archive: 2018

Review: The Queen's Wing by Jessica Thorne

3:56 PM

The Queen's Wing (The Queen's Wing, #1) by Jessica Thorne | Rating: ★★★★☆

As a note, a copy 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.

This truly was a gripping story! The Queen's Wing is just the right amount of action and romance; mixing up quite the selection of genres. So, when you see the tagline: "A completely gripping fantasy romance" BELIEVE IT! I will say, however, that the story is more science-fiction than fantasy. It combines fantasy, science-fiction, steampunk and fantasy.

The Queen's Wing is a fun mix of the above genres and will surely appeal to fans of The Selection (I was getting some major parallels between the two when it came to the romantic plotlines), The Androma Saga and maybe a little of The Winner's Trilogy. Which makes it all the more enthralling to its target audience. It's action packed, driven by romance, and just an all around fun time.

That being said, it won't be for everyone. Like all works of fiction, it has it flaws and there are several kinks that Thorne will have likely sorted out in the sequel. While it worked for me, despite said flaws, I will say you should probably steer clear of The Queen's Wing if you aren't interested in love triangle tropes (there's definitely a big one in this first installment, however it is sorted fully by the end) or in romantic stories in general.

archive: 2018

Review: Deadly Class Volume 1: Reagan Youth Media Tie-In

12:04 AM

Deadly Class Volume 1: Reagan Youth Media Tie-In | Rating: ★★★★☆

As a note, a copy 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.

First thing: there were A LOT of things I really enjoyed about Deadly Class! Riveting, darkly entertaining and full of some intriguing characters an unique setting. Second thing, ah, second? There as one MASSIVE thing I didn't like about it... the good news is that the massive thing had to do with the central villain, which is very fitting and is keen on making me hate the bad guy thoroughly. But, it is still something that made me dock that extra point because the shuddering that I put into this single character took me out of the story.

We'll get to that in a minute. I'd rather focus on the good in Deadly Class because frankly there was a lot more good in the graphic novel than bad. Well, that's actually a bad way to word it because the story itself is dark and morally, the characters are not the good guys and reside in the gray, "I'm an assassin but somehow still likable" end of the spectrum. What I liked most about Deadly Class was the action, the jump-and-dive of nearly every violent page.

archive: 2018

Review: Romanov by Nadine Brandes

3:19 PM

Romanov by Nadine Brandes |  Rating: ★★★★☆

As a note, a copy 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.

Am I really reviewing a book that won't be out for half a year? Yes. I couldn't help myself! Tell me the truth: can you, take a moment to look at that cover, really say no to its beauty? I couldn't. I was all, "Oh, I'll wait a couple of months to read and review, so I can post this closer to the release date." and literally five minutes later I was a few pages in and couldn't stop myself. Romanov is a high-stakes historical fiction fantasy novel that takes upon itself to weave magic into the all too real, all too tragic tale of the final imperial family of Russia.

Romanov, like most historical fiction novels, is not going to be a source of factual information on the historical events. I try not to ridicule it, although sometimes when reading about fictionalized accounts of the Romanov's I can't help but feel a little weird. While I grew up loving the animated film Anastasia (and as an adult have become reacquainted with its score in Broadway's Anastasia) and harbored that sense of hope that at least one of the children had miraculously escaped for most of my childhood, I can't help but to circle back down to two things.

archive: 2018

Review: The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork

11:02 PM

The Enchanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork | Rating: ★★★★★

As a note, a copy 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 needed a book like this, at a time like this. I'm so glad I was able to read it. There are books that are so vivid and fast-paced, and purely magical, that they are the ultimate getaway from ordinary. After the last few months from h*ll, this was one of those rare bright spots. In short? The Enchanted Sonata was positively stunning and sweet. I could not put it down.

Heather Dixon Wallwork crafts a delightfully musical, re-imagined version of two beloved classics: The Nutcracker Ballet and The Pied Piper. Two titles I would have never thought to put together, but that work so, so well. The Enchanted Sonata is for the readers who love to dream and a total must-have for fans of The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert or ABC's Once Upon A Time.

The Enchanted Sonata is so gripping, and so full of energy, I could not put it down and shuddered anytime I actually had to. It follows the familiar themes of the stories it is based upon, but the end product is a new kind of story and wholly its own. Breath-taking, unique, yet undeniably familiar.


archive: 2018

Review: The Date Dare by Tara Sue Me

1:57 PM

The Date Dare by Tara Sue Me | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5)

As a note, a copy 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.

