Updated: Apr 12, 2021

Title: The Bone Season

Author: Samantha Shannon

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Synopsis: In 2059, Scion has taken over most of the world's cities, promising safety for all the citizens it deems worthy and wiping out clairvoyants wherever it can find them. Paige Mahoney, though, is a clairvoyant--and a criminal just for existing. Paige is determined to fight Scion's power, and as part of the Seven Seals, Paige has found a use for her powers: she scouts for information by breaking into others' minds as they dream. But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly-as soldiers in their army. Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives. The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine-a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

Review: What a wild ride! I didn’t read the synopsis before diving into this book, so I did not know what to expect. At first, I struggled with the complexity of world building. Trying to keep up with the different voyants left my eyes glazed over with confusion, but after a few chapters, things fell into place.

Connecting with Paige Mahoney was a simple task. Her vulnerability and internal flaws made her a relatable character. She’s no Mary Sue. Paige is a girl who doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty to defend those she loves.

The slower pacing sped up once Paige arrived at the prison. The vibe of said prison gave me the creeps, in a good way. I love when an author transports you to another world. The mysterious Rephaim made me quite uncomfortable. Where do they come from? Why do they feed on voyants? As soon as Warden walked onto the page, I knew we had an ‘enemies to lovers’ troupe. The unveiling of his double life was the best part of the book.

The Bone Season is a wonderful debut and a solid start to a series I plan on continuing.

Triggers/Warnings: some adult language, scary imagery

Plot: 4/5

Pacing: 4/5

Escapism Factor: 4/5

Emotional Connection: 5/5

Character Development: 4/5

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Completed Read: February 2021

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How to Make Love Like a Porn Star

Authors: Jenna Jameson with Neil Strauss

Publisher: Harper Collins

Synopsis: How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, the mega-bestselling memoir, triumphant survival story, and cautionary tale that spent over six weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and rocketed adult film icon Jenna Jameson into the mainstream spotlight, is now in paperback and ebook for the very first time. Her unforgettable memoir, written with master storyteller Neil Strauss, is many things at once: a shocking sexual history; an insider's guide to the secret workings of the billion-dollar adult-film industry; and a gripping thriller that probes deep into Jameson's dark past. With never-before-seen photographs from Jenna's private collection, exclusive photos taken for this book, and original cartoon strips, this memoir is an unparalleled exploration of sexual freedom.

In the underbelly of Las Vegas, a cesspool of warring biker gangs and seedy strip clubs, gawky, brace-faced Jenna Massoli was transformed into the bombshell Jenna Jameson. Today, Jenna is the biggest star in the history of adult movies, consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful women alive. But behind the glamour and the meteoric rise to fame was a path paved with tragedy and heartbreak. As a teenager—drawn into a dark and chaotic world where rape, abuse, and murder were commonplace—Jenna began her rapid downward spiral of addiction and degradation . . . while at the same time becoming the porn world's biggest crossover success story.

Review: Uh. I don’t even know where to begin. This memoir was unlike anything I’ve ever read. The story of Jenna Jameson’s childhood shook me, her teenage years left my mouth hanging open, and her early adult years had me gasping every other page. This woman…this beautiful soul experienced so much trauma, more than one could imagine, and came out on the other side as a strong, independent, kick ass boss girl.

I’m not a huge fan of memoirs because honestly, I find them boring, but not this one. The story is woven together by a colorful tapestry of raw emotions and brutal honesty. What a refreshing read.

Jenna Jameson gives reader more than a glimpse into her personal life. She holds nothing back. Listening to her spill the celebrity tea was a bonus.

At times, I had to put the book down to process the vivid descriptions and heartbreaking emotions.

Don’t be fooled by the title or the cover. Yes, you might learn some bedroom tips and tricks, but this memoir is much more than pillow talk. It’s an unveiling; a discovery; a behind-the-scenes tour of the porn industry with Jenna as your guide. Hold on to your hats! This one will change your entire perspective on the adult entertainment industry.

Triggers/Warnings: sexually explicit content, drug abuse, explicit language, sexual violence

Star Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Completed Read: February 2021

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Author: Mark Sullivan

Publisher: Lake Union

Synopsis: Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.

Fans of All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love.

Review: This book blew me away. I laughed, I swooned, I cried…a lot. Pino Lella’s story needs to be shared with the world, and author Sullivan told it beautifully. I couldn’t put the book down. I was there with Pino as he experienced the darkest hours of WW2. My heart raced as he trekked through snowstorms to help the Jews find sanctuary, it soared when he embraced the love of his life, it nearly beat out of my chest every time he drove General Leyers through Nazi checkpoints, and it broke as he witnessed the devastation of war.

This book is NOT for the faint of heart. The author captures the grey areas of war. It was a phenomenal read the twist at the end left me breathless.

Plot: 5/5

Pacing: 4/5

Escapism Factor: 5/5

Emotional Connection: 5/5

Character Development: 5/5

Warnings/Triggers: violence, language, genocide, and graphic scenes involving shootings, hangings, explosions, and sadistic acts. Veterans suffering from PTSD may find this book triggering.

Star Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Completed Read: 1/31/2021

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