April Releases

Hello world!

I hope everyone is enjoying their April so far. We had some snow, which wasn’t fun to drive in. Nor was it fun to walk on campus with snow blowing at you at 8:30 in the morning. But it was just as not-fun walking to class later in the day while I sweat from the sunshine, so, I mean . . .  shrug. That’s a really long way of saying I hate fickle weather. I hope the start of your April was better than that.

I know I’m massively late, later than usual even on this, but it’s time for Monthly Book Releases: April Edition.

You know how every month I say that it’s going to be a great book month? This month is no exception. However, this might be a particularly squeal-y month for me, since there are a couple of books I’ve been waiting MANY MONTHS for finally coming out this month. Hint: one of them comes from the same author who brought you this (in book form) –

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I don’t think I ever gushed about my love for Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, but I’m 99% sure I jumped up and down over here over The Upside of Unrequited (metaphorically)(okay literally)(I love Becky Albertalli y’all).

ANYWAY my little comments aside, there are (as usual) a bunch of awesome books coming out this month. Should we look at them? I think we should.

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody A YA Fantasy that follows Enne, a proper young lady who is trying to find her missing mother. Her only lead? A trail leading to New Reynes and the name Levi Glaisyer. But Levi isn’t a gentleman; he’s a conman. The pair must go on adventures throughout the city to find Enne’s mother and maybe even save one another. Release Date: April 10th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: AmazonB&N

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland Jane McKeene is in training to become an Attendant–one of the elite who are trained to protect the well-off in an America ravaged by walking dead. It’s one of the better opportunities for a black girl like her in Civil War-era US. But all Jane wants is to get back to her family in Kentucky. When families around Baltimore start disappearing, though, it’s up to her to find out what’s happening–and figure out how to fight an enemy that makes the undead the least of her problems. YA Fantasy. Release Date: April 3rd (Already out!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: AmazonB&N

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian Ten years after seeing her mother murdered and her kingdom taken over, mocked Ash Princess Theodosia is forced to kill off her last hope of escape. In return, she vows vengeance, pledging to seduce the Kaiser’s son. She doesn’t count on falling for the Prinz. And she really doesn’t count on the rebels who’ve had her back turning on her unless she hands over her heart’s sister, Cress. A YA Fantasy about finding out how far you’ll go to get back what yours–and how much of yourself you’re willing to lose in the process. Release Date: April 24th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli A YA Contemporary that follows Leah, a drummer and bisexual girl who knows what she’s doing behind a drum kit but ask her about the rest of her life and she has no idea. She hasn’t told anyone she’s bi other than her mom, despite that her best friend Simon Spier is openly gay. She’s just not sure what to do, and with graduation looming and her formerly tight-knit friend group growing farther and farther apart, she’s got to decide soon. Release Date: April 24th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young Eelyn is a warrior for the Aska clan, sworn enemy to the Riki. In this YA Fantasy she battles against those who would do her clan harm–until one day she sees her brother among those people. Her brother she thought died five years before. Now she must survive among the Riki while dealing with her brother’s betrayal. But when an enemy clan everyone thought to be a myth attacks, she must try and unite the peoples to fight side by side, or they’ll all be slaughtered. Release Date: April 24th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Love Songs & Other Lies by Jessica Pennington A YA Contemporary following Virginia and Cam, two years post-breakup. The two haven’t seen each other since but now have to spend the summer on a tour bus while trying to promote Cam’s band. An entire summer on a reality-show battle of the bands tour . . . Vee and Cam can handle it, right? But with the cameras rolling 24/7 and Cam’s relentless pursuit of Vee’s forgiveness some secrets might get shared that were better left unsaid. Release Date: April 24th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig When Rufus’s ex-boyfriend Sebastian shows up out of nowhere wanting to talk, he thinks things can’t get much worse than that. But then his sister calls, begging for help. When he and Sebastian find her covered in blood and standing next to the body of her boyfriend, he knows he was wrong. She swears she didn’t do it but Rufus knows she’s hiding something. Now he and Sebastian have to work together for one night to prove his sister’s innocence or there could be dire consequences. YA Mystery/Thriller. Release Date: April 24th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert A year after a tragic accident shook up his life, Danny Cheng seems to have it all together. He’s ready to leave for art school but the idea of leaving his best friend Harry Wong behind is daunting. And when family secrets come to light and the world Danny thought he had starts to unravel around him, he starts questioning everything–including his best friend’s love for his girlfriend. With everything spinning out of control it’s time Danny faces up to the past to make sure he has a future. YA Contemporary. Release Date: April 10th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding Abby Ives just wants to focus on her plus-size fashion blog. She’s perfectly willing to be the sidekick in other peoples’ lives. Then she makes the mistake of falling for her co-worker, Jordi, and when her photography starts shifting the attention Abby’s way she doesn’t know if she likes the spotlight. To top it off, she’s somehow agreed to help the local lacrosse jock, Jax, eat his way across the LA burger scene. Will she be able to reconcile the person she wants to be with the one she’s becoming? YA Contemporary. Release Date: April 3rd (Already out!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

