DNF Review: Sanctuary

I received an ARC of Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher from Penguin Teen through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t think I’ve ever written a DNF (did not finish) review before, so this is a first. Usually when I DNF a book, it’s not an ARC I’ve been given by the publisher for review, it’s one that I decided to read on my own. After the whole debacle on Sunday regarding an author calling out a reviewer for DNF-ing and posting a “bad” review on Goodreads, I am a little nervous to post my thoughts.

But, the whole point of reviewing books are to review them, good or bad. So I’m gonna talk about why I DNFed this book and what my thoughts are. Surprisingly, they’re not bad at all!

Continue reading

Bookish This or That – Guest Post Edition

So we’re doing something a little different today. Today, I am doing a Bookish This or That but with a twist! I teamed up with Alexa @ Writing the Universe to guess what I think her answers to these questions would be. Alexa and I have been friends for a year and a half now and I think I know her reading preferences enough to at least guess.

I am going to post my guesses for Alexa first and then below I will be posting my own responses! If you want to see Alexa’s guesses about me and her responses, make sure to check out her post!

We got this post off of Kim @ KimberlyFayeReads so be sure to give her some love!

Continue reading

August 2020 Mid-Month Update

I love doing mid-month updates because it allows me to not only see my progress, but think back on the books I read that month. I still can’t believe I’ve read as much as I have and I think I might actually finish my TBR this month! I keep surprising myself every time I set a high TBR, thinking I couldn’t possibly finish all those books.

August and September are my crazy months due to all of the ARCs I received from publishers, giveaways, and what I just currently had. I’m hoping things calm down quickly so I can read books that I have been dying to read (like Kingdom of Copper!) but just don’t have the time right now. Anyways, here’s what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, and what I plan to read next!

Continue reading

Judging a Book by its Cover

I did this a few months ago under a different name (Making Assumptions About Books I’ve Never Read) but I thought, hey! New books, new covers, more things I haven’t had a chance to read yet – why not!?

I’m always catching myself making assumptions about books and what they’ll be about based on the cover. Usually I go for aesthetically pretty covers because I think they’re pretty (duh), which means that sometimes I buy a book without even knowing what it’s about. It’s pretty ridiculous and I really have to stop myself form doing it! Today, I am going to be making assumptions about what these books are about based on their cover and title alone. I will post the actual synopsis under my assumption so you can laugh at me at how badly I guess these books!

All of these assumptions are written BEFORE I read the synopsis and paste it below. Let me know how well you think I did on guessing these!

Continue reading

ARC Review: The Companion

I received an electronic galley of The Companion by Katie Alender from Penguin Teen in exchange for an honest review. This review will be spoiler free.


28117989. sy475

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The other orphans say Margot is lucky.

Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family.

Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night.

And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate.

But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha–and getting to know her handsome older brother–seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself.

Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun. 


I’ve been on a thriller/horror kick recently, so when I received this book from Penguin Teen, I was jumping for joy! I really enjoyed this story and how it builds up on itself. We go from a somewhat calm beginning to terror filled mayhem and it was pretty epic!

For starters, poor Margot is suffering from nightmares after she is the sole survivor in a car crash that killed her entire family. After losing all her friends and no family to take her in, Margot ends up at a group home. Luckily, her father saved the life of Mr. Sutton, who wants to repay his debt by taking Margot in.

But Margot is not brought in selflessly – they want her to be a companion for Agatha, who has come down with a mysterious illness. Unable to talk, barely take care of herself, and generally absent from reality, Agatha isn’t much of a bother. Weird things start happening in the house and Margot realizes that things aren’t what they seem.

There were some moments in this book where I thought this was going to be a ghost story. If you’re not into that, don’t worry, it’s not! But from the creepiness level of this book it was a strong possibility. Margot experiences some scary and weird things in the house and those experiences alone would have made me run screaming for the hills. I don’t know why she didn’t run on the first day!

This book was not only very well written, but the story, the cast of characters, and Margot’s experiences made this book one of my favorite thrillers. I had suspicions on what exactly was happening, but the ending still blew my mind! I really liked the set up of Agatha and Margot’s friendship. Even though Agatha is not coherent, they still manage to communicate and cultivate a trusting friendship. It was really cool to watch this progression, especially later on in the book as Margot starts to figure out that something isn’t quite right.

