my eye open for this book when I go to a thrift store, but I have never seen one before! My plan is to dive into this book after Lent since I’m in a few different plans right now. I can’t wait!

thrifting total: $31.49 price tag

Which section do you always check when going to a thrift store? Any great finds? Let me know in the comments if you would love to see more thrift hauls this year!

xo,

Charley

March 2020 Bullet Journal Flip-Through

Welcome!

I did a quick set-up this month with my bullet journal and really just focused on simplicity. The end of February was hectic for me with college and personal life, so I didn’t have as much time to create spreads.

March calendar and cover page

I wanted to create a calendar spread again since I have been loving the format. In order to have the most space available for my days, I needed to make my calendar horizontal. The next page has a few different aspects for it: important dates, prayer requests, reading list, and goals. I wanted to be able to have some space to grow throughout the month as I add in more goals and books to read.

Life and reading goals spread with prayer requests

I created a version of my “What I Devoured” page from the past two months. With this spread in particular, I knew a scrapbook style would work perfectly to incorporate the background image into my March bujo. My background image came from Connor Franta’s ‘Note to Self’ which I found in a thrift shop. I literally ripped out pictures and cut out phrases from the book because I thrifted it. I added a ton of washi tape from a Park Lane 8 Pack Washi Tape Foliage I recently bought when it was on sale.

ANYWAYS… I added a spread for planning out what to spend my tax returns on in order to be more aware of my spending. I have a mental list for ideas, but I benefit immensely from writing my plans down.

My expense log is virtually the same for March as it has been for January and February. I did end up with more of a border since I found filling the entire page with alternating color lines bugged my eyes out. Since March will be the month I get my tax returns and go out to Minnesota for spring break, I know I will need more pages for the log. I will have to problem-solve once I run out of lines and show you in my April bullet journal flip-through.

I kept my weekly spreads pretty tame compared to February’s spreads. I placed a strip of washi tape on the bottom of each page to give extra decoration. For the days of the weeks, I tried different designs around them. In the first one, I just doodled circles in a darker green and wrote the names on the circles. In the second spread, I doodled leaves in circles around the names.

In the third and fourth spread, I literally just wrote the names with a Crayola supertips marker. I decorated each weekly spread with stickers from various stores and pictures from Connor Franta’s book. Each spread also has a calendar overview for March, a to-do section, and a look ahead space. Having a to-do section for the entire week definitely helps me prioritize my tasks.

I added a few more pages to help me focus through Lent and reflect back on how my social media detox helped my faith and life.

If you want bujo inspiration, you can follow my bullet journal board on Pinterest. Since I am on a social media detox for Lent, I will not be sharing pictures on Instagram of this month. You can definitely follow me, though, to see past and future spreads.

Here’s a quick glance at all the materials I used in these spreads:

What do you have in your bullet journal? Do you enjoy more minimalistic or full spreads? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

Why I’m Doing a Social Media Detox for Lent 2020

Welcome!

what is lent?

Each year for Lent I follow the practice of giving something up for the season of 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. For those of you who may not know, the practice of Lent began in the early Christian Church days to symbolize the 40 days Jesus fasted in the desert before he began his ministry. With the season, however, comes a lot of confusion with the denominations of the Church that split from the Roman Catholic Church. I have not always fasted during the Lenten season since I grew up in a Protestant church. As I’ve gotten older, I have realized the importance of this season beyond simply giving something up. I think the following video really breaks down the purpose of Lent into something easier to understand:

how does this connect to social media?

In the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on what distracts me from spending intentional time with God. Each morning I find myself picking up my phone and scrolling through my various social media feeds: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook (and repeat). I discussed this problem with my friends, and I realized social media is what I needed to give up for Lent.

When I look back at my social media life, I see eight years of my life on Facebook, six years of my life on Instagram and Twitter. As a twenty-one-year-old, my time spent on social media has been a third of my life. I have childhood memories of spending hours outside without interruption or reading a book in a day or even a life with less comparison of stats. In a few years, that fraction is going to grow. When I’m older, I will have spent more time being on social media than begin off it.

My brain has become hard-wired to constantly check social media in any downtime or even when I’m in class. I want to release my life from this hold. For Lent this year, I want to redirect my morning or night time to not be spent mindlessly watching Facebook videos or liking random Instagram pictures. Instead, I want to spend that open time in my routines to focus on God. I want to actually complete Bible devotional plans, read the Bible with intention, and enjoy life again.

what does this mean for the blog?