Can I get something out of the way first? I LOVE Tara Sue Me. In fact, I've been a fan of hers for the better part of a decade, tracing right back to the Twilight fan-fiction days. I just adore how she mixes steamy romance with wit and a little sweetness, which is why I was so excited to read The Date Dare. It promised to be so different from her previous works that I am familiar with--namely The Submissive series--and I think my problem was that my hopes were too high and that, ultimately, I hyped The Date Dare up so far in my head that it wasn't ever truly going to measure up.

Which, obviously, isn't on Tara Sue Me or The Date Dare by any means. Still, although there were a lot of cute little moments sprinkled into the novel, and a bit of humor and bad luck (see: Elliot's date with Kara) that make the story worth a second glance.

There's nothing inherently wrong with The Date Dare. It is sweet and sexy and witty. It is the very definition of cute, quick reads, and a total must-read for fans of friends-to-lover stories. However, I often felt like I had already read the book and that was something I couldn't get passed.

archive: 2018

Review: Love Looks Pretty on You by Lang Leav

8:09 PM

Love Looks Pretty on You by Lang Leav | Rating: ★★★★☆

As a note, a copy 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.

Lang Leav does it again! I don't know why people get so bent out of shape for the various degrees of poetic self-expression, but once more I'm baffled by the dim quality people approach prose and how quick they are to cry, "This is not poetry!" to something that is merely not their cup of tea. It's such an odd quality to possess, but we're not here to talk about that, are we? 

 Love Looks Pretty on You is another beautiful and simply told release to add to Leav's ever-growing collection. As always, her prose is light and fast to the point, without lacking any weight of emotion. I cannot help but to always marvel at the quality and impact that so few words could ever possess, and Lang Leav is certainly one of the leaders of her generation of poets. This isn't "Tumblr Poetry" (I will forever scoff at such a term--who are you guys kidding?!), it is one woman raising her voice and expressing herself through prose and I really and truly respect Leav for it.

archive: 2018

Review: Blizzad (The Black Ice Trilogy, #2) by Mikayla Elliot

6:27 PM

Blizzard by Mikayla Elliot | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

As a note, a copy 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.

WOW. Mikayla Elliot does it again with the next enthralling release of her The Black Ice trilogy: Blizzard. Just when you thought things couldn't get more thrilling, action-packed, or mysterious, Elliot makes the stakes at an all-time high, leaving readers grappling with where the story went and just what the implications will be for the third installment.

Where we left in Snow, there were a lot of questions left dangling just in front of us. The betrayal of Zachariah, the fact that Eliza is technically Neva's mother, Neva is left reeling from the death of all but one member of her family, a niece who is presently missing and presumably in terrible danger, by the hands of her long-gone husband. Elliot packed a lot into the climax of Snow, leaving us all breathless and intrigued at one comes next--fortunately for readers, Blizzard is just as complex and richly written as its predecessor and will, once again, leave us longing for more. 

ana sender

Review: The Cottingley Fairies by Ana Sender

2:07 PM

The Cottingley Fairies by Ana Sender | ★★★★☆ (4.5)

As a note, a copy 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.

Oh, my. The Cottingley Fairies is magical and charming, I am overwhelmed by its sweetness. It is everything I hoped it would be and I cannot wait to share it with my goddaughter upon official release. Ana Sender takes these familiar real life events and puts a delightful spin on the effects of lies, truths, and the magic of childhood storytelling.

Kids will be smitten with The Cottingley Fairies and their parents will be just the same. Not only is the story simple and fast, the minimalist illustrations will tug a smile at your lips. I thought that the way that Sender told the story, as an almost retrospect from one of the girls in her later years, only added to the magic and atmosphere of it.

I really, really enjoyed this and that aching feeling of how we once viewed the world as children, to how we view it now. The Cottingley Fairies is a winning combination of childhood joy, imagination and magic, with a hint of how out of control falsehoods can really get. 

archive: 2018

Review: There Are Girls like Lions by Cole Swensen + Various Authors

2:00 PM

There Are Girls like Lions by Cole Swensen | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5)

As a note, a copy 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.

While I didn't totally hate There Are Girls like Lions, and found a good few poems to be thought-provoking, new-to-me and powerful, the collection as a whole just didn't work for me. Not completely. I found that the foreward was wonderful, that there were some standouts in prose, but the better portion of this collection felt choppy and incoherent. And I'm so, so, so disappointed in myself for just not connecting with it full-time.

