Miles Away From You – Review

NOTE: I won this ARC in a charity auction and was unaware of the views the novel promoted at the time. I apologize for any harm or discomfort I may have caused because of this. I will still be reviewing the novel honestly, and without bias.

Hey everyone!

As you can tell from the picture and title of this post, it’s time for another review! Unfortunately, it’s not going to be an easy one.

Before I get started, I wanted to say how sorry I am for my promotion of this novel. Initially when I won the ARC, I was very excited and thought it sounded interesting, but after reading it I feel it has the potential to be harmful to some readers and for that I apologize. I had not yet read the book when I listed it on my March Releases (it has since been removed from the list with a note explaining why).

Now that I’ve said this, let me get into my reasoning for saying so. First, as always, the description. From Amazon:

From debut voice A.B. Rutledge comes a quirky and completely fresh story of young love, loss, and the drastic distances we sometimes have to travel in order to move on, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Jandy Nelson. Explores gender identity and the spectrum of sexual preference in an authentic way.

Also, from Goodreads (it explains a little more):

It’s been three years since Miles fell for Vivian, a talented and dazzling transgender girl. Eighteen months since a suicide attempt left Vivian on life support. Now Miles isn’t sure who he is without her, but knows it’s time to figure out how to say goodbye.

He books a solo trip to Iceland but then has a hard time leaving the refuge of his hotel room. After a little push from Oskar, a local who is equal parts endearing and aloof, Miles decides to honor Vivian’s life by photographing her treasured Doc Martens standing empty against the surreal landscapes. With each step he takes, Miles finds his heart healing–even as he must accept that Vivian, still in a coma, will never recover.

Told through a series of instant messages to Vivian, this quirky and completely fresh novel explores love, loss, and the drastic distances we sometimes have to travel in order to move on.

So, before I get into all of the reasons why this book put me off, let me start by saying there were actually some good things about it. Almost the entire cast of characters is LGBTQ+.  The main character, Miles, is pansexual. A pansexual main character is not super common in YA, so that was a plus for me.

Some of the characters were written beautifully and painted in such a complex light, too. I know that Oskar is a favorite among others from reviews I’ve seen, and I can see why. He’s one of the few characters in the novel I actually liked.

The story being told through emails was fun as well. I love novels that don’t follow traditional novel form, though I don’t get to read many of them. The writing was entirely accurate to a teenage boy mind as well. That, combined with the pop-culture references being almost perfect for Miles’ age felt right to me, as far as the writing goes.

That’s about it on the “good” front from me. Here’s why I didn’t like the novel.

So, the premise is that a guy’s black, trans girlfriend, Vivian, tries to commit suicide and ends up in a coma. He’s struggling with it, so his moms (one is bisexual so that’s a woo) send him on a trip to Iceland so he can try to move on. From there we see his interactions and adventures as he tries to find himself after his relationship with Vivian, and even gets close with Oskar, a local boy.

Okay. So. I’m a white, cis woman, so I can’t speak to the experiences of transwomen or black women, but I can say that the descriptions weren’t done well. There were at least a few instances where misgendering occurred, and Vivian’s family is the only PoC family in the entire novel. Not to mention, they are painted in the light of negativity, with her parents entirely unsupportive of their daughter and insisting that she’s not a woman. Meanwhile, Miles’ white moms are painted as the doting, loving parents who take Vivian in when she needs a place to stay. She’s absorbed into their family.

Look, I’m all for people helping people out, but really? The only black family in the entire novel and it’s going to show them as the bad guys? That’s problematic, to say the least.

Vivian herself is not meant to be liked either. She’s viewed as sort of selfish (even though Miles is the one who’s really selfish, but whatever) and secretive and this bad person because she tries to kill herself. There are other reasons, but that’s the gist of what I got out of it anyway.

The rep is not looking good right now my friends. It did not get better either.

Miles himself is also . . . annoying is too mild. He’s a teenage boy. While he’s very accurately written for a teenage boy, it’s also grossly played up. As is his obsession with sex. Seriously, this guy basically only talks and thinks about sex, when he’s not bemoaning the fact that his girlfriend is in a coma. Because, of course, let’s make it all about Miles! Everything is about Miles in this book. Yes, I know it’s a book about Miles. But, come on, the guy is so selfish and gross. He doesn’t seem like he actually cares about her, just the fact that now he’s without her. This is not romantic. It’s more like he’s trying to find a way to make an attempted suicide all about him. And did I mention he’s obsessed with sex? It’s excessive. Sadly, that’s the most interesting thing about him. He’s a basic hipster white boy other than that.