One thing I didn’t like about the story though was the ending. Specifically, the fact that it ends so shortly. We get some kind of resolution, but not enough details that I felt satisfied. The book leads up to the climatic moment and the resolution afterwards fell flat for me. I either wanted a better recap of what happened or another scene before the end that explains what is going on. The ending is just too short and quick in my opinion. It’s why I can’t give this book 5 stars.

While the ending may have not been to my liking, the rest of the book is so well thought out and planned, I’m still reeling over what happened. The last 25% of the book was so fast paced and intense I didn’t want to look away to take a sip of water. With a different ending, this book probably be a 5 stars for me, but with what we have, this is a starstarstarstar.5 // 5 stars. The Companion releases on August 25th, 2020, so be sure to preorder your copy today!

Thank you again to Penguin Teen for sending me a copy for review!

.

.

.

If this sounds interesting, check out They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

.

.

.

.

.

If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Unpopular Book Opinions

I really couldn’t figure out what to post for today, so I’m just going to do some ranting and give my unpopular book opinions! These opinions are solely my own and are not meant to hurt, insult, or offend anyone.

Okay – let’s go!


I’m gonna start off with something easy . . .

I hate the Hunger Games

I have probably said this, like, a thousand times, but I really don’t like The Hunger Games. I tried to read it when I was younger and was absolutely bored to tears after almost 100 pages. Then I tried AGAIN a few years later at the request of one of my friends, and still couldn’t get past 100 pages. It was just boring and I didn’t like it. I know this is a huge favorite in YA, but I actually hate it. And no, I’ve never watched the movies either.

ARCs are over-valued

I am pretty active in the book community which means I do a lot of buying, selling, and trading and let me tell you, some people really over-value their ARCs. If you don’t know what an ARC is it stands for Advance Readers Copy, which is basically a bound manuscript sent to reviewers, book sellers, and librarians for early review. This helps boost sales before and after the book is published and generally helps the publisher.

But there is a whole thing, especially in YA and adult Fantasy/Science Fiction, where certain popular authors or certain books will be WAY over valued. People will only trade these books for other “unicorns”/rare books or really expensive items. Technically, trading is supposed to be a way for people to get receive ARCs for review from other people, but people turn it into a collecting nightmare.

Trading ARCs for finished copies/other purchased items is the same as selling them

On the topic of ARCs, here’s another opinion! ARCs are free books given for review and they are not meant to be sold. This brings into the ethical question of – if it can’t be sold, does trading it for an item that was purchased count as “buying” the ARC. AKA, if someone buys a book I want in exchange for me sending the ARC, does that mean they bought the ARC? In my opinion, yes.

Some people will ask for REALLY EXPENSIVE stuff for an ARC. I saw someone trading an ACOTAR by Sarah J Maas ARC asking for a copy of a book valued over $250. How is this any different from just selling it?

It’s not.

You can hate/disapprove of an author and still enjoy their work

Before anyone comes for me, hear me out.

In the example of J.K. Rowling, some people may not have realized before how awful she is as a person. Once they found out, they feel pressured to denounce her and her work entirely which puts people in a dilemma. Do they continue to enjoy something that they have for years and risk being cancelled or shunned or do they denounce the work they have found a connection with and love, ultimately giving up a part of themselves?

I hate the idea that some people have to feel like they can’t love things because the author is awful. I agree that once it is known they’re awful, we shouldn’t continue to support them (ie. purchasing items, buying their books, movies, etc) but we can continue to enjoy the things we did before. If you love Harry Potter and reread the books or rewatch the movies you own every year, feel free to continue to do so. But don’t think I condone a continued support. Nor do I believe in overlooking a problematic author simply to enjoy their work. I.E. – If you are looking for a new book and found one you’re interested in, but the author is a known racist, don’t buy their book!

E-Readers and Audiobooks are BOOKS. 

Why is this one even a debate? Books are books are books. If you listen to a book, you’re reading. If you’re using an e-reader, you’re reading. If you listen and read the book at the same time, you’re READING.

It’s so silly how people get pressed over HOW people are reading. I have friends who are blind or have very bad vision that require e-readers to enlarge texts because large print books are expensive. Or they listen to audiobooks. I also have friends who just simply enjoy listening to audiobooks or prefer e-readers over physical books. That doesn’t make them any less of a reader. And it doesn’t make people a “better” reader simply because they only read hardcover books!


