Goddess in the Machine – Review

Hey all.

My energy is super low today so where I would normally check in and give life updates I’m just going to post my review for y’all and be out of here.

From the Barnes & Noble website:

Andra wakes up from a cryogenic sleep 1,000 years later than she was supposed to, forcing her to team up with an exiled prince to navigate an unfamiliar planet in this smart, thrilling sci-fi adventure, perfect for fans of Renegades and Aurora Rising.

When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning.

Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists—including her family and friends—are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth.

Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne—if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her.

With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?

DNF at 32%

This is a weird one for me. Weird in that this was a starred DNF review for me. I don’t know if that’s a contradiction or not but it’s definitely not something I’ve done before really.

I didn’t dislike this book. From what I read it was actually decently written and had a solid plot set up. The way language was twisted and evolved threw me at first but I caught on fairly quickly to the changes that were made and what they meant. I thought this was very cool actually since language WOULD evolve after a thousand years. GODDESS was on the way to being a very cool, layered novel that a lot of people would enjoy.

I was not one of those people. I. Was. So. Bored. Andra and Zhade were not bad characters, but I found that they both fell flat for me. And, honestly, I wasn’t overly interested in the plot either.

I’m going to be very clear though that this is very much a me problem. I have the hardest time getting into sci-fi and I knew that going in. I thought with a premise as interesting as this one that I would be able to overcome that usual difficulty. I was wrong. That is not a reflection of the writer or the book itself. And that’s why I chose to rate this book.

I knew I would not be able to finish it and once that became clear I wasn’t about to spend more time trying to make myself. But what I did read was good. I could not rate this a 4 or 5 star book, because I didn’t finish it or even read enough to know if that was what I would’ve thought. But what I did read had a lot of promise and I think other people will greatly enjoy it.

3/5 stars. If you like sci-fi I suggest reading some other reviews to find out if this one is for you or not, but I genuinely hope people enjoy it.

I hope in the future I can try reading this one again. But if not I hope the people who do read it really like it. That’s all I’ve got for tonight. This one comes out on 6/30. If you’re picking it up let me know!



The Seventh Sun – DNF Review

Hi all.

Well I wasn’t expecting to post again so soon, but here we are. I wish I was posting something a little happier. Another 5 star gushing review would’ve been nice. I love writing those. Reviews like the one you’re about to read just make me sad to write.

I love books. I just wish they were all as well-done as FOREST OF SOULS was. Go read that review after this one for a happy post.

It’s important to write reviews like this one, though. I don’t have a huge audience, but I appreciate all of you. And I want to provide you with honest opinions on the books I read. Here’s this one.

From the Barnes & Noble website:

Thrust into leadership upon the death of his emperor father, young Prince Ahkin feels completely unready for his new position. Though his royal blood controls the power of the sun, he’s now responsible for the lives of all the Chicome people. And despite all Ahkin’s efforts, the sun is fading—and the end of the world may be at hand.

For Mayana, the only daughter of the Chicome family whose blood controls the power of water, the old emperor’s death may mean that she is next. Prince Ahkin must be married before he can ascend the throne, and Mayana is one of six noble daughters presented to him as a possible wife. Those who are not chosen will be sacrificed to the gods.

Only one girl can become Ahkin’s bride. Mayana and Ahkin feel an immediate connection, but the gods themselves may be against them. Both recognize that the ancient rites of blood that keep the gods appeased may be harming the Chicome more than they help. As a bloodred comet and the fading sun bring a growing sense of dread, only two young people may hope to change their world.

Rich in imagination and romance, and based on the legends and history of the Aztec and Maya people, The Seventh Sun brings to vivid life a world on the edge of apocalyptic disaster.

DNF at 23%

Strap in y’all, I’ve got some things to say about this one.

First thing I want to say is that I was under the impression this was an ownvoices novel. That is not that case. I discovered this partway through my reading and, based on this and problems I’d already been seeing with the book, I DNFed.

