Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (#16): Books With Sensory Memories

 Happy Tuesday, everyone!

For those of you who are new to my blog, or the book blogging community, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Artsy Reader Girl, originating over at the Broke and the Bookish, and is exactly what its title hints at. Each week we're given a topic to explore in our entries. This week's prompt was one that definitely stood out to me--Books With Sensory Memories.

Memory is a very complicated thing, which is what most intrigued me about this topic.

Do I remember the outfit I wore on my first day of Kindergarten? Yes. Do I remember what I had for lunch two days ago? Not at all. The easiest memories for me to hold onto or identify are typically one with music and literature.

If they involve one of these things, I have an easier time remembering.

Let's do this!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert | Rating:  ★★★★☆

“Everyone is supposed to be a combination of nature and nurture, their true selves shaped by years of friends and fights and parents and dreams and things you did too young and things you overheard that you shouldn’t have and secrets you kept or couldn’t and regrets and victories and quiet prides, all the packed-together detritus that becomes what you call your life.” 

Wow, this book was breath-taking and full of so much darkness and whimsy. Going into The Hazel Wood was one of those blind experiences. I'd heard good and bad things about the book, virtually no inbetweens. The hype was there and so, too, was the negativity. But, I managed to avoid actual spoilers and even in depth explanations of what its plot actually was. I think this fact may be what made the contents of The Hazel Wood so effective and absorbing--me, going into it with so little knowledge as to what it was truly about.

What's certain is that Melissa Albert crafted something so darkly fascinating, it appealed to all of my senses and hit so many of the right marks. I love stories like this, so it's only natural that I was a fan of Albert's mysterious fairy-tale world. I can think of two recent releases that had the same ambition and effects on readers: Splintered by A.G. Howard and Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I believe that fans of the two previously mentioned series will flock to The Hazel Wood, as it features the same sort of darkness tangled with whimsical fantasy.

Review: I Hope My Voice Doesn't Skip by Alicia Cook

I Hope My Voice Doesn't Skip by Alicia Cook |  Rating: ★★★★★

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

I've said it once, I'll say it a billion times: Alicia Cook is one of the best voices in modern poetry. She never fails in moving me with simple prose and the ties between her poems and music make reading her work an even better experience. I Hope My Voice Doesn't Skip had a lot to live up to. Alicia Cook's first published collection, Stuff I've Been Feeling Lately, was/is one of my all-time favourite releases in poetry.

Cook has a way about her prose that feels so alight with everything that makes us human. There's strength and vulnerability. There's loss and love. Everything that a person can feel. My favourite part about Stuff I've Been Feeling Lately was its connection to music; the intimacy behind a poet's words is not unlike the expressions musicians use in their lyrics. I've always had this theory that the quickest way to knowing a person's soul is in the music they adore. So many of us find ourselves in music and poetry and Alicia Cook captures the essence of that statement beautifully. We know what Cook allows us, as readers, to know--both in her prose and in the music listed in every poem.

Review: Sisters' Entrance by Emtithal Mahmoud

Sisters' Entrance by Emtithal Mahmoud | Rating: ★★★★★

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Sisters' Entrance is a modern, poetic triumph. Simply breathtaking. Where to begin, where to begin, where to begin? I could not put down this collection by beloved slam-poet Emtithal Mahmoud. I just couldn't. Sisters' Entrance is packed with honest topics, expression and a voice that demands to be heard--and so many of us are listening. If you're looking for prose to move you, prose you feel aching in your bones for weeks after reading, this is the collection for you.

It's brutally honest. Thought-provoking. Every word hits you differently. Mahmoud has a voice unlike many in modern poetry and there's something utterly stunning about it. Sisters' Entrance reads like all good poetry should--with feeling, with intimacy, with connection. It is one of the best releases this year, both in poetry and in literature as a general scene.

Review: Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

After reading Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren last summer, I have to admit, I was curious about the rest of their publications. Imagine my surprise upon realizing that I had read Beautiful Bastard, the first of their highly popular series, in its original form: Twilight fanfiction sensation The Office. It's no secret that my mid-to-late teenage years were spent tucked between the pages of books like Gossip Girl, Harry Potter and Twilight, and that I read basically every fanfiction set in one of those worlds I could get my hands on. My motto, back in the day? The smuttier, the better.