I may have to make a part two to this post another time, because I don’t want to rant forever. But you get the point!

What are some of your unpopular opinions? Do you agree or disagree with anything I said?

July 2020 Wrap Up

Every time I do these wrap up posts, I feel like I barely read anything, but then I compile it together and I shock myself. This month I read 11 books, which is about the same as last month, although two of them were graphic novels so they weren’t as time consuming as the other longer or more wordy novels. I have linked all reviews for these books in the title, so if you’d like to see my thoughts, feel free to click the link and check them out!

Book I Read:

45892228

 

Crave by Tracy Wolff

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Genre: YA Fantasy

Goodreads

 

40211753. sy475

 

Warmaidens by Kelly Coon

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 3.5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

45184250

 

Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

34413312

 

North and South by Gene Luen Yang, etc

Genre: YA Fantasy (Graphic Novels)

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

52893819. sx318 sy475

 

Imbalance by Faith Erin Hicks, etc

Genre: YA Fantasy (Graphic Novels)

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

48675479

 

A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

42835679. sy475

 

Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

32718027

 

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

35702241

 

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

ignite

 

Ignite the Sun by Hanna Howard

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 3.5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

steel

 

Steel Tide by Natalie C. Parker

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

I’m hoping to have a good reading month for August, especially since I have to focus on a lot of ARCs I received through NetGalley. While I wasn’t intentionally trying to do the ARC August Readathon (hosted by Octavia and Shelly @ Read. Sleep. Repeat.) I basically have only ARCs on my TBR that I need to read and review, so I guess I’m participating!

If you want to see what my August TBR is, check out my TBR post here.

.

.

.

.

.

If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review: Steel Tide

Today I am going to be reviewing Steel Tide by Natalie C. Parker, the second book in the Seafire trilogy. I received an ARC of this book back in June 2019 from the ALA (American Library Association) Convention and just never got around to reading it. Finally, after getting an eARC of Stormbreak, I knew I had to make time to read this book immediately!


38892853. sy475

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The second book in a heart-stopping trilogy that follows the captain of an all-female ship intent on taking down a vicious warlord’s powerful fleet.

Caledonia may have lost her crew, but she’s not done fighting yet. After nearly dying at the hand of a powerful foe, Caledonia is pulled from the sea and nursed back to health by a crew of former Bullets that call themselves Blades. The Blades escaped Aric Athair’s clutches and now live a nomadic existence, ready to disappear at a moment’s notice should trouble come their way.

But Caledonia wants to do more than just hide. She wants to find the Mors Navis and her beloved sisters. She wants to continue fighting Aric’s fleet and to take back the Bullet seas. She’ll need to do everything in her power to convince the Blades that fighting is their only option, that there has to be a life better than the one under Aric Athair’s reign, and that finding the women of the Mors Navis is the first step to revolution.


It’s been awhile since I last read Seafire, probably two or so years now, so jumping into this book took me a minute to get reacquainted. But once I got myself situated and familiar with what happened, it was like I never left! This book picks up where Seafire left off as Caledonia is resting and recovering from her near deadly fight with Lir. She is nursed back to health by a group of Blades, ex-Bullets who have escaped Aric’s clutches.

Maybe this was just because I had to figure out what the heck was going on, but the beginning felt a bit slow to me. After Caledonia starts to recover, she’s living life with the Blades and I was just waiting for something to happen. I remembered the first book being filled with action and adventure and I was patiently waiting for it to start back up again.

It did.

Okay, so once the action started it was actually nuts! There was so much fighting, sneaking, danger, and sailing my brain didn’t know what to do. And as we make our way to the end of the book – dread filled me. I knew what was coming.

But I guess I didn’t, cause I was totally wrong and the ending was way better than I could have guessed! I would crack open Stormbreak right now if I didn’t have other books to read right now.

Crying GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I really enjoyed the storyline and the challenges that Caledonia has to face. While revenge is always on her mind, she shifts her focus to helping the people around her too. I also appreciate the new cast of characters we get acquainted with – Pine being my favorite.

There was a certain thing that I wasn’t a fan of, but it was kind of minor in the scope of things. Overall, I really like this book, and the series in general, and can’t wait to read the final book in the series! This is a starstarstarstar // 5 stars for me.

.

.

.

If this book sounds interesting, check out A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow!

.

.

.

.