Though I love history, mythology, and the study of various cultures, I will be the first to admit I’m not well-versed enough in Mayan or Aztec mythology to know whether the inspiration here was accurate or well-written. The fact that this is NOT ownvoices leads me to believe it is probably not as well done (or researched) as it should have been. And it is nowhere near the level it would have been had an ownvoices author gotten the chance to tell the story. I 100% defer to ownvoices readers and reviewers here that say it is poorly done. Many reviews I’ve seen claim this book whitewashes the culture entirely and falls into stereotypes and the “savage native” trope. As a white woman I defer to their reviews here. And from what I got through I saw plenty of examples of what they’re talking about.

It’s a shame that the author chose to write a story that isn’t hers to tell. I really loved her writing style. She can craft a vivid story almost as well as Roshani Chokshi–and that’s one of the highest compliments I could ever give a fantasy writer. Star-Touched Queen is one of the most vivid, creative, beautifully written works I’ve ever read. I have yet to find a book that makes me feel like that one did, but the writing style in Seventh Sun came close. Which is why it’s so disappointing to learn the author is not ownvoices. This is not her story to tell.

Oh I should talk about something else? Okay well I suppose I can mention the characters. There isn’t anything overly impressive about Mayana or Ahkin themselves. I think their POVs were nice enough to read from and their voices distinct. But as characters they were average at best. I was more interested in the introduction of the princesses from the other city-states than Mayana’s, though I liked her well enough I suppose. She didn’t really give an impression one way or the other truthfully. She had strong not-like-other-girls vibes though which is… not great. Neither her nor Ahkin were overly interesting. Maybe I would’ve seen their personalities develop more had I kept going but I don’t think it would’ve been worth it. And, I know other reviews have mentioned this, but a book that’s based on Mayan and Aztec legends and culture with a main character named Mayana… I mean, you could’ve done better.

And I’m brought back to the writing. I want to be clear here: I loved the craft, not the content. The style was right up my alley. It drew me in and made me want to love this book. I will admit it. Part of me did. But that part of me is not nearly large enough to overlook the problems here. I firmly believe it is not alright to take up space where an ownvoices author should be. And I think I’ve made my opinions on the characters clear. Average. At best.

I waver between 2.5 and 3 stars. The style is the only thing that’s keeping it from being a 1 star read. Style can only save you so much and if the rest of the plot was as easy and meh as the beginning (and many other reviews agree that it was) I know I would’ve DNFed still, just a little farther in. But no matter my rating and no matter my reading, I can’t recommend. This was one I’ve been looking forward to reading for a while. I truly wish it could’ve been better. Read an ownvoices book instead of this one.

I’m not going to provide buy links like usual. Like I said, go read an ownvoices book. You’re better off.

I hope this review was coherent and not too ramble-y. I’m writing it at 2am so I can get all my thoughts out before they vanish and I can no longer articulate them. Sorry to anyone who got the notification and was very confused why a blog post went live before the sun rose. I just needed to get this out. If you found it helpful, I’m glad. I would love to know what you think. Leave me a comment! Usually I’d say talk to me on Twitter but I’m on hiatus at the moment there. If you want to follow me though I’d love to talk books with you there when I’m back.

Alrighty. Bed now. Must sleep. Tomorrow I start a (hopefully) better book. And get some more writing done. Lots of writing right now. Need my sleep for that.



Forest of Souls – Review

Hey everyone.

So, a few things. Firstly I hope y’all aren’t doing too badly in this never-ending pandemic. Not to mention the absolutely blatant disregard for the constitutional right to peaceful protest and police murdering Black people simply for saying they have the right to exist . . . I’ve been quiet here about it, but that was because I felt it was better to sit back and boost Black voices right now, which I’ve been doing on platforms where I’m a lot more active like Twitter. Theirs are the blogs you should be looking at. They are the ones you should be going to for lists, recommendations, etc. and DO NOT forget to follow them while you’re there. For me (a white woman) to take up space in this conversation is not something I should be doing.

Side note: please do not go to these bloggers and ask them to educate you. Google is free and there are countless resources you can look at for this purpose. It is not the job of Black people to educate you.