Teenage hormones are fun! Not. But, in all seriousness, I am stunned. Beautiful Bastard marks the third or fourth Twilight-based FF that I obsessed over in high school to be published. Which is thrilling in its own right, even if the finished product isn't adult!me's cup of tea. While I have only the fondest of memories of this book's original form, and it was thrilling to see the author's success in mainstream publishing, Beautiful Bastard just didn't work for me as its own book.

What made it work as a smutty fanfiction, was that we didn't need a full-blown plotline to enjoy its massively steamy love scenes. We knew the characters to a degree already. It was pure smut and pure smut leads to no substance. Beautiful Bastard desperately needed something to add to it, however, because in this form we are unfamiliar with its characters and they end up feeling like they are just... there.

Review: Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

 “Women have to live so much of their life in the in-betweens.” 

In case you didn't know: Megan Abbott is one of my all-time favourite authors. I adore her prose so much and the way she is able to portray the complexities of humanity and the relationships between women. It's fairly obvious why I'd been looking forward to Give Me Your Hand since it was announced. Abbott could write out the contents of a phone-book from 1975 and I'd be pretty much guaranteed to admire it. There is no other author out there like her and very few authors have made me feel to the degree that she has in prior releases.

Give Me Your Hand had a simple enough premise to it. As per usual, it followed the friendship between two young women. Armed with her brutal honesty and frank under-standing of being women, and the all-consuming friend-ships that can bloom in our youth, Abbott compels her audience into a chilling sort of captivation. While Give Me Your Hand is a solid release, and has its fair share of stellar moments, it is far from her best novel. There were moments where it seemed to pause and lack growth; perhaps this is due to its topic nature and inclusion of science (something I was never altogether great with in the past) and more of a personal preference.

Review: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty | Rating: ★★★★☆

“It’s because a woman’s entire self-worth rests on her looks,” said Jane. “That’s why. It’s because we live in a beauty-obsessed society where the most important thing a woman can do is make herself attractive to men.”

Big Little Lies is an impossible to put down read. An indulgent thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. A stylish tale of mystery that centers around friendships between women and the woes of motherhood. It is purely fun and intriguing, while still being thought-provoking on occasion. And it reminds us that we don't always know what is happening in the homes of our friends.

Liane Moriarty's writing is smooth, honest and to the point. It's not overly sweet, but it's not overly serious. Big Little Lies takes place in a standard setting, exploring various topics and friendships, but maintains this feeling of being in the gray area in life. I liked the overall tone of the novel, because it's reminiscent of real life while still holding onto that indulgent tone I mentioned earlier; Moriarty portrays the relationship between a group of women, who's children all go to the same school. In many ways, Moriarty zeroes in on the complications of adulthood friendships and how they can, at times, be as youthfully mysterious as the ones that their children are forming at school.

Review: Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage | Rating: ★★★☆☆

As a note, a physical copy of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.  

Wow. Where to begin with this novel? I've been trying to gather my thoughts on it for nearly a week. I guess the first word that comes to mind is: WILD. I can honestly say that I've never read a thriller quite like Baby Teeth. The only problem is, I can't figure out if that's a good or a bad thing. My mind was unable to process fully what was happening sometimes--I had so many questions and so many more theories. The term mind f*ck was essentially made for books like Baby Teeth--and I mean that.

Unexpected, and confusing, as many parts of Baby Teeth were, there was also a familiarity of the novel. It's not as if we've never read a book where a child is so... troubled. I can name a few characters similar to young Hanna. What makes Zoje Stage's work standout is not because of the various parallels between this book and others, it's the way that she executes every plot turn in Baby Teeth. I found myself disturbed and chilled during many moments and the narration of Hanna was a real treat--because it made me feel A LOT. How can a child's mind be so dark? I was shocked. There was that childlike naivity that you'd expect of someone her age, but then she'd turn the reader around and frighten you.

Review: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote | Rating: ★★★★☆

“Once a thing is set to happen, all you can do is hope it won't. Or will-depending. As long as you live, there’s always something waiting, and even if it’s bad, and you know it's bad, what can you do? You can’t stop living.” 