I will still be updating the blog regularly. I hope to knock down my postings to once a week during the semester. With the lack of social media, though, I won’t be promoting my posts beyond the initial (and automatic) shares since I have my Twitter and Facebook pages connected to the blog. If you found this from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram, you can keep getting notified of my new posts by following through WordPress or email. (Just look to the right side of the screen to find that box!)

a final note:

My biggest hope and goal to come from this Lent season is to reset my relationship with social media and God, but what comes next is the most important part. I want to do social media detoxes at least once a month, if not more. I want days to disconnect from being online in order to continue to have a healthier relationship with being online and to continue my intentionality exploration.

I hope you can take a moment to reflect on what is taking your time away from being intentional and focusing on God in your life. If you aren’t a believer, thank you for reading this post. I hope you can still take away being able to detox from social media in order to focus on an area in your life where you need to be productive.

Let me know in the comments if you have ever done a social media detox and/or what you’re giving up for Lent!

xo,

Charley

Ten Must-Read YA Retelling Books

Welcome!

I wanted to take a moment to focus on my favorite sub-genre in fiction: retold fairytales. I am always a fan of a fresh take on a classic fairytale. If you check out my Goodreads, you can check out my ‘Retellings’ shelf for a variety of stories being retold.

With the release of one of my most anticipated 2020 books being published this week, I wanted to showcase some of my favorite YA retellings. And in case you were wondering which retelling was released this week, check out this first one:

of curses and kisses by sandhya menon

beauty and the beast

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From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

princess at the midnight ball by jessica day george

twelve dancing princesses

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A tale of twelve princesses doomed to dance until dawn…

Galen is a young soldier returning from war; Rose is one of twelve princesses condemned to dance each night for the King Under Stone. Together Galen and Rose will search for a way to break the curse that forces the princesses to dance at the midnight balls. All they need is one invisibility cloak, a black wool chain knit with enchanted silver needles, and that most critical ingredient of all—true love—to conquer their foes in the dark halls below. But malevolent forces are working against them above ground as well, and as cruel as the King Under Stone has seemed, his wrath is mere irritation compared to the evil that awaits Galen and Rose in the brighter world above.

Captivating from start to finish, Jessica Day George’s take on the Grimms’ tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses demonstrates yet again her mastery at spinning something entirely fresh out of a story you thought you knew.

house of salt and sorrows by erin a craig

twelve dancing princesses

house of salt and sorrows by erin a craig book cover

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

tiger lily by jodi lynn anderson

peter pan

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Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair…

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn’t grow up.

the goddess test series by aimee carter

persephone and hades

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Every girl who had taken the test has died.

Now it’s Kate’s turn.

It’s always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won’t live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he’s crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride and a goddess.

nevermore by kelly creagh

edgar allan poe

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Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.

Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.

As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.

His life depends on it.

a study in charlotte by brittany cavallaro

sherlock holmes

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The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

cruel beauty by rosamund hodge

beauty and the beast

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Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

hunted by meagan spooner

beauty and the beast

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Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

a curse so dark and lonely by brigid kemmerer

beauty and the beast

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Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Guest Post: 5 Ways to Celebrate Singles’ Awareness Day!

Welcome!

Today is a very special day because my best friend Hannah Marie is visiting the blog today! She is here to share some secrets about the best way to celebrate being single on Singles’ Awareness Day, aka February 15. And guess what: it doesn’t have to be SAD! Enjoy.

xo,

Charley


Hey, everyone! So it seems that Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and now we are left with the next best thing: Singles Awareness Day (aka discounted chocolate day)!

Many people look at being single as a bad thing—like some kind of terrible disease that no one wants to catch—but some of us savvy, single people know better. Singlehood is something that you can thoroughly enjoy, and today, I’m going to let you in on my top-secret singles-only blueprint to having an amazing Valentine’s Weekend, or any other weekend (even without a significant other).

So without further ado, here are 5 super fun activities you can enjoy 100% on your own!!

1) Cook Yummy Treats

There are so many cute treats on Pinterest, it would be a mistake to not try to make them! Or, if you’re not much of a sweets person, you could even pick out a nice, yummy dinner recipe to spoil yourself a bit.