Oh, and if it wasn’t obvious, this blog supports BLM. Please remove yourself from my blog if you disagree.

Secondly, it’s pride month! Almost the end of it, but still. I hope y’all read some amazing queer books this month. One I recommend that just came out recently is YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN. Last I heard it was back in stock but I know it was sold out a lot of places. Grab it before it sells out again!

Thirdly, I know it’s been forever since I posted. I think it’s been almost a month actually. I promised a lot of really cool posts in the future, and I do have them partially drafted. I’m hoping to get them out soon. It’s just felt like with everything going on in the world that my little blog was sort of insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I’m working on posting more regularly again for y’all though.

Now that we’ve talked about the important things going on in the world, I’d like to talk about something else that is equally important. In the book world. And that is my review of the fantabulous FOREST OF SOULS by Lori M Lee!

Amazon.com: Forest of Souls eBook: Lee, Lori M.: Kindle Store

From the Barnes & Noble website:

Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.

And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.

Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.

This book was stunning. Everything about it left me needing more. It’s been a while since I’ve finished a book and immediately needed the sequel, but that’s what happened here. New fantasy has been harder for me recently, especially with the pandemic I’ve been turning to comfort reads, but I was sucked in to this one fast.

SIrscha’s story is gripping. I wanted her to succeed from the first moment I met her and her (slightly cocky) self. Her enemies were mine. And the girl has many enemies. In the beginning it’s far easier to number her enemies than her friends. But this character made me want to pick up a sword and fight right next to her. I’m pretty sure she could kick my ass with ease, but still.

Oh and if we’re talking about characters, Sirscha was not the only one to love. Excuse me but I would’ve killed for a friend as loyal as Saengo when I was a teenager. That girl is the definition of a best friend. And then there’s the numerous side characters who I either wanted to hug or maim, depending on the page. Sometimes I wanted to do both. I couldn’t decide by the end. It made everything even better.

The story was fantastic. The writing was lovely. The characters were flawed and lovable and maddening a hundred times over. And I’m going to take a second here to gush about the setting. The majority of the book is spent deep in one of the coolest, creepiest forests I’ve seen in fantasy. The trees can and will kill you if given half a chance. And not only that but they’ll drive you to insanity and literally consume your body. It something out of  a nightmare and it’s got to be one of my favorite settings in recent memory.

The only reason I could even potentially think of to knock even half a star off this book is my arachnophobia and not even that can dissuade me from my love of this beauty. But also if you’re arachnophobic like me just beware spiders are HUGE in this one. I did have to skim/skip certain passages because of my fear, but if you’re chill with reading about spiders you won’t have to worry about that.

And I’m just going to take a brief second to s c r e a m about the cover here. Have you seen it? Isn’t it gorgeous? I know it has nothing to do with the content of the book itself but it’s phenomenal? Just look at it??? Okay, cover love done.

So, to sum up, this book was amazing. It was impossible to put down. I read this in a matter of hours and I am furious that I have to wait for book two. I have so many questions. Questions I cannot and will not share because they’re very spoiler-y. But I can’t wait for book two to answer them. I know I’ll be just as consumed by it as I was by this one.

5/5 stars. Highly recommend to everyone. Read. This. Book.

Luckily you can read this one today! It’s just been released. I’m so excited to scream about it with all of you. I hope you liked my review, and that it’s made you want to read this one. If it has, yay! You can get it from your local indie, mine, or from Barnes & Noble. If you’ve read it already please come scream about it with me in the comments or on Twitter!! I’d love to hear what you thought.

Okay, I swear I’m done gushing now. For the moment anyway. I’ve got a word count goal to meet for the day so I’m off to work on that.



Something to Talk About – Review

Hey everybody! Welcome back.

It’s been a time for me this past week. I’ve been trying to get a million different things done in preparation for the world reopening here in Illinois next week. I’m not sure if this includes my work or not but I’ve been preparing just in case. I’ve also been trying to get some of the numerous projects I started finished if I am about to be back at work.