If you were to ask any reader of True Crime, a good portion of them would tell you that the first book they ever read in the genre would be In Cold Blood. Artful and chilling, it is easy to see why Truman Capote's novel shaped the way we, as readers, explore non-fiction. In Cold Blood is a classic for many reasons--viewed as the original True Crime novel--but it is not without its very obvious flaws. Like many readers, I got my start in True Crime with this book.

In this regard, In Cold Blood will always have a special place in my heart. I remember the first time I read it, a way to pass the time during a three-hour detention in high school. At the time, I wasn't much of a classic literature reader--but I had recently picked up an interest in Capote's prose due to my having read Breakfast at Tiffany's earlier that year. Something about Capote compelled me from the get-go and In Cold Blood really stuck with me. The way that he wrote the novel was stunning and full of something I, even now, can't put my finger on.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton | Rating: ★★★★★

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Edelweiss by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way. 

If you loved the hilarity that was My Lady Jane, the first installment of The Lady Janies, you're going to adore stepping into this quirky and utterly charming retelling of beloved classic Jane Eyre. While retellings can be tricky to both navigate and get into, the authors behind My Lady Jane move effortlessly and humorously through the story of this particular Jane.

They already established their humorous prose previously ad My Plain Jane solidifies their comedic timing. They, in short, work together beautifully. What I liked most about My Plain Jane is the fact that it weaves together may familiar aspects of the original story, and the face behind it,  and turning it into something new. The one thing readers should do while picking up My Plain Jane? Not take it too seriously and just roll with the punches--you'll automatically have a good time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (#15): Best of 2018 So Far

Happy Tuesday, everyone! You know what that means! Time for this week's Top Ten Tuesday entry.

I am super excited for this weeks theme--BEST OF 2018, SO FAR! Colour me stoked. For those of you who are new to my blog, or the book blogging community, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Artsy Reader Girl, originating over at the Broke and the Bookish, and is exactly what its title hints at.

Each week, we receive a new topic to discuss on Tuesdays. It serves as a fun way to get to know one another in the book blogging community and is by far one of my favourite parts about blogging.

This year has been an incredible year for literature once more and so many books have hit the right spot for me. Narrowing down the list to ten was quite difficult, but I put on my big girl pants; chugged a massive cup of coffee and managed to pick ten of my favourites in between my rereading of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Review: A Dark Eternity by Nissa Leder

A Dark Eternity by Nissa Leder | Rating: ★★★★★

As a note, a copy of this novel was sent to me by the author in exchange for my review. This does not effect my opinion.

Holy crap, you guys. This. Book. Was. Wild. Although, if you've read the explosive, fantastical Whims of Fae series you know that everything usually is. A Dark Eternity was so brilliant, fast paced and thrilling, I almost couldn't catch my breath. Describing it one word? Fiery. Once again, Nissa Leder enthralled from the first chapter and as the story unraveled, the more wrapped up in the story I became. (Insert obligatory: hello, hey, hi, Nissa Leder is SO UNDERRATED, buy her work, remark here.)

Also, can we take a moment to swoon over the delicious makeover the cover art was given recently? I'm still not over how beautiful they are. Can I marry a book based on its cover-art? And, *Magnus Bane voice* I'm back. Got a little distracted looking at its cover, again. Word of advice? Add pretty cover art to your review after writing it, or else you'll* get too distracted.

*Just me? 

Anyways, where to begin with A Dark Eternity? First of all: this series just keeps getting better and I am probably forever yelling about how good it is. I felt like, after the previous books conclusion, this was going to be darker than the first three books and I was totally right. It has such a fitting name. So. Much. Has. Happened. So much will continue to happen. Scarlett's world, and powers, keep getting bigger and honestly? I am here for it.

Review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo | Rating: ★★★★★

“You can always control how hard you fight.” 

YOU GUYS, HELP! This book was so cute. I've fallen. How can something be so freaking cute? Not only is the cover-art dreamy, I Believe in a Thing Called Love is, too. And it's definitely one of my favourite contemporary releases since To All the Boys I've Loved Before, You Know Me Well and Anna and the French Kiss. Needless to say, if you are a fan of any of the others who penned the above releases: you NEED to pick up this book.