.

If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

August 2020 TBR

I have a very optimistic TBR for August. Three of these books I need to read in order to read the sequels, which either come out in September. The other eight books are books that come out in August/September that I need to read. And these aren’t even all of the September releases. I left three end of September releases for later and I’ll just have to read and get through at the beginning of next month.

42133479. sx318     48929807    28117989. sy475

32492115. sy475     52751442    44012880

49032427    30174523. sy475     36575823

39863498    50892338

I don’t know if I’ve had a TBR of more than nine books before, so this should be interesting. The last three can always be read beginning of September if it comes down to that, but I want to try and get these read as soon as possible.

I ended up with a longer TBR for August due to one thing – the Penguin Teen Influencer program. I signed up and got in (yay!) but when I requested the books I wanted, I didn’t think I would get ALL of them. I requested three books for each month, August, September, and October. And in one afternoon received six of those nine books in my inbox. It was awesome yet terrifying.

See, I’m used to requesting more than normal because I’m usually declined for like 80-90% of them, so I didn’t expect to have six additional books fall into my lap. Plus I received Legendborn from the publisher and won Traitor in a giveaway. Ha ha, I’m freaking out.

What’s your August TBR looking like?

.

.

.

.

.

If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Splinters of Scarlet

This was another book that I was supposed to review for Fantastic Flying Book Club as a part of their blog tour before I ended contact with them. Obviously, I’m going to post my review of this book, just not in relation to FFBC.

Today I will be reviewing Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy. I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by HMH.

42835679. sy475

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

A YA historical fantasy set in nineteenth-century Denmark, where secrets can kill and magic is a deadly gift.

For Marit Olsen, magic is all about strategy: it flows freely through her blood, but every use leaves behind a deadly, ice-like build-up within her veins called the Firn. Marit knows how dangerous it is to let too much Firn build up—after all, it killed her sister—and she has vowed never to use her thread magic. But when Eve, a fellow orphan whom Marit views like a little sister, is adopted by the wealthy Helene Vestergaard, Marit will do anything to stay by Eve’s side. She decides to risk the Firn and uses magic to secure a job as a seamstress in the Vestergaard household.

But Marit has a second, hidden agenda: her father died while working in the Vestergaards’ jewel mines—and it might not have been an accident. The closer Marit gets to the truth about the Vestergaard family, the more she realizes she and everyone she’s come to love are in danger. When she finds herself in the middle of a treacherous deception that goes all the way up to the king of Denmark, magic may be the only thing that can save her—if it doesn’t kill her first.

From the start, this book had my full attention. There wasn’t a moment where I wasn’t enthralled with what was going on. We have a historical fantasy, set in Denmark, and a mystery all packed into one? I was smitten.

I loved the alternating POV’s in this book. We get to see the story through Marit and Philip’s eyes with Philip going between the past and the present. I thought it added extra mystery to the story instead of just seeing the world through Marit’s eyes. I kind of wish we got to see the world through Eve’s eyes as well, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t add that much to the story.

Plot wise I loved this book. We are shot forward from the very beginning as we follow Eve and Marit from the orphanage to the Vestergaard home and meet all the new people in their lives. As Marit tries to uncover what happened to her father, please Mrs. Vestergaard, and prevent the Firn from killing her, this story gets intense. The last 25% I was absorbed as we find out what exactly is going on.

Another aspect I love about this story was Marit and Eve’s relationship. Sister’s by choice stories just make me so happy and the love these two girls have for each other is endearing. It melted my heart every time they interacted with each other, especially with how Marit treats Eve. As the oldest of three girls, I know the feelings Marit has towards Eve, even if she doesn’t go through moments of rage like any normal sisters might. The love and protectiveness she has towards Eve hits home, even if they are much kinder to each other than me and my sisters are.

There wasn’t much I disliked about the story except I wish we got more background on some of the other people in the house. Liljan and Jakob become friends with Marit quickly, but we don’t really get to learn about them as much as Marit or Eve. I wanted a bit more time to get to know some of these other characters before we’re thrown into action.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I adored this story. I was so sad to finish because I didn’t want it to end. I have to give this a starstarstarstar.5 // 5 stars.

.

.

.

If this story sounds interesting, check out Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers.

.

.

.

.

.

If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Fall 2020 Releases I Can’t Wait to Get My Hands On!