There were moments in this novel that I actually enjoyed, but they were far outnumbered by the rest of the time. It was probably an 85/15 split, with the majority being Not Good. Not the writing itself. If you look at it purely from a craft perspective it’s actually put together pretty well. Yeah, everything definitely feels very neat, and I don’t buy into things falling into place like that, but it’s not badly written in the strictest sense. The content is just not there. I genuinely feel bad about promoting this book so much here before, knowing what I do now about the content of it.

I do not recommend this book and I gave it a 2/5 stars on Goodreads. I can’t stop you from picking it up yourself, and maybe you’ll find something totally different than what I did, but I’m not going to tell you to read it. There are better books to read, and I suggest picking those up. If you’re looking for releases from PoC this month Children of Blood and Bone and Tyler Johnson Was Here are out and Aru Shah and the End of Time comes out on March 27th. I’ve heard only good things, and plan to dive into them myself once I get through my ARCs. I suggest those over Miles.

I think this is my first really negative review on here. I’ve posted only positive reviews thus far, because I genuinely enjoyed the books and thought they were worth reading. I feel like this book, had it been written differently, could have been good. But it wasn’t for me.

I hope you found this review helpful. If you’ve read this and want to share your opinions on it, feel free to comment below! I’m open to discussing the novel, or any others you may want to talk about. I’ll see everyone soon!



Sightwitch – Review

Hi people. I hope everyone is doing well.

It’s been a somewhat busy month. At least, it’s been an annoying one for sure. I’m currently dealing with some personal stuff that has been stressing me out all month. Plus a bunch of writing for my creative writing seminar. Which is also stressing me out. But that’s a whole other situation that has unfortunately led to me not getting any real work done on my current WIP. (I’ve had to move my self-imposed deadline back . . . twice. Cue the self-disappointment and frustration).

HOWEVER I’ve made time for reading this month–a lot of it. It’s been my saving grace (not to mention my mental health). Aaaaaaaaaaand in my stolen reading time, I managed to finish Sightwitch!

I adored this book for many reasons (which, duh, I’ll list here)(well, the spoiler-free stuff anyway). But before I get into why everyone should read the amazing Susan Dennard’s latest work, let me tell you what the book is about.

From Amazon:

Before Safi and Iseult battled a Bloodwitch…

Before Merik returned from the dead…

Ryber Fortiza was a Sightwitch Sister at a secluded convent, waiting to be called by her goddess into the depths of the mountain. There she would receive the gift of foretelling. But when that call never comes, Ryber finds herself the only Sister without the Sight.

Years pass and Ryber’s misfit pain becomes a dull ache, until one day, Sisters who already possess the Sight are summoned into the mountain, never to return. Soon enough, Ryber is the only Sister left. Now, it is up to her to save her Sisters, though she does not have the Sight—and though she does not know what might await her inside the mountain.

On her journey underground, she encounters a young captain named Kullen Ikray, who has no memory of who he is or how he got there. Together, the two journey ever deeper in search of answers, their road filled with horrors, and what they find at the end of that road will alter the fate of the Witchlands forever.


Are you excited yet? I’m going to pretend you’re nodding. I know I was excited. It was a good story and here’s why I think you should read it seventeen times.

The drawings create another layer to an already detailed story. For being a novella there’s a lot going on. I can’t really say much about specific artwork without getting a little spoiler-y (I mean mostly)(but this is also something that you really need to see for yourself). The drawings and diagrams add more depth to the different storylines. Plus they’re done very well.

In addition to the artwork, one of the main reasons I loved Sightwitch was the POVs. Where Ryber’s story is not as prominent in the other Witchlands novels, the whole point of this prequel is to learn about her, and what’s really going on in the Witchlands. Not only is it cool to hear from Ryber’s POV, but we hear a little from Kullen’s–whose introduction was hilarious, brilliant, and one of my favorite parts of the entire novella–and a few other characters who I can’t name (but who are definitely going to be important later on I think).