First things first--I have only watched one K-drama in my life (entirely because most days I cannot for the life of me sit still during television or films, for whatever reason) but I definitely see the appeal. Once you get roped into something, you're glued--and that's exactly how to describe Desi's love of K-dramas. And this little attachment (see: addiction) of hers sparks some massive changes in her life--I.E., a list of ways to snag the cute boy she has her eyes on, that may only be better in theory. Desi is willing to take that risk, as her love life up to this point was non-existent.

You see, Desi is not just bad at love, she is practically hopeless when it comes to flirting with anyone. It's so endearing and definitely something anyone can relate to--if you've dated someone or had a simple crush, it is likely that you've had embarrassing moments.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Review: The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar

The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

“Nobody ever feels just one way about another person, Margo. We're so much more complicated than that. I can see a million things you want from me, just like the million things I want from you. Some of them are wonderful. Some are awful. Some contradict each other, and some don't make sense at all. But none of those things matter, not really. What matters is what you do about them.” 

A while back, I picked up The Art of Wishing on a whim. I remember thinking that there weren't many books that were similar to it on the YA market. The entire concept just intrigued me. Alas, I put it on my shelves only to waste a few years in not reading it and somehow forgot I owned it. Picture this: I'm cleaning, organizing my stuff one day and suddenly it falls at me. Smacks me right in the face.

We exchanged a few words. By that I mean, I grumbled under my breathe. I was bitter for a hot minute. For some reason, it dawned on me then that I should finally read it. All it took was some persuasion on its part, aka trying to start a literature brawl with me, and I decided, "Who needs to clean when there's a book I haven't read."

So, I sat down. Opened it up. And devoured it.

Review: That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel by Adrienne Vaughan | Rating: ★★★★☆
 
As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

There was something very striking about That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel. Something that I can't find a way to describe. You grow invested in this book and in the character development; the way that Vaughan's prose curls around you. I wasn't sure what to expect from the novel and requested it on a limb, but I'm glad that I did.

Is That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel anything new to literature? Yes, no. There are a lot of common tropes to be spotted in the novel but the way that Vaughan tells the story--splits the narration, ties everything together--is an absolute delight. She hooks you and suddenly, you're lost to the words. In short: she makes tired plotlines new again.

That Summer at the Seahorse Hotel is many things, including passionate and just a little mysterious. Its vivid descriptions and settings make for a great backdrop; seemingly come to life before your eyes. Vaughan also creates an interesting cast of characters that don't just exist for the sake of existing--they are actually developed and intriguing to readers as they get to know them more and more.

Review: She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell

She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell | Rating: ★★★☆☆
 
As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

There was a moment when I hesitated in picking this up. She Was the Quiet One had such an intriguing premise, but I haven't had the best luck when it came to stories of fictional twins lately. Then, there's the spoiled-angsty-rich-teenagers-at-boarding-school trope that I burned myself out on well over a decade ago but somehow can't resist it if it looks my way. As far as I was concerned, it could only go one of two ways: REALLY, really well or horribly wrong.

Somehow, She Was the Quiet One landed in the middle for me. I didn't hate it. I enjoyed it and found the way that Campbell told the story to be intriguing. In-fact, I read it in mostly one sitting because even in the weaker spots I couldn't put the novel down.

The weak parts aren't worth mentioning beyond me saying that there were some things that didn't feel essential to the book and there were a couple of moments that I caught myself wondering if there was something missing in the layers. Tucked away where I couldn't find them.

Review: All That's Left of Me by Janis Thomas

All That's Left of Me by Janis Thomas | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

It took me ages to finish this book and even longer to actually commit to writing the review. Mostly, because All That's Left of Me wasn't exactly my cup of tea. Which isn't to say that it was a bad book--there was simply a bit of a disconnect when it came to my reactions to the novel itself. I found that I neither loved nor hated the book and that while the premise was intriguing, something about the execution of it just didn't fit.

Not my personal preferences, anyways. All That's Left of Me certainly will find an audience that adores it. It has an utterly mysterious air to it that will surely compel others. I do believe that. I am also going to say that it reminded me of a few other stories that I'd read in the past, only more... I want to say, rushed.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Review: The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan

The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan | Rating: ★★★☆☆
 
As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

The Art of Escaping was a very promising release from the start. While I can't say that I loved every little thing about the novel itself, and it had some moments that rubbed me the wrong way, it was still quite enjoyable and I appreciate it for what it accomplishes. Plus, the underlying message behind it--about high school life, escaping the ordinary life we all have to eventually face--is something anyone can relate to.