Do I want to be back at work? Yes, because money. Do I hope my job is not reopening just yet because I think it’s probably too soon for the world to open back up? Also yes. As much as this quarantine is killing me, I’d rather everything stay closed a few more weeks for safety purposes. It is a pandemic. But, I don’t make those choices. So, I prep. And I wrap up some loose ends here at home. Just in case.

That was sort of sad. This entire situation is beyond sad, actually. So I think it’s time I balance it out with some happy, don’t you? Like a review maybe? I think it’s time for a review. A very happy one.

Something to Talk About: Wilsner, Meryl: 9780593102527: Amazon.com ...

From the Barnes & Noble website:

A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time—threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

So I was excited about this one for a while. I was a little worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations because I’ve been having some trouble with romance novels lately. Thankfully I was so very wrong.

I loved Jo and Emma so much. Their dynamic was interesting, believable, and something you can just immerse yourself in. Their character development was so fun to see, too. Emma really grew into herself as the story went on. Of the two she was definitely my favorite. Not that Jo wasn’t great to read as well–she was and I enjoyed her arc–but something about the way Emma was written really spoke to me.

I want to put it out there that I saw this one compared to RWRB a couple of times. Thankfully not many because it’s not true. These are two totally separate books with totally separate themes and stories. I loved Something to Talk About and I think many, many romance lovers will, too. It’s so good. But please don’t make the mistake of comping it to a very popular recent release just because both books have LGBT+ characters. Wilsner’s book is its own work, and can stand on its own no problem, I promise you that.

Highly recommend. 4.5/5 stars. Read this book, y’all. Read this book.

Luckily for you, you can read it today! I was very fortunate to get the chance to read it ahead of time (thanks Berkley!) but I wanted to wait and post a release day review so y’all wouldn’t have to read my squeal-y words and wait. You can get this one at your local indie, mine too, and Barnes and Noble right now! If your library is open, make sure you request it there, too.

Okay, I must go back to working on a Secret Project (not writing related sadly). I hope you liked this review and that you read this book. If you already have, or have something you want to say, please let me know your thoughts in the comments! I’m on a Twitter hiatus currently but you can also reach me there. I still check my DMs.

That’s all for today.



The Assignment – Review

Hi all!

It’s been a minute. I’m sure I gave y’all whiplash with how many posts I made in April. I had a lot of plans on what else to post after that, but was pretty creatively drained at that point. I’m still not totally back but reviews are pretty straightforward.

So. Reivew!

Trigger warning: antisemitism

The Assignment by Liza Wiemer: 9780593123164 | PenguinRandomHouse ...

From the Barnes & Noble website:

SENIOR YEAR. When an assignment given by a favorite teacher instructs a group of students to argue for the Final Solution, a euphemism used to describe the Nazi plan for the genocide of the Jewish people, Logan March and Cade Crawford are horrified. Their teacher cannot seriously expect anyone to complete an assignment that fuels intolerance and discrimination. Logan and Cade decide they must take a stand.
As the school administration addressed the teens’ refusal to participate in the appalling debate, the student body, their parents, and the larger community are forced to face the issue as well. The situation explodes, and acrimony and anger result. What does it take for intolerance, justice, and love to prevail?

This book was good. The content was incredibly important, and handled in a sensitive, smart way. I think the author was careful with their writing, but didn’t go too safe. It explored the issue at hand and assignments like these thoroughly, but without being intentionally harmful.

I want to be clear that as I’m not Jewish I cannot speak to how harmful the content is or is not. I just felt that the author was not intending harm with their writing. However for that measurement I would look for ownvoices reviews.

While I liked the majority of the book, there were a couple things I didn’t care for. I felt the romance subplot was unnecessary. The same storyline could’ve been completed with them as best friends. Writing also did not match the emotional depth the content reached in some places. It was too simplistic for my taste, but I don’t that’s a deal breaker or anything. The switching from first to third person POV depending on who we’re following was a bit much, though. It got sort of irritating.