These are books from September to December 2020 that I not only can’t wait to read, but will probably have 50 copies of each! This isn’t EVERY book I’m excited for, and this list will probably be update 50 times before the end of this year, but this is the majority! I can’t wait to read all of these!!

September:

40550366    greythorne    52778570. sy475

49104844. sy475     52750517    50211894

49779755    52501482. sy475     43473596. sy475

50892338    40868461. sy475     50548197

44012880    50358142

October:

41187447    50440900. sy475     44244775

52735921. sx318 sy475      36253143. sy475      42248889. sy475

48713842     50623864

November:

43908050. sy475      50892212     53439886. sy475

52772305. sx318 sy475      52751122. sx318 sy475      38892861. sy475

52277788. sy475      44432669. sy475      45801360

December:

31520883. sy475      49757149     49247031

52679321. sy475     52627485

What are your some of your most anticipated reads for the fall?

.

.

.

.

.

If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

 

 

ARC Review: Wicked As You Wish

I received an exclusive advance copy of Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco from Fairyloot and I loved it! My review is not in affiliation with Fairyloot and I paid for the box the book came in.

45184250

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

When a hidden prince, a girl with secrets, a ragtag group of unlikely heroes, and a legendary firebird come together…something wicked is going down.

Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left encased in ice when the Snow Queen waged war. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in…Arizona.

Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them.

A new hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala must unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.

I was worried, going into this book, that I wasn’t going to like it because a friend of mine didn’t like it and DNFed it really early. But once I started reading it I was immediately sucked in! There is a lot of American history and politics at the start (because this world is set in an alternate universe from ours), but it quickly moves along quickly.

The plot is immaculate. I mean such good plotting and storytelling goes on in this book. Even with all the crazy politics that have to be followed, and there are some crazy politics in this world, it’s so captivating. Especially once we meet the Snow Queen’s minions.

With a diverse cast of characters we’re off to save the world and the kingdom of Avalon from the evil Snow Queen. One thing I really like about this world is that it’s not only a magical version of ours, but incorporates actual fairytales into the history. Snow White, Sleeping Beaty, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Robin Hood, King Arthur, any and all fairytales you can think of are real people in this world, just not all at the same time.

Our rag tag team is so much fun too and each personality adds another layer to our group’s overall personality, and makes the team that much more interesting. I love a lot of the jokes between these new friends and I kinda miss them. Each has their own weapon and their own skill to help Prince Alex, or just Alex, as well as their own distinct trait/thing that they add and feed off of each other.

Because this is a political fantasy, if you don’t want to read about American politics then I would avoid this title. But, I would recommend looking past the few pages of political history for this epic fantasy if it really bothers you. I personally loved the history and the discussion of America’s current political climate and thought it helped me connect with the story and the characters better.

Overall, this book is really good! I can’t wait to read the next one, especially after that ending! This was a solid starstarstarstar.5 // 5 stars!

.

.

.

If this book sounds interesting, check out An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir or Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton.

.

.

.

.

.

If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review #1: Avatar: The Last Airbender Comics (1-3)

This review is going to be for the Avatar: The Last Airbender comic book collections. I thought about writing reviews for each, but honestly – that’s too much, even for me. So here is my overall review of the first three comics!

These comics take place immediately after the end of the show, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

The comics, in order, are:

  1. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise
  2. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search
  3. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Rift
  4. Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow
  5. Avatar: The Last Airbender – North and South
  6. Avatar: The Last Airbender – Imbalance

Today I will be reviewing Avatar: The Promise, The Search, and The Rift!

16231346    18631568    22318585

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads for The Promise:

The Avatar’s adventures continue right where the TV series left off, in this beautiful, oversized hardcover of The Promise, from Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko! Aang and friends must join together once again as the four nations’ tenuous peace is threatened in an impasse between Fire Lord Zuko and Earth King Kuei! As the world heads toward another devastating war, Aang’s friendship with Zuko throws him into the middle of the conflict! Featuring annotations by Eisner Award-winning writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and artist Gurihiru (Thor and the Warriors Four), and a brand-new sketchbook, this is a story that Avatar fans need in an edition they will love!

And the synopsis from Goodreads for The Search:

The biggest mystery of Avatar, the fate of Fire Lord Zuko’s mother, is revealed in this remarkable oversized hardcover collecting parts 1–3 of The Search, from Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko!