So many people don’t think about this, but cooking at home can be an awesome way to practice self-care. We put a lot of emphasis on food being a communal thing, but good food is something that can be enjoyed alone too! Talking the time and effort required to cook a delicious meal is one of the best ways to show yourself some love. True, it might be easier to grab fast-food, but at the end of the day, eating is an experience, and cooking the food you eat can be a very special part of taking care of yourself.

2) Have a Spa-Night

Sometimes you just need a spa-night to make your day better! Go to the store (or online) and pick out some new face masks, bath bombs, nail polish, etc… Or you can even search Pinterest for some easy, homemade spa-treatments. Whatever you do though, go crazy with it! The goal is to make yourself feel completely pampered.

  • Do your usual skincare regime
  • Use pore strips
  • Put on a face mask
  • Run a bubble-bath & toss in a bath-bomb (extra points if there’s glitter!)
  • After you wash your hair, do a hair mask or a deep conditioning treatment
  • Turn on a soft, relaxing playlist while you soak in the tub
  • OR you can rewatch your favorite episode of your favorite sitcom
  • Exfoliate and shave
  • Dry off and moisturize
  • Paint your nails your favorite shade
  • Wrap yourself in your favorite pajamas OR a silky/fuzzy robe
  • Extra points again if you have fuzzy slippers or socks!

Spa days are great because it is a way for you to show your body some love. Especially after a busy week. Remember to take care of yourself every day, not just on “special” days.

3) Watch a Rom-Com

There’s nothing like curling up on the couch and binge-watching your favorite romantic comedies. And with streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, you have hundreds to choose from! Or, if you don’t have these services, you can always find good, half-priced movies at Half-Price books.

(… but if you have Netflix, I highly recommend To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before + the brand new sequel, P.S. I Still Love You)

Watching movies like this can be really good because it lets you be able to simply enjoy something without thinking too hard about it. It gives your brain a bit of a break and (hopefully) makes you smile!

4) Explore Your Nearest City

If you need to get out of the house, I’ve got an activity for that too! When I need a day out, I’ve found that I enjoy exploring my nearest city. I pick out an outfit that is comfortable but also makes me feel super cute and confident, and then I just start walking/driving.

You’d be surprised how many little places you will discover if take the time to slow down and find them. By driving through towns without stopping, you often miss all the little antique shops, coffee shops, and local businesses that your city has to offer. So take a moment to slow down and truly explore. Who knows? You may even discover your new favorite hangout place!

5) Try Something Completely New

This one might feel a little intimidating at first, but I can almost guarantee that you will be glad you did it. Many times we are unwilling to put ourselves out there and try something new (for instance, a dance class!) because we feel like we have to have a partner or someone there with us.

But let me tell you, trying new things, making memories, and collecting new experiences should not be hindered because you don’t have your best friend with you or because you’re a “Single Pringle.” Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is a sure way to grow and become a stronger, more well-rounded person. So instead of waiting on a partner, get out there and try that thing you’ve always been wanting to try!

I use Facebook to find local events to attend and have found some real gems because I was willing to try.

  • Join a dance class
  • Take a crafting class (sewing, knitting, baking, etc…)
  • Go to a local open-mic night
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Join a book club (local libraries often have these)
  • Attend a trivia night
  • Go to a concert

There are so many more amazing things you can do as a single person that can be just as fun and fulfilling as they would be with a significant other, but you have to have the right mindset for it. Allowing yourself to be open to being your own friend takes time and can be difficult. However, once you start the journey, you will learn so many things about yourself and learn to enjoy your own company. Being single doesn’t have to be sad and miserable. It can actually be one of the most special times of your life.
Just start small… and push yourself a little more each day.

Hannah Marie is a 20-something college lifestyle blogger who has an affinity for hot tea, gentle music, and blush pink. She can often be found hiding behind the enormous stack of books she needs to read for school, where she is most likely scribbling poetry or editing her novel. You can follow her on her Blog, Twitter, Instagram, and Wattpad (and most other social media platforms).

17 Songs on My February 2020 Playlist

Welcome!