Overall most of my issues were stylistic and probably not something that would really bother many people. And I do recommend this one, because I think it’ll be a very strong story worth reading. I was skeptical at first, before I found out the author was Jewish. And after reading I’m glad I did. This book is hard, but definitely worth it. 4/5 stars.

You can pre-order this book now from your local indie, or mine, or at Barnes & Noble. It’s out on August 25th, so you’ve got plenty of time.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for now. See y’all soon.



Vampy Books for Your TBR

I mean, really, they’ve been on their way back for a while.

Hi y’all. I’m sure you’ve seen the news. Stephenie Meyer announced today that she’s releasing the long-awaited Midnight Sun. There’s a lot of people who have a lot of thoughts about this. Personally? I’m not going to pretend YA didn’t heavily benefit from Twilight’s popularity. Nor will I pretend there aren’t a lot of problems with it. I know myself well enough to know there’s a very, very strong chance I’ll read the new book. Although at a $28.99 price I’m definitely hesitating a teeny bit. Beyond that, though, I’m not commenting.

What I’m more interested in is how some people are saying this is bringing vampire books back. People, vampires have been on their way back. Vampires have been here. And vampires have been good. Maybe not as popular as Twilight, but they’re here. Would you care for some recommendations? I have them. I have them right here for you.

Amazon.com: The Beautiful (9781524738174): Ahdieh, Renée: Books

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

n 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans is a safe haven after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent in the middle of the carnival season, Celine is quickly enraptured by the vibrant city, from its music to its fancy soirées and even its danger. She becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s enigmatic leader, Sébastien Saint Germain.

When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in Sébastien’s own lair—the second dead girl to turn up in recent weeks—Celine battles her attraction to Sébastien and suspicions about his guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

After a third murder, New Orleans becomes gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one who has now set Celine in his sights. As the murderer stalks her, Celine finally takes matters into her own hands, only to find herself caught in the midst of an age-old feud between the darkest creatures of the night, where the price of forbidden love is her life.

At once a sultry romance and a decadent, thrilling mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet.

Vampires in New Orleans. The gorgeous writing will suck you in. Pun intended. Read it. Love it. Release status: already out.

The Damned (The Beautiful, #2) by Renée Ahdieh

The Damned by Renee Ahdieh

Since this one is a sequel I’m not going to post the summary to avoid potential spoilers. But, read the series. Release status: July 7th.

Amazon.com: The Fell of Dark (9781250155849): Caleb Roehrig: Books

The Fell of Dark by Caleb Roehrig

The only thing August Pfeiffer hates more than algebra is living in a vampire town.

Located at a nexus of mystical energy fields, Fulton Heights is practically an electromagnet for supernatural drama. And when a mysterious (and annoyingly hot) vampire boy arrives with a cryptic warning, Auggie suddenly finds himself at the center of it.

An ancient and terrible power is returning to the earthly realm, and somehow Auggie seems to be the only one who can stop it.

This one is on my list for sure, but, I’ll be honest, I haven’t read it. Rachel Strolle highly recommends it though so that’s good enough for me. Release status: July 14th.

Vampire GIFs | Tenor

Vampires Never Get Old by Zoraida Cordova

In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out—and going out for their first kill—and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.

Welcome to the evolution of the vampire—and a revolution on the page.

Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.

Coming out in September (my birthday week actually) this anthology is all about those biting creatures we love. Pick it up! Release status: September 22nd.

Vampire GIF on GIFER - by Umdwyn

The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl

When the vampire who turned Holly into the undead in 1987 (leaving her as a 16-year-old with badly crimped hair for all eternity) breaks up with her, she’s approached by two girls he also claimed to love, turned, then ditched. But their plan to kill him before he can strike again grows complicated when Holly starts to fall for the mortal girl they’re trying to protect.

Sonia is honestly an auto-buy author for me. I am so excited for her journey into the supernatural with this one. Release status: 2021.

Amazon.com: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (9780316213103): Black ...

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.
One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Not the vampire story we’re always seeing. If you call yourself a Holly Black fan and haven’t read this one yet . . . well we can’t be friends anymore. Release status: already out.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – review | Children's books | The ...