Featuring annotations by Eisner Award–winning writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and artistic team Gurihiru (Thor and the Warriors Four), and a brand-new sketchbook, this is a story that Avatar fans need in an edition they will love!

And finally, the synopsis from Goodreads for The Rift:

Avatar Aang and friends honor an Air Nomad holiday that hasn’t been celebrated in over one hundred years, but when cryptic visits from the spirit of Avatar Yangchen lead Aang to a refinery operating on land sacred to the Airbenders–they soon find themselves in peril as a dangerously powerful ancient spirit awakens with vengeance and destruction on its mind!

This collection of The Rift Parts 1-3 features annotations by Eisner Award-winning writer Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and artists Gurihiru (Thor and the Warriors Four), with a brand-new sketchbook section!

After my rewatch of Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix, I had to read the comics. I had been wanting to read them for years and it made sense to read them now that the show was fresh in my mind. Since these comics pick up right where the show left off, it really was like another season, just printed instead of animated.

Since I had watched Korra several years ago, I knew that Aang and Katara end up together, but seeing their fresh relationship in the comics is really cute! And Toph and Sokka’s reactions to it make it that much cuter.

For The Promise, we get to see Zuko as the new Fire Lord and what happens to the Fire Nation after Ozai is overthrown. I really liked the story line and the overall changes that happen in this world. How separate nations can not only live together, but become integrated into their own world – kind of like how our world is now. You can have people from different nations living in different areas of the world and people aren’t restricted to loving people solely from their group.

For The Search, I was just happy to find out what happened to Zuko’s mom! We never got resolution from the show and to finally know what happened to her is so nice. Plus all the stuff that comes afterwards. I thought her story was not only really cool, but also really sad. We get a lot of backstory into Zuko’s relationship with his mom, her relationship to Ozai, and how this all affects Azula as well.

For The Rift, we get some closure for Toph. We know from Legend of Korra that Toph teaches other people how to metal bend and in this story, we see her first students at her new school. And we also find out about some history with the last airbender Avatar along with some other cool things in the spirit world! The thing I love the most was this one scene with Toph, which I will not spoil, because it just gives everyone some much needed closure and it’s really sweet!

Overall – I’m a huge Avatar nerd. I love the show, I love the comics, and I love the spin offs! After I finish the rest of these comics I am definitely reading the Korra comics and the Kyoshi comics too! I just need more Avatar in my life overall. I don’t even have to rate these because it’s very clear that these are all a starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars for me!

.

.

.

I haven’t read many comics in my life, so I’m just gonna suggest you watch Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legen of Korra because they’re great shows. Also, read the comics!!!

.

.

.

.

.

If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review + Blog Tour: Mayhem

I am so excited to be a part of the Mayhem blog tour through Wednesday Books! I was lucky enough to win a copy of Mayhem by Estelle Laure through the Wednesday Books giveaway, Nostalgia Hour, a couple months ago and when I saw the opportunity to jump on this blog tour, I had to take it!

Book Information:

Mayhem_FC

Here is the synopsis through Goodreads:

A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft.

It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.

From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.

Review:

When I read the synopsis I knew I had to read this book. Feminist mash up? Inspired by The Craft? Sign me up! I was so excited to read this book, until I start reading it. This was a really intense book that I honestly didn’t expect and I have a lot of thoughts on it. 

One thing I wish I knew going into this book was that the beginning (and some of the tones in general) are pretty heavy. In the final draft there will be a note from the author discussing some of the more serious topics in this novel, but I didn’t get a letter or a warning for the ARC. There is a lot of heaviness to this book, including rape, suicide, assault, murder, and drug abuse. I didn’t realize how intense this book was until I started reading, but Laure does a great job in discussing these issues and not just using them as a shock factor or background. While I would have liked to know those topics would be discussed, I think the author did a good job in discussing them.

I will include Laure’s note, which will be printed in final copies, below in the Author Information section.

The beginning was a bit “slow” in a way as we’re introduced to Mayhem and Roxy, as well as their past. We learn about why Roxy left Santa Maria and why they’re returning home after all these years. I like how Laure mixes in the past with the present to give one cohesive story. Though, I found that the plot of the book didn’t start until more than halfway through.