In line with those people I can’t tell you too much about (I know, I suck, but I have a bad habit of giving stuff away and I want you to read it too) I can tell you Ryber’s story is mirrored nicely to theirs. The parallels drawn to fill in the holes in the readers’ minds are beautifully done and one of my favorite structural parts of the novella.

While I will rave to anyone who will listen about Sightwitch and the other Witchlands books, I do have one bone to pick about it: IT WAS ONLY A NOVELLA.

Okay, that’s not a real bone to pick I guess. Truthfully it’s just me being selfish. I know Susan’s been working her butt off to get us this story, and next Bloodwitch, and to get them as perfect as she can. There were a few points I would’ve liked to know more, though. Some stuff was just a little ambiguous and (while it totally sucked me in deep) I wanted MORE! It’s the only real issue I had with the book, and it’s a pretty small and silly one considering we’re getting Bloodwitch next year where hopefully my questions will be answered. The length was probably perfect for the story itself, I just always want more when it comes to a Witchlands story. (I adore the Witchlands world you guys so much).



I’m very curious, knowing what I do now, about how these stories play out in the Witchlands series. I want to know if what we learn here has as far an impact as I think it will. I do think some of the questions left unanswered was a little frustrating, but not nearly enough to diminish my impressive love for Ryber’s story. Overall Sightwitch very much so stood up to the standard I hold Susan’s books to (and the drawings made it even better). I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

So finally, this isn’t a part of my review, but I’m going to leave you with a couple of my favorite quotes from the novella:

“‘But maybe the marked path isn’t the right one. Maybe . . . there isn’t one set path at all.'” (159)

“You’ll understand once you’re Summoned? Well, is Summoned myself, and now I did understand: paths do not come to you. You have to find them for yourself, and sometimes, you have to carve new ones entirely.” (230)

And with that I say goodbye. I’m off to give more notes on my classmates’ work. I hope you enjoyed my (kind of scattered sorry) review and found it helpful! If so, leave me a comment or talk to me on Twitter. Bye!!


Batman: Nightwalker – Review

Hello my beautiful people! I hope you’re all having a good January. Mine has been more organized than usual (I’ve started bullet journaling and let me tell you, this might have saved my life). As a result, I’ve been reading and writing a ton already. I’ve already finished three books this month! And I’m currently reading two (The Belles and Killer Instinct, in case y’all were wondering).

One of the awesome books I’ve been able to read is Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu. The day this came out I put a hold on it at my library, not really expecting to get it before I headed back to school, but hopeful that I might. A couple hours later I got an email from my library that my hold was ready for pickup. I all but ran there to grab it.

Look how cool it is!

(Yes, I own a Batman beanie. No I didn’t wear it while I read. Not the entire time at least.)

So, obviously this cover is not the only thing I’m going to talk about. I mean, I could. But I don’t think you guys would be too appreciative if I spent the whole review going “LOOK AT THE COVER! LOOK AT THE COVER!” (But, for real, look at the cover!)

Okay, cover love over. There’s actual content to discuss here. It took me a little while to get through this, both because I am actually sticking to a writing schedule for once (I’m on a self-imposed deadline) and because I was reading two other books at the same time. I didn’t mind reading this one slowly, though. It was nice to take breaks in between chapters, set the book down and come back to it. It’s not the kind of book where that’s entirely necessary, unlike several heavier books, but it is helpful to work through some of the different theories you might have. I had multiple theories about who did what and what was going on as I read, so I enjoyed waiting between every few chapters.

Before I get into my theories (as much as a no spoiler review will allow) let’s get the book description in here. From Amazon:

“Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.
The city’s elites are being taken out one by one as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is about to become eighteen and inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Industries and all the tech gadgetry that he loves. But on the way home from his birthday party, he makes an impulsive choice and is sentenced to community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most nefarious criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.
The most intriguing inmate in Arkham is Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. A girl who will only speak to Bruce. She is the mystery he must unravel, but is he convincing her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees?

In this second DC Icons book–following Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer–Bruce Wayne is proof that you don’t need superpowers to be a super hero, but can he survive this game of tense intrigue, pulse-pounding action, and masterful deception?”

First thing’s first: I loved the characterization of young Bruce Wayne. I felt that he was accurate to what a young Batman would be like. His behaviors, thought process, and actions all rang true as something teenage Bruce Wayne would do.