The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

Honestly? My favorite vampire series. I wanted to be Rose so badly. I still wouldn’t mind. Release status: already out.

Amazon.com: Bloodlines (9781595144737): Mead, Richelle: Books

The Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead

Spin-off series from VA. Won’t be posting a description because, again, spoilers, but once you finish VA you’ll need more. Release status: already out.

Amazon.com: Marked (House of Night, Book 1) (9780312360269): Cast ...

The House of Night Series by P.C. and Kristin Cast

The House of Night series by bestselling authors P.C Cast and Kristin Cast is set in a world very much like our own, except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird’s world, vampyres have always existed. In this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where, after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult vampire—that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are chosen do. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends, and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school’s most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny—with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

Truth time: I never finished this series. But the books I did read I liked a lot when I was younger. I haven’t read them in years, but I remember re-reading Marked three or four times when I was waiting for another book. Release status: already out.

How many of these have you read? Are you looking forward to any more? Tell me all about them in the comments or over on Twitter. Thanks for reading today, y’all. I have some more posts coming for you soon.



Storybound – Review

Hey all. So, surprisingly, you haven’t seen one of these from me in a while. Usually I’m pretty consistent in posting mostly reviews. This is the first one I’ve done (not including my review for Deck of Omens which was part of the author appreciation spirit week) in around two weeks. There’s been a solid amount of other content since then. I do hope you like the other content. I’m working to hopefully post more stuff like it, not just while we’re still under quarantine (my god will this ever end?) but once the world re-opens again too (do not try and give opinions on how far away that will be–trust me I am very aware how far away that is).

But today I’m bringing you a review. I’ll be honest here, it’s a DNF review. I don’t usually post full reviews here for DNFs (I don’t DNF a lot though either) but this one I think warrants it.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Storybound by Emily McKay

From the Barnes & Noble website:

I’ve lived in nine towns in the past six years. I know my mom feels bad about it, but I don’t mind. Who wants friends anyway?

All I’ve ever needed are my books. I’ve lived a thousand lives, had adventures I couldn’t even begin to imagine. To me, the places I discovered between the pages of a book are as real as the world I live in.

When I walk into my favorite bookstore, the last thing I expect is to walk out onto the pages of the kingdom of Mithres…or that the book boyfriend I’ve loved more than life, Kane the Traveler, really exists. And he has no clue the fate that awaits him in book five…

Now that I know the truth, I have a chance to save Kane. But if I change the story, will I ever find my way home?

DNF at 31%

Good lord. Okay. So, hear me out here. I tried. Really, I did. And there was at least one part I enjoyed. But I just couldn’t do it.

There was a lot of stuff I disliked about this book. But I want to say that there was one thing I did like. I absolutely adored the premise of the novel. I think it’s one that, when done properly, could be amazing. Sadly, it did not work out that way here (for me).

Yeah, that was what I liked. I don’t have anything more to say in that vein. Now I’d like to explain why I couldn’t make myself finish this book.

For one thing, the voice was not for me. I straight up disliked it. I don’t have anything more to say on that because it’s just how I felt about it. Maybe other people won’t mind but it grated on me.

Another thing was that I strongly disliked Edie, the main and POV character. With her there seems to be a lot of hatred towards teenage girls. There were so many nasty comments about the way the other girls in the story behaved. Her attitude was pretty out of date honestly. I’d expect this from a YA from 2010, not one coming out in 2020. There was too much of a “not like other girls” undertone to her character for me.

But, aside from her attitude, there were other reasons that turned me off to Edie’s character. Her insistence that she’s in love with Kane, for starters. I get having book boyfriends. I had a ton of book boyfriends as a teen. Most people bond to the characters they read–that means they’re good characters! Written well! But no one actually, truly thinks they’re in love with them. Teenagers are smart. They know characters aren’t real people they can have a relationship with. I don’t really think Edie gets that. She’s insisting that she has been in love with Kane since she read his first book. And not in a “I love my book boyfriend way”. More like “I’m not going to date or befriend actual, real-life people because I have my book boyfriend”. That’s not healthy. It’s just not a healthy behavior to demonstrate. At first I thought we were in an insta-love situation. This would’ve been . . . less than ideal. But, nope, just a main character that has me worried and seriously put off.