The Diminished by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson In a world where nearly everyone is born with a twin, to be born without makes you royalty. That’s where Bo Trousillion comes in. A singleborn he is destined to rule the empire, even if he doesn’t feel quite ready for it. While most are born with a twin, sometimes those twins die. That’s where Vi Abernathy is at. Her sister died in infancy, leaving Vi with a life she dreams to escape after her family disowns her. Two different people on very different paths in life–until their sixteenth birthdays approach, when fate reveals just how much of a twist it has in store for them. Release Date: April 10th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

I actually had more titles lined up to show you guys, but figured since I’m so late as it is I’ll get these to you now. If you have any suggested books or books you’ve read this month you don’t see on the list comment them below! And, as always, feel free to talk to me anytime here or on twitter.

Gotta go. Sorry again for the lateness.

Kailey

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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.”

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

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!

Kailey

The Uncrossing – Review

Greetings all!

I hope everyone is enjoy this beautiful month. Or, surviving at least. This might end up being my last blog post if Net Neutrality gets repealed tomorrow. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. (Side note: I know this isn’t book-related but call your reps. Please. This is ridiculously important.)

Anyway. Onto my review.

So I really enjoyed reading The Uncrossing by Melissa Eastlake. I originally decided to read this as a comparison text for the Rapunzel tale type & my paper in my fairy tales and sexuality class. (It wasn’t as cool as it sounds but it was pretty cool.) I’m glad I chose this book to read.

A brief summary from Amazon:

“Luke can uncross almost any curse—they unravel themselves for him like no one else. So working for the Kovrovs, one of the families controlling all the magic in New York, is exciting and dangerous, especially when he encounters the first curse he can’t break. And it involves Jeremy, the beloved, sheltered prince of the Kovrov family—the one boy he absolutely shouldn’t be falling for.

Jeremy’s been in love with cocky, talented Luke since they were kids. But from their first kiss, something’s missing. Jeremy’s family keeps generations of deadly secrets, forcing him to choose between love and loyalty. As Luke fights to break the curse, a magical, citywide war starts crackling, and it’s tied to Jeremy.

This might be the one curse Luke can’t uncross. If true love’s kiss fails, what’s left for him and Jeremy?”

I thought the premise of the novel extremely intriguing. Male Rapunzel? Curses? Two lovable characters trying to make it work against the odds??? Give me ALL of this please. In spades.

I’m a sucker for this stuff, okay? I will not be ashamed.

The characters really made the story worth reading. This setting was good, the dialogue was decent, but the characters! They made the novel. Jeremy, in particular, was relatable and loving. He was layered in a way characters in retellings can sometimes . . . not be. He wasn’t always likable, and I really enjoyed that. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the guy. I related a lot to his emotions and his reactions. But authors can shy away from making their main characters truly unlikable in key moments.

I did have a couple of things I that disappointed me in the novel. First, I would’ve LOVED more from Luke’s sister, Camille. Camille was badass. She wasn’t a main character, so it makes sense that she wasn’t the focus. Still, I think we could’ve benefited a little bit more from more Camille. Second, there was quite a bit of ambiguity in places. Some moments weren’t explained very well, and there were certain world-building elements that I felt could’ve been laid out better.

Overall though, I had very few issues with the novel. I certainly enjoyed it quite a bit, and will no doubt end up re-reading it in the future. It was a really good read. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

I’d definitely recommend this one!

I’m off to read some more books. My goal to is to read another ten books before the year is over. Good thing I’m on winter break. Wish me luck!

Kailey

Top 10 Books of 2017 (So Far)

Hello all!

Now that the year is winding down and NaNoWriMo is complete (for me at least), I thought I’d post an update to my reading life.