I wanted more of The Craft, feeling wise, and I didn’t get it. The majority of the book felt like a contemporary novel as Mayhem deals with her and her mother’s past once they return to Santa Maria. The fear of Mayhem’s step-father coming after them, relearning how to feel safe, dealing with her mother’s addiction – it’s a lot for a teen. And honestly, if that was the whole book, I would have been satisfied. The focus on Mayhem and her mother’s relationship, and working through their trauma, would have been a beautiful book.

But once the magic is added in, about 50% through, it changes the feel of the story. I liked the magic, though I didn’t understand it fully. My only complaint is that since the magic and this new storyline comes in late, I wish we had more time with it.

The main climatic event is fast and it left me unsatisfied. I wanted more to solving the mystery, more to the magic, and more in general.

Overall, I like the story and I loved watching Mayhem and Roxy reconnect. I thought the murder mystery was a cool aspect, though it wasn’t really touched on much. And the magic had so much potential, but it just felt underdeveloped unfortunately. Though I do love Laure’s writing and the Mayhem’s overall journey.

In the end, I would give this book a starstarstar.5 // 5 stars.

Author Information:

AP Estelle Laure_Credit Zoe Zimmerman

Author Bio:

Estelle Laure is a Vonnegut worshipper who believes in love and magic and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theater Arts from New Mexico State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and thinks everyone should have to wait tables or work in a kitchen at least once in their lives. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her children.

Author Note:

Dear Reader,

Like Mayhem, I experienced a period of time when my life was extremely unstable. I can still remember what it was like to be shaken so hard I thought my head would come off, to watch the room vibrate, to feel unsafe in my own home, to never know what was coming around the next corner. I wanted to run. I always wanted to run.

I ran to friends, but also movies and books, and although girls were more passively portrayed in movies like The Lost Boys back then, that feeling of teenagers prowling the night, taking out bad people, being unbeatable . . . that got me through it.

I guess that’s what I tried to do here. I wanted girls who feel powerless to be able to imagine themselves invincible. And yes, I used a rape as the seed for that fierce lineage, not without thought. For me, there is nothing worse, and I like to think great power can rise up as a result of a devastating trespass.

Please know I took none of this lightly. Writing this now, my heart is beating hard and my throat is dry. This is the first time I not only really looked at my own past, the pain of loss, the pain of the loss of trust that comes when someone puts hands on you without permission, the pain of people dying, the shock of suicide, and put all of it to paper in a way that made me feel victorious, strong, and warrior-like. It is also terrifying. I know I’m not the only one who had a scary childhood, and

I know I’m not the only one who clings to stories as salve to smooth over burnt skin. I am so sick of girls and women being hurt. This was my way of taking my own vengeance and trying to access forgiveness.

Thank you for reading and for those of you who can relate, I see you and you are not alone.

Estelle Laure

Related Links:

Twitter

Instagram

Pre-Order the book here!

 

June 2020 Wrap Up

Going into this month, I honestly didn’t expect to get through any books. With moving, and work, and other stuff going on I expected to maybe read one or two books, but I went way beyond that.

I loved a lot of the books I read this month and I’m really excited for what I’m reading next month too! I ended up reading 2 of the books I planned to read in July (oops) so I guess I’m on track.

Here’s everything I’ve read in the month of June.

Books I read:

50158128. sx318 sy475

 

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

45860336

 

Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew

Genre: YA Fiction

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

 

52748041. sx318 sy475

 

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Genre: YA Fiction/Thriller/Horror

Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

35707080. sy475

 

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

44291755

 

Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

40784219

 

Greythorne by Crystal Smith

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

52746973. sx318 sy475

 

The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal

Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

42754035. sy475

 

Heir of Ashes by Jina S. Bazzar

Genre: Adult Fantasy/Urban Fantasy

Rating: N/A

Goodreads

 

40516960

 

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Genre: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

51171648

 

Mayhem by Estelle Laure

Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy

Rating: 3.5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

48717442

 

They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

Rating: 4 // 5 stars

Goodreads

 

16231346

 

Avatar: The Promise by Gene Luen Yang . . .

Genre: YA Fantasy/Graphic Novels

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

18631568

 

Avatar: The Search by Gene Luen Yang . . .

Genre: YA Fantasy/Graphic Novels

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

22318585

 

Avatar: The Rift by Gene Luen Yang . . .

Genre: YA Fantasy/Graphic Novels

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

28588125

 

Avatar: Smoke and Shadow by Gene Luen Yang . . .