Something that is essential to YA is that the characters be obtainable and Callahan crafts a set of characters that is easy to connect with at any age. Even if you don't relate to their reasoning, you can certainly relate to their desires to escape and not face certain things just yet. I was the same way as a teenage and find myself even now in my 20s looking for ways to just... avoid. The Art of Escaping is universal in many ways.

Review: The Chateau (The Original Sinners, #9) by Tiffany Reisz

The Chateau by Tiffany Reisz | ★★★★☆ (4.5)
  
As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Does anyone else have that compulsive need to get their hands on literally everything that Tiffany Reisz has ever, and will ever, publish? Because, hello, I totally do. With good reason--everything she touches catches fire by mere paragraphs, let's be honest. The Chateau proves this and reminds us that she is pretty much on another level when compared to her peers.

First things first: if you haven't read The Original Sinners yet, you probably should. It's such a great series. Fiery, well written, everything that another similar series could never be, blah-blah-blah. Normally, I'd ask why you have not read it, yet, but we're all friends here and I'm just going to gently nudge you in her direction. That being said, even if you haven't read the series yet, you could start with The Chateau, as it is a standalone. And a damn good introduction to all that the series, and Reisz, is.

As far as erotica goes, my experience has been pretty abysmal until Tiffany Reisz showed me that the genre has an entirely different level to it than I realized. Her work is truly brilliant. Not only is it as wonderfully written and developed as usual, there's more than just a sexy edge to it and it gives us some insight further into the series as longtime readers know it.

Review: Whisper by Lynette Noni

Whisper by Lynette Noni | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

To be honest, I did a Very Bad Literature Lover Thing when I requested Whisper. I, wait for it, didn't read the synopsis and only was intrigued by the cover. I know, I know, bad. Should I ground myself, now or later? Don't worry, I'll ground myself after the review. Double honest moment: I'm glad I judged the book by its cover because I found Whisper to be intriguing and read it in one sitting.

I love (love, love, love!) Sci-Fi as a genre but I do struggle with it when it comes to the YA exploration of it. Most of the time, books in the genre just fall flat and don't reach my expectations. Lynette Noni's writing is just fun and purely so--it has that can't-put-down quality to it that we all crave when it comes to literature. What I liked most about her writing was the unexpectedness. After I lit a fire under myself and did read the synopsis, I was skeptical of Whisper--it sounded like so many other YA science fiction releases and I was like, "Oh. Great." And then Noni hit me upside the head with some sort of magic and I was like, okay, fair.

Review: It Ends with Her by Brianna Labuskes

It Ends with Her by Brianna Labuskes | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

I really enjoyed this book for many reasons. While it wasn't my favourite release of the year and it had its share of flaws, It Ends with Her was quite the ride and not at all what I was expecting. I've been recently expanded my shelves when it comes to thrillers/mysteries and one thing I've been aching for is more stories that center around F.B.I. agents and cases that consume them. Maybe it is because of the way my mind works--if I were in their shoes, trying to solve a case, it would haunt me until I finish.

I always look for characters that are as such. They are the ones that appeal to me most. All the complexities. The determination. The resourcefulness--they have to have these traits in order for me to read them for one reason or another. While I had my reservations when it came to Labuskes' book, I found myself feeling quite differently about it than I thought I might. So, of course, this was a pleasant surprise.

The main-main character, Clarke, is the type of character I appreciate in the genre. I say main-main character like that's a logical description--It Ends with Her actually features multiple POV and one of them is the serial killer, Simon, but I definitely consider Clarke to be the main character of the two big ones.

Review: The Good Twin by Marti Green

The Good Twin by Marti Green | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way. 

It wasn't that I didn't enjoy The Good Twin by Marti Green even a little bit. Or rather, that I didn't enjoy the writing: there were many positive elements to the book and its prose. As far as thrillers go, it was solid. Not the best, not the worst I'd ever read.

The problem with it--for me, personally--was that it didn't necessarily compel me to read it and stick with it for long periods of time. What I look for in a thriller is simple: something that I am unable to put down, something that makes my skin prickle in a nervous sort of tension. The Good Twin, although intriguing at times both in concept and plot, just wasn't one of those that caters to my personal taste. 