His friends were intriguing, though not really focused on too much. Without giving anything away, I will say that young Harvey Dent made want to cry and protect him. But both he and their friend Dianne Garcia were purely background characters in this story. I thought both characters could have had bigger roles, but it wasn’t a major point in the novel.

Madeleine Wallace kept me guessing until the very end. Even now, twelve hours after I finished the book, I still don’t know how I really felt about her. She’s incredibly complex, and a great character in play opposite to Bruce. I wouldn’t exactly call her a foil . . . it could be argued, for sure. But I don’t feel comfortable saying that, based on my reading. Maybe you’ll think differently (if you do, tell me in the comments).

I can’t say who the biggest villain ended up being, but I will tell you that I was genuinely surprised. I was looking elsewhere and ended up being blindsided by who The Big Bad Villain turned out to be. (Or maybe I’m just saying all this to throw you off)(I’m not). I think you’ll be surprised as well when you read this. Or maybe you won’t be. But I think it’s a testament to Lu’s writing that you can suspect anyone and no one and still end up being wrong about who Bruce can and can’t trust. (Is that spoiler-y? I don’t think so.)(If that’s spoiler-y I’m sorry.)


Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I definitely think it’s better than a lot of books I’ve read in the past. It’s better than one of the books I’ve read already this year. There were parts that kept me guessing, moments of true insight into the characters, and a story that left just enough wiggle room for more of the Bruce Wayne we know and love. The only thing that made this a 4 star review instead of 5 was a personal dislike for how Madeleine’s storyline ended. However, it was still a fantastic read and I would (and already have) recommend it to anyone looking for a good YA.

If you’ve read this, or want to read it, or just want to talk about books, tell me in the comments! Or talk to me on Twitter (I’m pretty much always on Twitter you guys). I’m leaving to get my hair cut and drop this back off at the library. Writing time when I get back. I hope this review was helpful!


Most Anticipated Books of 2018

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good (and safe) holiday. I stayed home on New Year’s and wrote a couple thousand words. The draft of Project L is coming along oh-so-slowly, but nicely. I’m proud of it (for a first draft anyway).

So, a new year means new books coming out. I’ve seen quite a few posts of peoples’ most anticipated books for this year. I loved sorting through and picking out my most anticipated for 2017, and I loved doing it again for y’all this year. Like last year, this is far from an “official” list. It’s just ten books I’m looking forward to a lot. I definitely think everyone else should read these books, too, but I can’t force you. I can (and will) try to convince you of the awesomeness of these novels, though. So, without further ado, (and in no particular order) here are my most anticipated releases of 2018:

1. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton Okay y’all. I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this book or not, but you probably have. It’s topped quite a few lists like this one–and for good reason. This story has all of the elements I think make up a gorgeous YA novel: strong characters, detailed world-building, twisting plot-lines . . . I’m squealing in anticipation just thinking about it. I’m curious as to how a Belle’s ability to help people may extend beyond just making them beautiful, though I’m excited for that part of the story, as well. The dynamic between beauty and power sounds very real-world to me, so I am looking forward to seeing how that plays out throughout the story. l have been lucky enough to win an ARC of this, and I can’t wait to dive in. It’s the first of my TBR for 2018. Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: February 6th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

2. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland I’m not normally one for historical. If you’ve read my blog before, you know my preference for fantasy. But, that being said, a good historical is always one I will pick up. And this one looks like it’s going to be a very good historical. You’ve got a Civil War era setting, a kick-ass young black heroine, and zombies, among other things. But, come on, zombies. That alone is enough to make me interested right there. The rest is only pulling me further into my “can I read this yet?” mentality. Plus, that cover is one to fall in love with. This own voices YA is another one I’ve seen people talking about. It’ll be one you don’t want to miss. I’m already making room for it on my shelf. Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Horror. Release Date: April 3rd. Purchase: Amazon B&N

3. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi If that title isn’t enough to get you hooked, I don’t know what else I can do for you. Wait, I can tell you that this book is one I’m counting down the days until it’s released (it’s 64, in case you were wondering). I began hearing about this one around August, and it’s been on my list ever since. This lush fantasy world sounds absolutely magical and vivid. A main character I can’t wait to meet awaits. This little bit of description alone is enough to convince me this will be one of my favorites of the year. “They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise.” Chills. I have chills. Is it March yet? Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: March 6th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

4. Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed Story time. Picture this: It’s Christmas morning, and my family and I are opening presents. I pick up a small box and tear off the Wonder Woman wrapping paper (listen to me: no one is too old for Wonder Woman wrapping paper, okay?). Inside the box is a folded piece of paper. Now picture me unfolding the paper and screaming. I have just opened a pre-order for this book. And yes, I really did scream when I opened it. Ask my mom if you don’t believe me. This own voices story promises to be real, heartbreaking, loving and taking the reader on a journey right alongside Maya, the main character. Add on top that it takes place in a Chicago suburb (aka my home) and I’ll probably read this one cover to cover. (Okay to be fair it’s probably not the same suburb i grew up in but still. Chicago. Gotta read a book set in my city) Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: January 16th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

5. Miles Away From You by A.B. Rutledge Okay. So. Here’s the deal with this one. Here’s why I’m looking forward to this one so much. First of all, it’s told in a series of messages to Miles’s comatose girlfriend, Vivian. Second, photography is a central element to the story. As someone who enjoys taking pictures, and has a best friend who might as well be a professional photographer, seeing this made my heart happy. Third, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna cry. Like, it’s pretty much guaranteed. Normally I wouldn’t be excited to cry at a book, but this isn’t a normal instance. Fourth, the setting is Iceland. I’ve never read a book set in Iceland. That’s going to be cool, seeing how the setting is a part of the story. It seems like there are going to be a lot of elements working together to make this novel come together in a cohesive way. This is another ARC I won, so I’ll be sure to let you all know how I’m feeling about this one soon. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: March 20th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

6. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody Do y’all remember how I went a little nutso about Daughter of the Burning City last year? Guess what? Ace of Shades is by the same author!! And I’m just as excited for this one as I was for her debut! This is a completely separate world from Daughter, but just as interesting in my mind. You’ve got mafia-style casino families, a setting called the City of Sin (I mean really. How can you not love that?), and female lead who was raised to be a proper lady, thank you very much. Unfortunately for her (but fortunately for the reader) she’s forced to work with a male lead who would rather con her than help her. *claps hands together in absolute glee* Give me all the drama, and magic, pretty please? Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: April 10th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

7. Nothing Left To Burn by Heather Ezell I found this author back when I submitted to Pitch Wars in 2016. And I’ve been waiting for this book ever since. And now it’s finally the release year!! Yay! The tension in this book promises to be top notch. Taking place over the course of one day, the intensity of both the wildfires and the events of our main character’s life will keep me turning pages until I look up and realize it’s 3 a.m. and I’m supposed to get up in five hours but I’ve only got fifty more pages I’ll be fine right? (This will happen I’m predicting it now)(Page-turning intensity is going to be at the center of this novel I can feel it)(I’M REALLY EXCITED) Plus, there’s romance. With a volunteer firefighter. Like, just take my money already. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: March 13th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

8. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon You’ll notice a lot of the books on this list are quite . . . intense. There’s not a lot of lighter novels on here. Part of that is just what I’m drawn to. Part of that is because there are a ton of amazing intense novels coming out. BUT, there are also quite a few lighter novels coming out as well. And this is one of them. (Don’t mistake ‘light’ for ‘less’, though. Just because a novel doesn’t have revolutions or magic or murder doesn’t make it any less amazing than the novels that do. That’s a separate rant, though.) Told in letters to female filmmakers, this story about love and friendship looks to have a cast of characters I will wish were my best friends. Or that I’ll fall in love with. Or both. And I am a total sucker for girls going after what they want in life–so a filmmaker directing a movie for a festival? Yep. I’m there. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: June 5th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

9. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli SO. In case y’all missed my fave books of 2017, I’ll remind you that The Upside of Unrequited was on that list. And maybe I should mention that I have a writing crush on Becky’s novels. Like, a hardcore writing crush. She has a gift for giving readers the stories we not only want, but the stories we need. And she does this without killing anyone (yet. She’s got a book with Adam Silvera coming out this year, too. So that whole “no one died” thing might change). Y’all know I love a good murder to activate my pain but she can bring the pain and the love. Happy endings are what I’ve seen so far, but that doesn’t mean it’s a happy story the whole way through. I relate strongly to her characters and their stories/what they go through. I have a very, very strong feeling I’m going to relate to Leah most of all. This is another one I’m going to cry over. I just know it. And I really cannot wait for it. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: April 24th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

10. Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles I saw someone talking about this book on Twitter one day, looked it up, and the rest is history. Okay, there’s a little more to it than just that. A few months ago, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I saw someone mention this book in reference to Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. So, I looked it up. I was blown away by THUG and figured any book that was being compared to that must be phenomenal. From what I’ve seen in reviews, discussions on social media, and my own gathering of knowledge, it will be phenomenal indeed. And I can’t look at that cover and not want to pick it up immediately. The heavy topic of the book promises to be intense, but it’s story that’s important to be told. It’s going to join the ranks of novels that break my heart this year, I’m sure of it. I have a strong feeling this is going to be one of my top reads of 2018. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: March 20th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Okay, so I guess my descriptions got a little long towards the end . . . I’d say I’m sorry, but lying is wrong. Also, apparently all my most anticipated books of the year are coming out within the first six months. Oops. Don’t worry, there are fantastic books coming out in the second half of the year, too. I’m positive of that. I’ll tell you all about them on the first of each month.

I’m somewhat surprised (and impressed) with myself that I’ve got more contemporaries on this list than fantasies. Look who is expanding what they read! Sort of. I mean, it’s a start, okay?

All of the release dates came from Goodreads, so they might not be exactly correct. I know there were a couple that conflicted with the date on Amazon. I don’t know which dates are correct, so if you plan to pre-order, I’d say just do it now to be safe. Like right now. Go buy the books. GO!

Again, I hope everyone had/is having a good holiday. This year has a lot of books coming out that I think will be fantastic. I’m looking forward to reading them all. Including ones I didn’t put on this list. Narrowing it down to ten was difficult and there are several I didn’t mention in this post that I’m looking forward to, as well. But don’t worry. I’ll tell you all about them in my Monthly Releases post. January’s is coming this week!

I’m going to go and finish working on a scene I left last night. It’s being stubborn. While I’m gone, why don’t you tell me what books you’re looking forward to in the comments or on Twitter? Let’s be book friends!


Writer Resolutions – 2018

Okay, not just writer, but reader resolutions, too. I figured they go hand in hand. Pretty much. Right?

Oh well. So, as it’s it’s 6:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and I know people all over the place are making their New Year’s resolutions. My family and i are doing this as well, but, like last year, i’m making a separate set of resolutions for my writerly life. And, this year, I’m adding in my readerly life, as well.

For Writing:

  1. Finish drafting Projects A & L. I don’t know if it’s cheating that I’ve already started these, so I can’t say ‘write them’. BUT I am hopeful that I’ll be able to finish them, and maybe edit the heck out of them, too.
  2. Query TLSM. I’m starting this one this week. So, I know I’ll definitely keep it. I haven’t queried a manuscript in two years, so I’m a little nervous. But, resolutions can be about facing fears, right? Fear of rejection is something I think all writers share, at some point or another. Time to get over that one.
  3. Become a better writer. This is something I think I can always improve on. There’s always room to get better. Maybe I’ll do some more prompts and short pieces. Maybe I’ll do something else. I don’t know yet, but I know it can be done.

For Reading:

  1. Read 30 books. This year, I bit off more than I could chew. Read 50 books? It seemed entirely possible last January. Yeah. Things changed between January and now. I ended up reading 34 books, which isn’t bad. But, ten of those books came in the past two weeks. I feel like 30 is reasonable. And, hey, if I can read more, good for me!
  2. Review two books a month. This will force me to read. Which isn’t usually a hardship, but whenever real life intrudes, it always feels like reading is the first thing I push aside. This should help me read some more. Plus, I enjoy writing book reviews. I hope people enjoy reading them as well.
  3. Read some more debuts. I read a few this year, but in 2018 I hope to have more read. I enjoy reading debuts a lot, and helping support debut authors. That’s pretty much my only reasoning, but I think it’s fair. I love debuts. Sue me.

There aren’t a lot of resolutions here. Honestly, I’ll probably think of five or ten more I want to add on as the night goes on. But, these are the most important ones for me. I think these are doable, and I want to keep as many resolutions as possible this year.