Update: it’s been pretty quiet. I didn’t get to read too much this year, but what I have read I’ve enjoyed for the most part. So for everyone who is looking for a good book since November is ending or something to grab during the holidays (books make great gifts y’all!) I thought I’d provide a few of my favorites for the year so far.

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas If you haven’t read this book yet, do yourself a favor and go do it right this very second. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in my life. It cracked the top five, which is not actually easy to do. But there is a reason Angie Thomas is the Queen of YA. Do yourself a favor and read her book.

2. Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody Okay I dedicated multiple posts to my obsessive love of this book. If you didn’t expect to see it on this list you haven’t been paying attention very well.

3. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli This book has all the good things. I made me smile, laugh, and want to hug everyone SO MANY TIMES! I cannot express my love for this novel enough. If you loved Simon you’ll more than love Molly. (Which, if you didn’t love Simon, I’m not sure we can be friends)(Okay, we can be friends, but you have to re-read Simon VS and gush about it with me.)

4. Geekerella by Ashley Poston I actually didn’t really know about this book until recently. I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately, and saw it when I was shopping in B&N. I read the description and my inner fangirl went *squeeeeeeee* (no I really made that noise in the middle of Barnes & Noble). I didn’t buy it though until Thanksgiving night. I sat with my Kindle This was my surgery recovery read, and it did not disappoint. Cute and smart writing left me ready for more from these characters. No idea if there’s a sequel coming or not (the ending was wrapped up nicely) but I know I’ll be reaching for this one again in the future.

5. the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace Something most people don’t realize about me is that, in addition to YA & NA, I also write poetry. This is . . . fairly recent. I started working in the world of poetry my sophomore year of college (I graduate in May) and I’ve had the same professor voluntarily ever since. She made me go from hating poetry (and talking very loudly about it) to loving it and writing it. I owe this find to one of my best friends. She’d been looking for this for a while and picked this book up in a Target in Columbus, Ohio (we are not from Columbus just so you know)(we’re not even from Ohio we just spend a lot of time there for some reason). She opened Princess to a random page and the poem printed there hit home. I did the same to the only other copy on the shelf and BOOM same thing happened to me. Naturally we both bought it.

6. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas I know there’s quite a bit out there about how the queer rep in SJM’s books is not the best. I agree. I love her books, and her writing, but this is something that needs to be addressed. However, aside from that point, I loved ACOWAR. I never really got around to posting a review for it, but I thought it was a great ending to the trilogy, and was more than happy to spend the extra time in the world SJM has created. If you haven’t read ACOTAR or ACOMAF yet, you need to read them first for sure. But if you have the time and you love a good YA fantasy, this is a great novel.

7. Windwitch by Susan Dennard WHO HERE REMEMBERS MY FANGIRLING OVER THIS BOOK AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR? I think I scared away any readers after that. My opinions about this book are positive and happy even though there is so much angst (in the best way). It’s been a while since I’ve talked about it, but it’s one of my favorites of the year for sure. Would recommend 110%.

8. Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron Listen to me. LISTEN TO ME! This book. Is so good. Bisexual rep. Asexual rep. Intersex rep. Different settings. Vivid characters. Flowing plot lines. Familial ties. The importance of consent. A group of people who shouldn’t be able to survive in this harsh environment is going to do their damn best to do it. This book is one of the best I’ve read this year for sure. (Also the sequel comes out soon so if you’re looking for multiple holiday gifts here you go!)

9. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee Okay it counts if you’re currently reading it right? I’m saying yes. I’m in the middle of it right now, and I wish I currently had more time to devour this book (*shakes fist at final papers* curse you!). So far though it’s fantastic. I’m hoping I’ll get to finish it by the end of the year and reiterate that, times a thousand.

10. One Blood Ruby by Melissa Marr Y’all know I have a problem when it comes to fantasy. I guess it’s not really a problem exactly, but more of an all-encompassing love. And I really have a thing for fae. This sequel hit all the marks with me. I adored the first novel, and pretty much the same can be said of the second. Great book, by a great author. If you’re looking for something good this coming holiday season, I would recommend some Melissa Marr.

Now, keep in mind these are my favorites of the books I read this year. I have so many books that have been sitting on my shelf all year, and that stack just keeps piling up. Some books that I bought this year that I did not get to get to, but have, heard are fabulous, and am mad at myself for not getting to them sooner are:

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

27 Hours by Tristina Wright

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

There are probably so many more amazing books I’m missing. Please feel free to add your favorites of the year so far in the comments! It was not as heavy of a reading year as I had hoped, and a lot of these books are ones I intended to read right away, but just never got the chance to. This has been such a busy semester for me, and I wish I’d had more time to read, but sadly I did not. I’m aiming to remedy that after finals and over winter break.