In all honesty, I had this aching familiarity with it. This could be solely because of my standard reading habits--I do love a good thriller and appreciate the trope of good twin vs. bad twin--but it wasn't something I could just shake off. This did not endear me to it and made reading The Good Twin to be almost tedious, which is an injustice against the author's writing. I do hate to say anything against Green's prose because while the story itself wasn't for me, the writing was not bad in the least.

Review: Here Kitty Kitty by Jardine Libaire

Here Kitty Kitty by Jardine Libaire | ★★☆☆☆

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Part of me truly expected to love this for nostalgic reasons. That sounds a bit odd considering the contents of Here Kitty Kitty but hear me out--I used to read a lot of books like this. Some good, some bad. At the end of winter, just a few weeks before spring every year, I get into this reading mood where I want to read books that feel like what I once adored. Last year brought me quite a few new books that somehow felt fresh and familiar all at once, so I had high hopes for this book.

When I saw Here Kitty Kitty's synopsis, I thought: yes, this is like an out-of-control adult version of Gossip Girl that I must read. Plus, I really liked the general party girl Polaroid vibe that the cover art gives off. I was like, okay, sign me up--STAT! Ultimately, I found the book to be difficult to get into and while many books share a similar plot to them, this one felt way too familiar to dozens of books and not in a good way. In short, it was repetitive and I almost didn't finish it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Review: Glass Girl. by Jessyca Thibault

Glass Girl. by Jessyca Thibault | Rating: ★★★★★

"Depression is like a fog / No one can see what you're really going through / When you're inside it / And you can't find the end."

This was just beautiful. Breathtakingly so. So purely honest. I positively adored Glass Girl., but that will come as no surprise to any of you, right? You already know that Jessyca Thibault is the queen when it comes to absolutely flawless taste in lipstick, literature/poetry, tattoos and music. It's a no brainer. Sky is blue, grass is green, Jessyca Thibault writes fantastic poetry and has rockin' taste.

Seriously: have you seen her Instagram? Swoon. Talk about goals. But that's not what this review is about. If there is one thing we've learned about Thibault in her debut Doll Eyes., it's that she's got soul and that soul has a story to tell. While Doll Eyes. and Glass Girl. have a seemingly similar tone to them, each showcase a different fragment of her story to tell; two different relationships, two degrees of struggle and Thibault bares it all in her prose for her readers.

I've always said that the makings of a poet are complex: they have to be fearful and fearless, they have to be complex and narrate those complexities in simple tones. What makes a poet is their ability to look at their own demons and to write them down no matter the outcome. They look into what it is that makes them tick and they embrace us in some kind of intimacy.

Review: The Balles by Dhonielle Clayton

The Belles (The Belles, #1) by Dhonielle Clayton | ★★★★☆ (4.5)

“Dreams remind us of who we are and how we feel about the things around us.”

The Belles was one of my most anticipated YA releases of 2018 and with good reason: it sounded unlike anything I've ever read in the genre. And, through the years, I've read a lot of YA--so it's always nice to stumble upon something new. Plus, the lack of diversity is such a large problem in the community and The Belles promises to be more so.

Before I get started on my thoughts, I'll be level with you straightaway: I went into this book with no knowledge regarding the bury-your-gays trope used in it. I hope I didn't butcher what it's widely called because I suck at terms when it comes to tropes in anything. Finding this out, while reading it, really did sting and brought downy my rating a notch for obvious reasons. The Belles let me down in only two ways. the use of that trope and the lack of worldbuilding to a specific degree; only one of these can be ignored fully and I'm not going to hold the lesser note against Clayton.

While I was reading The Belles, I was struck by two things: the plotline is utterly unique (to me) but I felt very familiar while reading it. Dhonielle Clayton's story and prose are undeniably hers alone, and should be applauded, however, I felt similarly to how I felt whilst reading The Selection by Kiera Cass and The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz.