What are your writerly/readerly resolutions for 2018? Let me know in the comments or on twitter!

Happy New Year y’all. See you in 2018.


One Dark Throne – Review

Hello all!

I hope everyone is having a good holiday season. I got some great new books (and a brand new Kindle!!) and I’m very excited to dive in.

Before I can dive into these, I’ve got to whittle down my TBR a little. I’ve started doing that, with the hope of finishing ten books by the end of the year. So far I’ve read four and am starting the fifth today. I am DETERMINED to do this. (I probably won’t but, you know, determination is good.)

The books I’ve read recently include Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, 27 Hours by Tristina Wright, Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, and One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake. Obviously, I’ve chosen to review One Dark Throne for this post (you know, because the title wasn’t a dead giveaway at all).

As always, the Amazon summary for you beautiful people:

“With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off.

Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.”


Okay, now that you have been properly warned I’m just going to dive right in.

I enjoyed the first book in this series, Three Dark Crowns, quite a bit. There was a lot of darkness to the characters, and some were very morally ambiguous. Naturally, I loved this. When I first opened TDC I thought I would choose a favorite character. By the end of One Dark Throne, I knew I had. And she was one of the most questionable in terms of . . . most anything really. Morals. Strength. Ability. Mental fitness. Queen Katharine was, and is, my favorite character of the series so far. She’s layered, sympathetic, painted as someone you should hate, but love because she is a child fighting for her life.

Of course, Blake does well for her sisters in this respect as well. Mirabella and Arsinoe are both well-written, complex characters. I would argue they’re less complicated than Katharine, but this doesn’t take away from their likability. Whereas Katharine is painted as unlikable in many ways because she is willing to kill for her crown, her sisters are brought together in avoidance of their fate. They are determined to love one another, and flee the island in the end, deliberately being shown as working together multiple times to escape their fates.

I liked that these sisters are given the opportunity to work together, but I personally didn’t care for the idea of Katharine as a villain for them to unite against. I don’t know if this is what Blake intended, or even if this is how most people see her, but it read a lot like Katharine was being set up as a villain to her sisters’ goodness to me. However, she’s highly layered, as I already said. You can see where she’s good and where she’s struggling and where she is a cruel and evil human. So, maybe this is my own bias shining through in my reading.

The majority of my feelings on this book centered around Katharine. She’s one of many strong female characters, and one of many strong characters in general. Blake clearly doesn’t lack in characterization in her novels. And I’m a massive fan of that.

One thing I didn’t love was the start of the novel. To me, the story took a while to get started. It was so slow. But, I will say, when the action started, it went and did not stop.

There was, sadly, a lot of ambiguity surrounding Katharine’s abilities. Is she a naturalist? She was switched with Arsinoe as a baby to be raised as a poisoner. This would then lead to the idea that she is a naturalist. However a naturalist would be able to tell that her snake is dead and this is a new one, were Sweetheart (the snake from book one that died) really her familiar. Maybe it wasn’t her familiar? I don’t know. Maybe Katharine isn’t a naturalist, but possesses the War gift? She’s certainly violent enough. Could she be ungifted? Who knows?

The ending did not resolve this at all, and I was raging over it. Everything other than that felt complete. We had a solid resolution to just about every plot line. Naturally, Blake left room for another book, and enough hooks to lay the foundation for it. But Katharine–Queen Crowned Katharine who is obviously going to stay a major character–has the reader still in the dark about this HUGE part of her life.

For this, I had to knock a star off my Goodreads review. It would’ve been a damn near perfect book, were it not for these two problems.

I gave One Dark Throne 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads. I still recommend reading the series, but keep in mind not everything is resolved. Book three is coming September of 2018 and hopefully we’ll get some answers then.

I hope this was helpful! And not too harsh. I really did enjoy both of the books in the series, and despite my issues with ODT, I would read it again. If my library ever gets another copy (it’s always gone you guys. I was super lucky to grab it one of the few times it’s on shelf there). I’ll probably reread as a refresher before book three comes out.

If you’ve read the series already please let me know your thoughts! I’m curious to see what other people thought of the book.

I’m off to read another book. And maybe write a couple thousand words before the night is over. It’s gonna be a good night y’all.

Happy holidays! And happy reading!