Oh, and, the third reason I don’t like Edie? She’s contradicting herself constantly. I’m not talking, unreliable narrator or making changes based on new information. I’m talking she says outright she’s never really believed in magic or fantasy, then two pages later says of course she’s always believed in it. Then another two pages after that she’s back to “how can I really think this is real that’s ridiculous”. It’s not to other people either. It’s her just thinking to herself. And it’s not even presented in a way that would depict disorder or confusion at having your world get turned upside down. It’s just irritating, bad writing.

This is my last point I’m going to explain about why I wouldn’t finish the arc. The writing just was not good. It was disorganized in the beginning, lacked any sort of the real, significant world-building a fantasy of this magnitude needs, and didn’t improve. I think the main thing that bothered me was, the farther I got in, the less annoyed and the more bored I got. I didn’t even get to any sort of major romantic or action plot point. I was going to try and stick it out but . . . I just got so bored. Which is probably the saddest thing about the entire experience. At least annoyed I had some emotion. But the writing couldn’t hold my attention once I got past that 25% mark. It stopped being irritating and went flat instead.

Now, I could also go into how the author appeared to use mental illness as a plot device, the use of every YA stereotype under the sun, and the near-immediate attack and dismissal of the only powerful POC that we were introduced to, but I’m not going to. Mostly because I did DNF and those things could be more than they appeared. Maybe these are explored further later on in the book. I don’t feel I have enough information to fully judge these things, but this is how they looked at about a third of the way in. That’s not great.

Overall I can’t recommend reading this one, because I don’t think it’s really worth it. But, as always, I advise determining that for yourself. It’s out on May 5th if you’re interested. 1.5/5 stars because the premise rocks. I just wish the execution was better.

I hope my opinions were helpful. Let me know what you think in the comments. If you’ve read an early copy like me, and your thoughts were different (or not) tell me! I really want to hear what other people have to say about this. I’d love to talk about it with y’all. My comments section and my twitter are always open.

Thanks for reading my long, rambling DNF review. Y’all are the best.



Spirit Week Day 7: It’s a Wrap!

Hey all!

Wow it’s been a week, hasn’t it? So many amazing posts, so much cool content from all of the #FourPathsFriends. In case you missed any of it, here are my posts for the week:

Welcome to it

My Deck of Omens review

I try to make some character playlists

Isaac Sullivan speaks

If you like TDG read one of these books

And don’t forget to check the #FourPathsFriends tag here and on Twitter. My fellow street team members came up with some great content. I’m so lucky to have worked with such smart and creative people. I really hope you’ve followed them all and checked out their posts. Trust me it’s worth the read.

I just want to say thank you for being a part of this week. It’s been a lot to work with and one of the most challenging things I’ve taken on since I started blogging here, but I had so much fun putting all of this together for you. I really hope you like the work we’ve done.

One final time I’m going to say this: please order Deck of Omens from your local indie (or mine if you’re interested) or B&N. When your libraries open up again, request they order it. Trust me you want to read this duology, and this sequel is fantastic. You won’t regret reading it.

Thanks so much for reading! I hope y’all stick around for my future posts, too.



Spirit Week Day 6: I Recommend . . .

I mean, I recommend a lot of books. Like, a lot. Books are great. But I’m going to try and recommend some books to you today that all have elements of The Devouring Gray or Deck of Omens in them!

Before we get to that though I want you to do a breathing check. Take three deep breaths, in 1, 2, 3, 4, out 1, 2, 3, 4. Repeat. Repeat. Okay. Now make sure your jaw is unclenched. Relax your shoulders. You’re good. It’s all going to be okay. Your anxiety is lying to you. Tell it to f*ck off. You’re doing great.