I hope you like some (or all) of these titles! Again, feel free to comment some of your faves so far this year. I’d love to hear them.

Alright, I’m off for now. Sadly, not to read. Final papers & presentations abound in my apartment, and I must work on mine. Byeeeeeee!

Kailey

PS – the links I included are all to Amazon, but if see if your local indie bookstore has these books!

National Novel Writing Month 2017

Hi. Hello. Salutations my friends. Happy Halloween the 12th.

Yeah, I’m being weirder than usual. Sorry about that.

Today’s post is brought to you by a caffeine headache, my favorite hockey team failing at hockey, and staring at a project I haven’t touched in a year for an hour without typing a single word. These should help explain my scrambling.

Today I want to talk about NaNoWriMo. I did a post about it last year as well, but some things have changed. For starters, I know how hard it is to write a novel in a month now. (Confession: after I hit the 50k word limit last year I put the project away and haven’t touched it since. It’s still only 2/3 of the way done, almost a year later.)

Writing 50k words in 30 days sounds daunting on its own. Once you try it? You realize it’s beyond daunting. It’s horrible. And I’m not talking about the experience. I’m talking about “I actually wrote this? These are words that actually came from my brain and I thought they made sense? I thought this was good???”

My NaNo draft from last year needs a lot of work. And I’m not talking about just being unfinished. NaNoWriMo is tough, and requires a TON of editing after the fact, just like any other first draft.

So, I know what you’re thinking. “This is the part where she tells us she’s not doing it this year. It’s too hard to finish. She can’t do it. That’s what’s changed.”

Well, you would be WRONG.

I announced my NaNo novel two nights ago, and I’m nervous and unsure if I can really manage it this year, but I fully plan on participating. You can read all about the story I plan on writing here. (Also–be my friend! I need more writing buddies!)

Now I’ve probably confused you. “If she’s participating, what’s changed?”

I am SO glad you asked! I have a few things to say, along with some advice to go along with them.

  1. I am actually writing with a full outline this year. Yeah. I don’t recommend being me last year, only using a partial outline and hoping for the best. Really, it’s not smart. If you don’t like outlines, hey more power to you. I’ve been bitten in the butt too many times without one. I now require one before starting to write. But please, if you’re going to outline (and I recommend it) use a good one. Detail it. Have a plan. Trust me, you will thank yourself when you sit down to write your 1,300 words for the day.
  2. I will be working around a full schedule. Unlike last year, when I was mostly working around school, I’ll be doing Actual Adult Things in November (but also school). Between major papers, presenting at a conference, and other important obligations, I’m getting a taste of what a deadline looks like with a busy life. Which, this will hopefully be what my life looks like after college. So, I’m looking forward to working like this. Nervous, but it’s practice for the real world, so looking forward to it.
  3. I’m working in my comfort zone. Last year I tackled a multi-POV contemporary suspense (is that a thing? I’m saying it’s a thing). I’ve worked in dual POV before, but never more than that. My novel last year alternated between SIX points of view. Not to mention I’d never so much as touched a suspense plot before. This year I’m working with one point of view, in a genre I’ve worked with before. I’m always one for pushing the comfort zone and making yourself into a better writer, but when you’re hitting so many words in so little time, sticking to your comfort zone is not necessarily a bad thing. If you think you can handle it, then absolutely push your limits. But don’t push so far that you end up leaving the project in a folder for a year, not because you don’t love the idea, but because it’s just so bad and pushing yourself caused that.

Honestly, I love the idea of giving my inner editor time to rest. She is so overworked. Giving her this project off is something I am very much looking forward to doing.

If you want information about National Novel Writing Month go to their website! I hope to see all of you in my writing buddies list very soon.

Enjoy the rest of your Halloween the 12th!

Kailey

Daughter of the Burning City – Review!

Hey all! 

I feel like I always start these posts with “It’s been a while. That’s a theme I’m working on changing.” so I’m not doing that this time. I will tell you that I have some (super secret) plans, but for now you’ll have to accept this review as a start.

I have a few life things first I’d like to share with everyone. So I started my senior year of college(!) about a month ago. I’m doing some stuff to prepare for the final things I have to get done this semester and next. Working on some grad school applications. Prepping a paper to present at a conference in November. All the fun stuff, you know?