In January, I shared 20 songs that I put on my 2020 playlist for the year. I loved how many of you discovered new artists, so I thought I would share songs from my playlist more often! This month I tried to find some new songs after I found myself circling through the same playlist as January for weeks. My tip is to find your favorite Spotify playlist of your own and click “Go to Playlist Radio” to find songs with similar vibes.

blinding lights- the weeknd

I am always a fan of The Weeknd, so I added this song to my playlist pretty quickly after my last post. I absolutely love his voice and the vibes of his music. I could listen (and have) to him all day.

what a man gotta do- jonas brothers

I am all aboard the JoBro’s wives train. I legitimately squealed with joy when I saw that all the wives came back for this video. Nothing makes me happier than seeing them happy.

alive- daughtry

Daughtry is always low-key one of my favorite storytelling artists. His voice is so powerful when all you want to do is have a jam session in the car. Daughtry is an artist I grew up listening to and will listen to for the rest of my life.

teenage dirtbag- ross lynch, jaz sinclair, lachlan watson

Not going to lie: I have a major crush on Ross Lynch. I watched Austin and Ally, and my love for Ross has only grown as I’ve gotten older. When I watched the latest season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I was ecstatic that Ross Lynch was singing. And that’s the only reason this and the next song are on my playlist.

my sharona- ross lynch, jaz sinclair

the one i’m running to- 7eventh time down

This is an older song that I’ve listened to a thousand times before. When I listened to it this month, though, something just hit differently. I like having this song in my playlist to help me refocus on the good things in life during the stress of my semester.

everything i wanted- billie eilish

Billie Eilish’s songs are always hit or miss for me, but I love the meaning behind this song. Just the thought of gaining everything in life and still not being satisfied or loved by those around you are some of the greatest fears I have in life. It reminds me to be intentional with those around me.

only the young- taylor swift

If you can watch Miss Americana on Netflix and not cry, please let me know how. I bawled the entire time (like ugly crying, bawled) because of the pain and how honest Taylor was in this documentary. Having this song during the election year is a fantastic reminder that the young are the ones who can change the world right now.

me & ur ghost- blackbear

I find blackbear’s voice mesmerizing with this song. The lyrics also ring so true for anyone going through a relationship break-up. I, most definitely, am not going through a break-up (#singleforever), but I love how he tells a story through these honest lyrics.

no shame- 5 seconds of summer

Much like any Ross Lynch song, 5 Seconds of Summer will forever be on my playlist. Their sound has changed drastically since they started, but I love it. I can see myself blaring this song during the summer with my windows rolled down.

know your worth- khalid, disclosure

First, the title of this song is amazing. Second, Khalid is a dream! I mainly added it because Khalid’s voice makes my heart full. And I love that this song is all about reminding people to look for someone who actually knows what you’re worth because it’s more than nothing.

never seen the rain- tones and i

If you’re like me, then you probably started listening to Tones and I thanks to TikTok’s obsession with “Dance Monkey”. But they have such great songs! I definitely recommend checking out more of their songs, and I can’t wait to see this song blow up.

anyone- demi lovato

Demi has been one of my favorites since childhood, but seeing her go through her battles has been hard. When I watched her sing this song at an awards show, I started crying right along with the rest of the audience and Internet.

if the world was ending- jp saxe, julia michaels

The story being told in this song makes my writer’s heart feel like writing an entire contemporary series based on it. I love the thought of putting aside your problems just to simply love the one you’re meant to be with at the end of the world. Also, I heard rumors that they started dating after collaborating on this song. Isn’t that the cutest?

boys like you- anna clendening

This song came from my playlist radio on Spotify, and I will need to dive more into Anna Clendening’s songs. Her voice has such power behind it. I love how this song is a bop but still kind of sad.

you should be sad- halsey

Halsey is always hit or miss again, but the music reminds me slightly of country music with the opening notes which I love. Also, the lyrics make me sad which goes along with the title. But does anyone know the meaning behind them?

older- sasha sloan

This music video is so adorable! I love how well this song captures all the feelings I have felt since growing older and see my parents in a different light. I think the hardest part of growing up is changing how people see you, but also changing how you see the people in your life.

What’s the song you’ve been playing on repeat in February? Any future albums you’re looking forward to releasing this year? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

Swoonworthy OTPs: Valentine’s Week 2020 Edition

Welcome!