But, it happens. My experience with There Are Girls like Lions wasn't fully negative but it wasn't exactly positive, either. In the better moments, there were various poems that made me nod my head in something like encouragement or agreement. In its lesser moments, I spaced out and had that nagging thought: am I going to finish it? In its in-between moments, I had just enough curiosity to finish the collection and consider what I was feeling.

andrea gibson

Review: Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson

1:53 PM

Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson | Rating: ★★★★★

As a note, a copy 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 know I've said it a hundred times over this year, last year, and several years before but: Lord of the Butterflies is a standout. Truly one of the best poetic releases of 2018. The thing that makes Lord of the Butterflies so poignant? Simple: Andrea Gibson.

And Gibson's voice is very important to note. Because if there is one thing you should know about them before you read Lord of the Butterflies, it's that Gibson's prose has a presence that is potent and prone to getting under your skin in the way that only good poetry can. You'll feel. You'll cry. You'll smile. You'll be. Lord of the Butterflies treats you to any emotion imaginable.

Which is to say: they know how to hit you right in the soul with their words and that's the sign of pure brilliance in poetry. Gibson takes you by your collar and leaves you reeling from their honesty. I was honestly dizzy with emotion the moment I finished this collection and then I did something I so rarely do upon finishing a book--I went back to the start and read it again.

archive: 2018

Review: Snow (The Black Ice Trilogy, #1) by Mikayla Elliot

1:36 PM

Snow by Mikayla Elliot | ★★★★☆ (4.5)

As a note, a copy 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.

Snow is everything I wanted it to be and then some. Unique, enthralling and positively stunning, Snow set a new standard for not only vampire stories, but for how a trilogy should begin. In short? I adored it and devoured it once I got into my reading groove. Mikayla Elliot is a force to be reckoned with and a highly promising voice in fiction.

As far as worldbuilding goes, Elliot is only just getting started when it comes to the world(s) Snow is set in. It is as crisp as winter's air. I am intrigued to see where she goes with it in the next installment and have high hopes in the pace that she is developing both the world and the stories within it. Snow has a lot to offer, but if there's one thing you should know of it is that the writing Mikayla Elliot offers us is incredible.

One might shy away from Snow due to the genre becoming less and less appealing in the aftermath of, let's call it, vampire mania, but you should know that this isn't your typical vampire novel.

archive: 2018

Review: It's a Lonely Love by Hunter Summerall

4:13 PM

It's a Lonely Love by Hunter Summerall | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5-.8)

As a note, a copy 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.

Before you go looking at my star rating and thinking, "Oh? Two stars? Must not be good!" bite your tongue. That's not true in the least. It's a Lonely Love is pure self-expression and one of the many levels to poetry. Something about it reads very quickly and cuts bluntly to the point from the very start, in a way that will certainly connect with its readers--in particular, its younger readers.

While it wasn't especially my cup of tea, while I rated it less than I'd expected, that means f*ck-all. Something not being my personal preferences essentially means nothing, because that is art and art, and taste, are subjective. Take a drink every time I say that in my reviews.

Here's the basics. Hunter Summerall bares all with it and you'd be silly to not respect it. The collection is solid, both in its self-expression and the gloominess of one relationship. Every poem reflects a different level of human emotion and its complexities, keying up the reader with tension and respect, sympathy and compassion. You can't help but to want to give Summerall your support because the way that the prose connects with readers just works.

archive: 2018

Review: Child of the Moon by Jessica Semaan

2:58 PM

Child of the Moon by Jessica Semaan | Rating: ★★★★★

As a note, a copy 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.

Child of the Moon is one of the best collections of poetry I've read in years. Hands down, it truly is. The first thing you should know about Child of the Moon is, it's crackling with energy and despair and hope and shame and fear. We seek comfort in connection in our poetry, and this is one of those collections that is so gripping--you, too, will have whitened knuckles from holding it so tightly. From the very start, I felt as though I'd already seen a glimpse of Jessica Semaan's soul and that was a feeling that I could never shake.

You see, every line of Child of the Moon is so potent that, at times, it becomes a little overwhelming to the reader. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it's remarkable. I think that, while I felt truly connected to the prose even within the first page, it truly clicked with me whilst reading the passages from "Top 10 Self-Doubt Tracks (On Repeat)" and in every moment after that, I just knew, with a jolt of electricity, just how special this collection was. Semaan has a gift in exploring the darkness of ones self and it's just... incredible to read. And impossible to put down.

archive: 2018

Review: Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles, #1) by L. Penelope

8:12 PM

Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

As a note, a copy 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.

Finally, something GOOD! I feel like I've been in THE BIGGEST slump when it comes to YA fantasy books. I mean it: the biggest. Which is a bit unsettling, considering there's so many books out there--far too many to feel like there's a drought in the genre. But, there I was feeling like I'd forever be underwhelmed with the genre. And along came Song of Blood & Stone--which packed a seriously magical punch!

