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!



March Releases

Hey all!

I hope y’all enjoyed my Sightwitch review earlier this week (last week? I don’t know. Depends on when you consider the week to start). I also recently finished People Like Us by Dana Mele and will hopefully have that review for you soon. I will say I recommend both books!

Of course, the reason I’m writing this post is not to remind you that I post book reviews (but hey here and here are the reviews I posted before Sightwitch if you want to maybe check them out)(side note I will be posting more writing content soon I swear). The reason I’m writing this is because it is time for . . .


Was that showing proper excitement? That’s about right for how I feel. I know I’m four days late (and I suck) but this is a good book month. I’m so serious. There are some killer books coming out this month you guys. I am so excited to tell you all about them!! Starting now.

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough A YA Historical novel in verse inspired by the life and trials of famous painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Set in Rome in 1610, the young woman faces a choice after she is raped: she can keep quiet or speak up, consequences be damned. Release Date: March 6th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi A YA Fantasy debut about Orïsha, a land formerly filled with magic, and Zélie, the girl who is going to bring it all back. She is determined to overthrow the monarchy that ordered magi like her mother murdered. But she only has one shot and doesn’t need growing feelings getting in the way of taking it. Release Date: March 6th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles A YA Contemporary about Marvin, a young boy whose brother Tyler went to a party and then promptly went missing. A video later surfaces that shows Tyler was killed by a police officer after they’d raided the party he was at. Now Marvin needs to learn how to cope with this loss while watching his brother turn into a symbol. Release Date: March 20th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X. R. Pan When Leigh’s mother committed suicide, she’s absolutely certain that she turned into a bird. This YA Contemporary follows her on her journey to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents and find her mother, the bird. Along the way she must learn how to cope with her loss and forge new relationships. Release Date: March 20th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

the witch doesn’t burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace This book of poetry is the second in the “women are some kind of magic series”. Lovelace explores what it means to be a powerful woman and how they are often demonized, but not here. She creates empowering and vividly bold poems that her readers can relate to in countless ways. Release Date: March 6th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Nothing Left to Burn by Heather Ezell A YA Contemporary spanning the course of an action-packed 24 hours. Sixteen-year-old Audrey is forced to evacuate her home after the wildfires sweeping through California get too close. While trying to come to terms with potentially losing her family home, she also has to deal with Brooks, the volunteer firefighter who may have a darker past than he initially let on. Release Date: March 13th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter A YA Contemporary about Maddie, daughter to a secret service agent and formerly the president’s son’s best friend. But after six years in the Alaskan wilderness, she’s not too concerned about him anymore. Until he shows up, and brings trouble right to her door. She wants to kill him, but when he gets kidnapped, it looks like she’ll have to save him first. Release Date: March 27th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

The Beauty that Remains by Ashley Woodfolk A YA Contemporary that follows Autumn, Shay, and Logan as they each watch their lives unexpectedly crumble around them. Music is just not enough anymore, until they can come back together as a band and see that sometimes when the smoke clears there is beauty left behind. Release Date: March 6th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo A YA Fantasy about Lira, a deadly siren princess who collects the hearts of princes. When she’s forced to kill one of her own, though, her mother the Sea Queen forces her to live as a human. The only way to return to her home is to bring her mother the heart of Prince Elain by the winter solstice. But Prince Elain is determined to wipe out the sirens, and with Lira’s promised help he can. Too bad he doesn’t trust her. Release Date: March 6th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon This YA Historical retelling of Oliver Twist follows Olivia Brownlow, formerly raised among London’s street gangs but now a high society debutante who can’t seem to forget her past–or the people still living like she did. Enter Jack MacCarron, the “nephew” of a high society woman who is helping her rob people blind. He can’t seem to figure out why Olivia looks so familiar, but he wants to. And he’s willing to go pretty far to find out. Release Date: March 6th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir A YA Sci-Fi about Leo and Naomi, two very different people who were both chosen to attend International Space Training Camp after climate change has ravaged the earth. Leo wants is to help save humankind after he lost his family to the floods in Rome. Naomi wants to find out what the ISTC is hiding. They form a friendship, but among the 24 teens present, only six can make it to the end. Release Date: March 6th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw Every summer, the ghosts of three murdered sisters rise up and claim the bodies of weak-hearted girls in order to drown local boys for revenge for their deaths. Penny Talbot knows this, and accepts it, until Bo Carter arrives. Now she’s got a choice to make–save herself, or save him. YA Fantasy. Release Date: March 6th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo In this YA novel in verse, Xiomara Batista pours everything she has into her poetry. But she can never let anyone know. When she’s invited to perform at her school’s slam poetry club, she can’t think about anything else. And maybe this time she’s done keeping her thoughts to herself. Release Date: March 6th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

The Midnights by Sara Nicole Smetana A YA Contemporary about Susannah, who just wants to follow in her rock star father’s footsteps. But when he dies unexpectedly, it destroys her. In the aftermath, her mother moves them to a new city, where she reinvents herself and leaves the past in the past. But her secrets might catch up with her, and she’s not the only one keeping them. Release Date: March 6th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau This YA Contemporary features an eclectic cast of characters who are thrown together by extreme circumstances–namely a bomb. Now they’re trapped in a school together trying to find out who the bomber is, and looking at each other for answers. Release Date: March 13th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Honor Code by Kiersi Burkhart This YA Contemporary follows Sam as she excitedly navigates Edwards Academy–only to learn there’s more than a little hazing involved with being a new student. And when she’s paired with an older student and something happens, she’s forced to figure out if the future she’s always dreamed of is worth keeping her mouth shut and losing the justice she deserves. Release Date: March 1st (already out!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

A Kiss in the Dark by Gina Ciocca When the lights go out at her high school’s football game, Macy finds herself on the receiving end of a kiss. When the lights come back on, though, the kisser is gone. Still, Macy thinks there’s something familiar about the kisser. Trying to figure out just who this guy is leads to the reopening of some old wounds. And all to find out that her mystery kisser might not be the same person she’s falling for in the light of day. YA Contemporary. Release Date: March 6th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner In this YA Contemporary Cameron just wants to perfect her costume portfolio and get into the CalTech costume department. Once her cosplay starts getting her attention, she’s forced to disguise herself as a boy to work in the local comic book shop. But it’s hard to keep up once she joins a D&D campaign, and it’s even harder when she starts to get feelings for one of the other players. Release Date: March 13th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Reflection: A Twisted Tale by Elizabeth Yim When Captain Shang is taken to the Underworld after being wounded in battle, Mulan travels down to find him. King Yama isn’t so quick to give him up, though. Now Mulan, disguised as Ping, must scour the Underworld in search of him. And when she finds him, she must decide if she should tell him the truth about her identity. If she finds him. A YA Fantasy retelling. Release Date: March 27th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

March 6th and March 20th are going to be busy days, just saying. Also, I did warn you guys that March was going to be a longer post. There are just a lot of good books coming out this month you guys. WARNING: A LOT OF THESE DEAL WITH SENSITIVE CONTENT AND I WOULD CHECK FOR TRIGGER WARNINGS BEFORE READING. I won’t be able to read any of them until later this week (thanks midterms) but if you read any of them comment your thoughts! Or come talk to me on twitter!

Alright, sadly I have to go. Studying waits for no one and my Greek midterm is not going to go well unless I actually, you know, look at the Greek. Bye!


3/21/18 UPDATE: I have removed Miles Away From You from this list due to harmful content as explained in my review. My deepest and most sincere apologies for its placement here in the first place.

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!


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!


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!


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!