For this week’s ‘Top Ten Tuesday‘ hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, I decided to do a list of books with my favorite couples to celebrate the love theme. I have fallen in love with so many romances lately in books, and I can barely contain my excitement for any of them! Let’s jump right in to the love.

Lou and Reid (Serpent & Dove)

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin flatlay with pumpkin candle

I have definitely raved about Lou and Reid for months now, but the recent cover release for Blood & Honey amped my love for them back up! Lou and Reid complement each other so well with their banter and how they allow the other person to open up different ways. I absolutely adore their chemistry developing into a love throughout Serpent & Dove, and I can’t wait to see them grow stronger together in Blood & Honey.

Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky (To All the Boys)

Alright, I know Lara Jean and Peter have been everyone’s OTPs for a while now, but with all the hype for the P.S. I Still Love You movie, I have found myself defending this OTP against all the movie fans who love John Ambrose. If nothing else can convince you, just think of all the little things Peter does for Lara Jean without a second question.

Penny and Sam (Emergency Contact)

Emergency Contact flatlay with latte in a mug

Full honesty moment: I didn’t love Penny and Sam together until the end of Emergency Contact. This book fully develops Penny and Sam as friends first before delving into a romance with them, which I love to a point. I didn’t realize how invested I was with this OTP until the last 50 pages of the book when Penny and Sam acted on their feelings. A squeal may have escaped me in the final chapter.

Ana and Daniel (Fountains of Silence)

Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys Instagram post

I love this OTP, I do. Ana and Daniel have such a tense romantic energy through the entire book until the time jump where they’re in their thirties when they finally get together. Reading about these powerful characters growing together in such a dark and curious era brought me got me invested in their stories separately as well as together. The dual POVs helped me see how the couple thought and cared for each other. 10/10 recommend!

Camille and Lazare (Enchantée)

Enchantee by Gita Trelease Instagram post

You may be a bit surprised by this OTP since I haven’t raved about this book in quite some time. I fell in love with Enchantée after reading it in one sitting during a sick day. I literally could not set it down. And then Gita Trelease plops in this amazing romance between a scientist-royal-man and enchantress-esque woman which sealed the deal for me. I couldn’t resist Lazare as a balloonist, but put him in as a royal… boy, oh, boy.

Puck and Sean (Scorpio Races)

Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Instagram post

This past November, I listened to the Scorpio Races for the first time (I read it physically before.) and fell in love with Puck and Sean all over again. I literally would sit in my car on campus just to listen to this beautiful work. And just hearing about how Sean and Puck fall in love with each other in such a high-stakes environment hits me deep in my heart.

Deja and Josiah (Pumpkinheads)

Pumpkinheads graphic novel by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

From the moment I started this story, I shouted from the rooftops about how badly I wanted Deja and Josiah to be together. While Josiah may have ran around the pumpkin patch searching for a different girl, I could not be happier about the entire journey. I love how supportive they are for each other in their own adventures for love and food. Also, if anyone knows of a pumpkin patch that’s like this one, please send me the address ASAP.

Annaleigh and Cassius (House of Salt and Sorrows)

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

This book definitely messed with my mind. The atmosphere and plot twists played with whether or not I actually liked Cassius, but I couldn’t let him go. Cassius and Annaleigh, together, were my favorite couple. I couldn’t get behind any other potential romance with Annaleigh.

Tessa and Weston (100 Days of Sunlight)

Abbie Emmons' Instagram post for 100 Days of Sunlight
Instagram: @makeyourstorymatter

If you haven’t read Abbie’s book yet, what are you waiting for? I was lucky enough to write for her blog tour, but I don’t think I properly raved about Tessa and Weston. First of all, Weston is literally a dream. He pushes a stubborn Tessa to look (pun not intended) at the world in a new light. I fell in love with Weston and Tessa’s adventures and them together. I don’t think I could find a more wholesome OTP on this list.

Sweetie and Ashish (There’s Something About Sweetie)

Okay, I was definitely pushing for Sweetie and Ashish this entire time. Ashish loves on Sweetie so much and literally thrives at being able to show the rest of the world how amazing she is. Sweetie works through so much in this book and overcomes her insecurities with Ashish by her side. I loved being able to see a different side of Ashish than we see in When Dimple Met Rishi.

Who is your favorite OTP on this list? Do you have any OTPs that didn’t happen? Let me know in the comments!

xo,

Charley

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