I was a little confused on it being sorted into the YA genre if I'm being honest. Much like the general confusion I felt over Sarah J. Maas' A Court of Thorns and Roses. There are many scenes in Song of Blood & Stone that feel a bit more graphic than most YA* scenes do. While I don't at all mind it, it does seem to fit a bit less and makes me wonder if it was original meant for an older audience. So, that is something you should note. If that's not your cup of tea, there will be some scenes you'll want to skim over.

a throne for sisters

(DNF) Review: A Throne for Sisters (A Throne for Sisters, #1) by Morgan Rice

7:42 PM

A Throne for Sisters by Morgan Rice | Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

As a note, a copy 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.

This book. Where to begin? Ah, I should start with my usual disclaimer: if a book isn't my cup of tea, that does not make it a bad book. Taste is subjective and what did not work about A Throne for Sisters in my mind, might connect easier with you. It's that simple! So, keep that in mind and let's dive on in:

I can't believe I've put off writing this review since earlier this spring. A Throne for Sisters was VERY appealing to me when I first requested it. The synopsis was right up my alley and the genre? Don't even get me started on how appealing the genre was! And, to be perfectly blunt, the writing and world-building was fantastic--Rice clearly put forth a great deal of effort and development for the book, and forthcoming series.

So what made it not work for me? What made me add this to my DNF pile? A Throne for Sisters is not a bad a book. The truth is, I couldn't connect with the characters and this eventually put me off enough to make me just not read it. A lot of contributing factors were: I just didn't find myself drawn to anyone well enough to stick through it and maybe a little bit that it felt out of my age range.

analog de leon

Review: Vertigo of Love & Letting Go by Analog De Leon

7:13 PM

Vertigo: Of Love & Letting Go by Analog De Leon | Rating: ★★★☆☆

As a note, a copy 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.

Vertigo was something I struggled with from time to time. I am not saying it was a bad collection (it wasn't) but it wasn't my favourite that I've come across in recent memory. I think it had more to do with my inability to fully connect with it than anything else. Objectively speaking, the prose is truly beautiful and if there's one thing to take away from my review... it's that.

The thing about poetry is that you're not always going to connect with subject matter or prose. That doesn't make it any less special, that doesn't make it matter less.

I really enjoyed the way it was formatted. It told a story and I really respect that. There was something very potent in the general prose of it and I feel as though there are a ton of good moments in Vertigo that will really grip many people. This is the type of poetry that, although not for me, will be thought-provoking to its audience and lead new poetry readers into this generation of poets.

archive: 2018

Review: Pillow Thoughts II by Courtney Peppernell

6:58 PM

Pillow Thoughts II: Healing the Heart by Courtney Peppernell | ★★★★☆

As a note, a copy 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.


Courtney Peppernell triumphantly returns with a second installment to her Pillow Thoughts series. Fans of the first collection will adore and connect with part two just as easily as the first one. While I find Pillow Thoughts II to be lacking the emotional punch that Pillow Thoughts did, it is still a wonderful series of prose straight from the heart and soul.

Peppernell has carved a place out in the poetry community and amongst her peers, and her works truly shows this. It all boils down to the subgenre in poetry; the simplistic prose that, despite being short, is still 100% poetry. If you do not like, do not appreciate, or cannot connect with this form of expression? Pillow Thoughts II won't be for you.

The collection is filled with the exact amount of emotions you would expect. It truly is a moment of healing and you can sense this journey heavily throughout it. It's such an important journey to go on and the fact that Peppernell shares this so honestly is very, very important. You're not just reading the lines of someone's thoughts, you're surrounding yourself in it and, like in all good poetry collections, it's therapeutic.

best of 2018

2018 Goodreads Choice Awards: 10th Annual Opening Round Nominees + My Picks

1:26 PM


First things first: for those of you who don't follow me on Twitter--I was on a hiatus and I'm sorry for being MIA! I didn't mean to disappear but I had to take a step back from the blog due to the fact that my father unexpectedly lost his job of 22 years. The stress of it all was a bit much and because of my issues with anxiety, I just wasn't in the right state of mind to be blogging.

While I'm still not 100% back to myself, and probably won't be until this entire situation is over, I am trying to get back on my blogging game. Goodreads provided a nice kick in the butt recently, though, with their 10th annual Goodreads Choice Awards. Can you believe it's time for the opening round nominations already?

(I can't!)

As the year dwindles down, it's time for us readers to put together our favourite releases of the year. So many good books have been published this year and while many of the ones I adored didn't make the cut on Goodreads, there were plenty of options to pick from.

I thought it'd be fun to put together a little post discussing my picks. So, here we go!