Review: Light Filters In by Caroline Kaufman

Light Filters In by Caroline Kaufman | Rating: ★★★★★

“It's okay if some things
are always out of reach.
If you could carry all the stars
in the palm of your hand,
they wouldn't be
half as breathtaking” 


This is one of the most promising debuts in modern poetry. Light Filters In showcases a wise, and still vulnerable and young, prose. Kaufman's honesty is a breath held in the dark, those few moments before you step out into the light. You read Light Filters In and it feels universally true and complex. Part of you feels the heaviness that is behind it at moments, the other part of you feels intertwined with each and every line. Although Kaufman is young in comparison to her counterparts, she fits in perfectly.

Not only will fans of Rupi Kaur, Amanda Lovelace and Alicia Cook love this debut, Caroline Kaufman will likely carve out a place all her own in modern poetry. Whether readers know her from her wildly popular words scattered upon social media or are only discovering her for the first time in print, she will be the voice of her generation and connect them to prose.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (#14): Books With Red, White and Blue Covers

I'm back, I'm back, I'm back! For those of you who haven't caught on, I've been M.I.A. and sick the last two weeks--miserable, given that it was hot--so I missed at least one Top Ten Tuesday. While I'd normally pick up where I left off and do last week's theme, I felt like I already did something similar a few weeks back. For those of you who are new to my blog, or the book blogging community, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Artsy Reader Girl, originating over at the Broke and the Bookish, and is exactly what its title hints at.

Each week, we receive a new topic to discuss on Tuesdays. It serves as a fun way to get to know one another in the book blogging community and is by far one of my favourite parts about blogging. Of course, this weeks topic, I have to admit, made me a little skeptical.

It was easy enough, but given the current political climate out here in the states I've been feeling less than warm towards my entire country (or at least, the political clowns in it) and wasn't keen on being patriotic for that reason. Yet, I'm doing it anyways--why? I love the colour scheme and am basic like that.

That being said, because I missed last week's post and want to make up for it, I'm doing double duty this week. Or, well, triple. Instead of doing a joint collection of 10 covers, I'm going to do 10 for each colour.

So, get ready for some red, white and blue!

Cover Reveal: Wrecked by Shana Vanterpool


And, it's finally here! Get ready for (and to be) Wrecked, the first installment of Shana Vanterpool's Charming Knights, by checking out your exclusive first look at the official cover-art. 

Review: I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara | Rating: ★★★★★

“I love reading true crime, but I’ve always been aware of the fact that, as a reader, I am actively choosing to be a consumer of someone else’s tragedy. So like any responsible consumer, I try to be careful in the choices I make. I read only the best: writers who are dogged, insightful, and humane.” 

Before I begin, can we just take a moment to note the chill that runs down your spine upon reading the words once spoken by the killer that would later become this books namesake: "You'll be silent forever, and I'll be gone in the dark?" You so rarely understand the mind of a killer but in that moment, you realize the arrogance that extends beyond one man's cruelty and it's terrifying. In recent months, I've taken up reading all the true crime books I can get my hands on as I research the (unrelated) murder of my aunt for a novel I will be writing. I'll Be Gone in the Dark is fast on the track to becoming a classic in its own right--and with good reason.

Michelle McNamara's intensity in her prose--this frank and respectful way about her research--is what makes this book so remarkable. As you read it, knowing that she had passed away before publication, you get this sense of who she was and the end result is masterful. Ultimately, the experience is almost bittersweet when you acknowledge the fact that only a few months ago the killer stepped out into the light and was finally arrested after decades of mystery.

Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

You by Caroline Kepnes | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)


“And I will never again underestimate the power of anticipation. There is no better boost in the present than an invitation into the future.”

Caroline Kepnes' You is the type of novel best consumed on a stormy night, wine in hand, lights dimmed and nothing else. You is so compellingly unsettling, you find yourself startled into some bizarre cross of full-blown tension and intrigue. Hint: your skin crawls in the best way possible and is a must-have for the now adult fans of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series.

(Which is funny, considering Shay Mitchell from the PLL T.V. series is to be a part of the adaptation of this book!)

Kepnes has a prose that is so engrossing, I found it nearly impossible to put You down. You know the thrillers that keep you reading, your heart practically still and your breath held at various moments, and never want to let you go? Gripping would be an understatement when it comes to You. I felt the same, deeply captivated feeling the first time I read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, The Fever by Megan Abbott and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. You makes it impossible to even breathe, let alone relax.