I haven’t been able to write much because of all this. Or read much, sadly. BUT two nights ago I FINALLY finished DOTBC and I’m so ready to tell you guys all about it!

Let’s do this.

From Amazon:

A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires 

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show. 

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered. 

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca. Their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all her loved ones disappear.”

Back in July I made a post with Amanda Foody about why you should read this book. Now that I HAVE read this book, I’m going to tell you guys again: you need to read this book.

Okay, obviously you don’t need to do anything. But I highly recommend you read this book. Here’s some reasons why:

1. The plot will keep you guessing.
If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you know my absolute adoration for a good plot twist. Don’t give me obvious ones. Don’t do it. I will hate it. I did not hate these.
Sorina’s investigations into the murders of her family is one that has a lot of potential suspects. The way she goes about identifying people, and the lengths she’s willing to go to to protect them are unsurprising. She has a lot of love for her illusions, her family, and there’s not much she isn’t willing to give up to keep them safe. 

2. The characters are my loves. Again, if you’ve read my previous reviews, you know I want my characters layered. I love a good, complex character who doesn’t always fit with what we would consider the norm.
Sorina is The Girl Who Can See Without Eyes. She can be selfish and stubborn, indecisive and frustrating, and will do anything to protect her family, even when “anything” isn’t always the best course of action. So, naturally, I think she’s amazing. She’s also bisexual. But that’s a later point.
Her illusions are all complicated individuals as well. Despite being created by Sorina for her company, they all have distinct personalities and don’t necessarily mesh well with her. They’re vividly described and each have their own lives. When it comes to characters that aren’t exactly “real” this can be difficult to convey, because you’re trying to balance the idea of a “real” person with that of an “imaginary” one. Lines can become blurry and authors might slip into language that clearly shows “these are not real people don’t forget that” (not that all authors do this. Most don’t. But it’s very easy to slip into that language unconsciously). We never really forget that Sorina’s family were created, not born, but we don’t care about that. They appeal to us as people because they are just as lively as the “real” humans are. Sometimes even more so.

I will not say anything about Luca other than he is very special to me, as he reminds me a bit of a close friend of mine. Luca must be protected at all times. Unless you want to slap him for being an ass, which he can be. Then by all means please slap him.

3. It’s set in a traveling circus. The coolest one too. It’s a pretty badass place to grow up and, honestly, I would’ve loved to see more of it. We’re given pretty good descriptions of a few different places in the Gomorrah Festival, but one thing I wish we could’ve gotten some more of was the darker part of the city. I want to be transported there when I read–and for the most part I was–but I would’ve liked just a little more. Still, it’s a setting I loved and I think most readers will adore as well. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of it in the future . . .

4. The diversity is EVERYTHING. We get characters of different racial backgrounds, diversity in appearance and ability, and so much LGBTQIA+ rep my heart was full.

Take Sorina, for example. She’s a Down-Mountainer by birth and was a slave as a child. She’s described as having distinguishing features (no not just her lack of eyes) and isn’t looked down upon by her fellow performers because of it. The festival is full of people from all backgrounds. It’s the Up-Mountainers you’ve got to look out for.

You’ve also got your lovely, lovely LGBTQIA+ rep. Sorina is bisexual. Nicoleta is a lesbian. Luca is, from my reading, demi-sexual and demi-romantic, putting him in the Ace spectrum. Villiam, again from my reading, is aromantic and asexual. Let’s just take a second to appreciate this, okay? Let’s just take one moment to take a deep breath and enjoy this rep.

Did you do it? I did.

5. The overall role of religion. This. Was. Fantastic. I don’t want to get into too much detail here because this is something I think you guys should read for yourselves. But it’s worth mentioning because it plays a HUGE role in the background of the world. Religion and religious fanatics are painted in a way that a lot of us can recognize. It’ll be familiar territory for some, and eye-opening for others. But I think the choice to have it be so prominent in this world Foody has created is ultimately a well-done and slightly twisted (in the best way) one.

So basically what I’m trying to say here is that I really loved this book. I think it was well-written, full of diverse characters, and a fantastic debut. I gave it a 5/5 on Goodreads and I’m fully recommending you guys get this book. From your library, from a bookstore, from a friend, whatever you want! But I really think this is worth the read.

I have free time for the next few days, so I’m off to do a little more reading. Hope this was helpful!

Kailey