Genre: YA Fantasy/Graphic Novels

Rating: 5 // 5 stars

Goodreads

It was so nice to be able to FINALLY read the Avatar comics. I love Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, so to be able to read the comics at last, it makes me so happy. Only two more books before they’re done, but my heart is full. After my rewatch of Korra, I’ll probably end up reading those comics too!

What are some books you read this month? Any books you’re excited to read in July?

.

.

.

.

.

If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

My Top Five Favorite Standalones

I am a sucker for a good series. Whether it’s two books or ten books, if I can get more out of a story and stay in a world I love, I’m happy.

But all too often, I see people suggest series over and over again and I realized we don’t give standalones nearly enough love! So, I’m going to change that. Here are my top five, favorite standalone novels you can pick up and read RIGHT NOW!

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

40367270 First off, if you haven’t read Astrid Scholte’s books, you should. She is an amazing writer! I read Four Dead Queens when it was first released as an exclusive ARC from Penguin Teen at BookCon 2018. And let me tell you – *chef’s kiss* – perfection. We have a great YA fantasy/science fiction novel here filled with murder, mayhem, and romance?

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte

46222824 You didn’t think I would list Four Dead Queens and not The Vanishing Deep did you? Astrid has a knack for writing amazing standalone novels that you want to be turned into series. I’m still crying over both of these books! This is a great science fiction/fantasy novel about sisterly love and the real difficulties over losing a loved one.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Tempe was born into a world of water. When the Great Waves destroyed her planet, its people had to learn to survive living on the water, but the ruins of the cities below still called. Tempe dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes. It isn’t food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister’s life. For a price, the research facility on the island of Palindromena will revive the dearly departed for twenty-four hours before returning them to death. It isn’t a heartfelt reunion that Tempe is after; she wants answers. Elysea died keeping a terrible secret, one that has ignited an unquenchable fury in Tempe: Her beloved sister was responsible for the death of their parents. Tempe wants to know why.

But once revived, Elysea has other plans. She doesn’t want to spend her last day in a cold room accounting for a crime she insists she didn’t commit. Elysea wants her freedom and one final glimpse at the life that was stolen from her. She persuades Tempe to break her out of the facility, and they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth about their parents’ death and mend their broken bond. But they’re pursued every step of the way by two Palindromena employees desperate to find them before Elysea’s time is up–and before the secret behind the revival process and the true cost of restored life is revealed.

Thorn by Intisar Khanani

36443368. sy475  This is a Goose Girl retelling, and I recently posted by review about this book. If you read it, you would know that I adore this story! It’s fantastical, enticing, and it has lots of magic. The main character doesn’t want to be a princess and is genuinely excited when her life is switched with one of her traveling lady’s by a sorceress so that she can live a simple life as a Goose Girl. Except that same sorceress wants to kill her betrothed, the Prince. It’s filled with beautiful moments and it brings to light some serious issues.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.

When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.

With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu

45872054. sy475  If you read my review of this book, you would know I am a musician. I played lots of Mozart and getting to read more about his sister (I didn’t even know he had a sister) was fun. So often we get Wolfgang’s life story and his views, while no one talks about his sister who was just as creative and talented. Not fair. This is mixed with the magic of a secret kingdom and a lost prince, Hyacinth, who wants to bring magic back to his kingdom. It’s definitely not a high fantasy as it switches between historical fiction and urban? fantasy – not 100% sure how to classify this, but it’s not high fantasy. So if you like magical realism and historical fiction, welcome to your next favorite book!

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish: to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in eighteenth-century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

As Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

In her first work of historical fiction, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu spins a lush, lyrically told story of music, magic, and the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

43263520. sy475 This book destroyed me. I was not expecting to be so deeply affected by this story, but I was. This is a dystopian novel centered around the idea that girls are magical. Women are born with magic and as they go into puberty, the magic becomes stronger. Every year, at 16, the girls are sent off into the wilderness to burn all the magic in their bodies and it is heartbreaking. We cover misogyny, assault, bullying, and so many topics that affect everyone. I cried at the end for many reasons. This is a more serious book, so these topics are not to be taken lightly – but I think everyone should read this. It’s deep.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

I have so many more suggestions, so if you like this post, please be sure to like it and leave me a comment! If this does well, I might do another post with a variety of genres.

.

.

.

.

.

If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!