Alright, I’m sorry if you’re annoyed with that little exercise. I know things like that can sometimes bother me, too. But sometimes having that reminder is nice. Some people need it. Thank you for putting up with my tiny tangent.

Onto the recommendations then? I think so.

If you like settings like Four Paths . . . try The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black or Wilder Girls by Rory Powers

Amazon.com: The Darkest Part of the Forest (9780316213073): Black ...Amazon.com: Wilder Girls (9780525645580): Power, Rory: Books

If you like multi-POV casts . . . try the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard or The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Amazon.com: Truthwitch: A Witchlands Novel (The Witchlands ...Amazon.com: The Gilded Wolves: A Novel (9781250144546): Chokshi ...

If you like characters like Violet . . . try Ana from Heart of Iron by Ashely Poston or Zafira from We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Amazon.com: We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya) (9780374311544 ...

If you like complex sibling relationships . . . try the Three Dark Crowns series by Kendare Blake or You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Amazon.com: Three Dark Crowns (9780062385437): Blake, Kendare: BooksAmazon.com: You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone (9781481497732): Solomon ...

If you like complicated parent relationships in YA . . . try Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes or Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

Little White Lies (Debutantes Series #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes ...Amazon.com: Oh. My. Gods. (9780142414200): Childs, Tera Lynn: Books

If you like creepy or paranormal books . . . try The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh or The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

Amazon.com: The Beautiful (9781524738174): Ahdieh, Renée: BooksThe Tenth Girl | Sara Faring | Macmillan

Have you read these books? Did you like them? Are they on your TBR? Tell me!

One more post in our DOO spirit week. I’ll see you guys tomorrow.



Spirit Week Day 5: An Interview with Isaac Sullivan. Sort of.

Today’s the day! This is the post I’m most excited about. I have been so excited all week to share this with you. One of my favorite things that the street team organized was our character interviews. I had the pleasure of reading all of them ahead of time (one of the many perks of working with everyone involved) and they are wonderful. Naturally, though, there was one I was more excited about than the others.

In case it wasn’t already obvious (it really should be) Isaac is my favorite character (Violet is a close second but Isaac still wins). So, when it came time to picking characters to interview, I jumped at the chance to “talk” with him. As you’ll soon see, he’s not a super talkative guy. I know, you’re shocked, right? Still I am thrilled to share with you what he had to say. Enjoy!

Scary tree black and white GIF on GIFER - by Zuzahn

1. You recently went through a huge change in your friendship with Justin. How do you feel after everything? Do you think you guys will be able to be as close as you used to?

 If this whole interview is going to be like this, I’m leaving.

2. Not to pry but what’s going on with you and Violet?

We’re friends. Happy now?

3. Your family is a touchy subject but, if you’re up to it, do you want to tell us how you’re feeling knowing your brother is back in town?

Oh, seriously? You want to go there? Of course I feel shitty that he’s back in town, but I’m not scared of him. I’m not. He should be scared of me.

4. And let’s do something fun now. What is your favorite song off of Halsey’s new album, MANIC? What do you like most about it?

 The whole album is great, but my favorite is Graveyard. Feel free to psychoanalyze it, I don’t care.

5. If you had to pick three and only three books to read for the rest of your life, what books would you pick?

The Hobbit, Magic for Beginners….and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Shut up, okay? I like happy endings.


I did tell y’all he’s not the most chatty of characters. If you’ve already read TDG and DOO you should know this took place between the events of the two books.

Don’t forget that my fellow street team members also posted some character interviews, as well as tons of other really fun content to celebrate Christine Lynn Herman and the release of Deck of Omens. You can track all of their posts on Twitter under #FourPathsFriends. Don’t forget to follow them too!

I also wanted to say a quick thank you for 100 followers. I’ve had this blog for a long time now, and it’s a small milestone to some, but it means a lot to me. I really appreciate all of you taking the time to read my ramblings. I’ll have a full post coming soon-ish for it, but I just wanted to say that.

Author Appreciation and Spirit Week is almost done, but we’ve still got a few things coming up for you. See you tomorrow.