One of Us is Next

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

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Author: Karen M. McManus

Series: One of Us is Lying, #2

Published: January 7, 2020

ISBN: 0525707964

Pages: 377

Goodreads rating: 4.05/5

For fans of: YA/Mysteries, Who done it trope, High School drama, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.

A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

Until now.

This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game.

Truth or Dare.

Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.

Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.

But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.

Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules.

My Mini Review:

Once again McManus delivered a fast-paced and action-packed YA/Mystery. I solved part of the mystery by the middle of the book, but the other twists were completely unexpected. This book had my heart racing in some parts, something the first book did not do for me. I liked that there were some familiar elements from the first story mixed in with completely new content.

I really enjoyed our two new characters’ point of views, Phoebe and Knox, and I liked learning more about Maeve (who was Bronwyn’s sister from the first book). All of these characters went through a lot of growth throughout the story as their lives were taken apart and they attempted to put themselves back together. McManus puts an emphasis on leaning on family and friends when you need it, and the fact that you shouldn’t hide things from those you love. If you enjoyed One of Us is Lying, I highly recommend you don’t wait to read this sequel, and if you are a fan of YA/Mystery then you will definitely enjoy this!

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.

booktag image

The Hopeful Book Tag

We need a bit of hope in the world, especially during these uncertain times. I’m sure this year is kicking all our butts, and reading has been a nice escape for me. This book tag was a lot of fun to write. Thanks to Soulful Thoughts for tagging everyone. Everyone who reads this can consider themselves tagged. Remember to tag me back and I can’t wait to read all your answers!

harry potter and the sorcerer's stone by j.k. rowling
Picture taken by me. Buy book on Amazon.

1. A book world you would like to escape to: Hogwarts

I will forever be waiting for my Hogwarts letter. Always. This is the series I turn to for comfort, and I love rereading it when I’m in a reading slump. I also like to re-watch the movies when I need a reminder.

beach read by emily henry
Picture taken by me. Buy book on Amazon.

2. A romance that left you all mushy inside: Beach Read by Emily Henry

This was a much heavier romance book than I expected, both from the cover and from the synopsis. It was all very misleading, but in a good way. I thought about this book a lot as I was reading it, and for some time after. You can read my review here.

the existence of amy by lana grace riva
Picture taken by me. Buy book on Amazon.

3. A friendship we should all aspire to have: Nate and Amy in The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

We would all be lucky to have a friend like Nate. Nate did things for Amy that I wondered if I would ever do for someone I work with. I think I would only go so far to help my husband and kids, and maybe my sister. Honestly, there is maybe only one work friend who I might go that far for. Am I a terrible person? Maybe. Go read my review for this book here.

my siberian husky names leah
Picture taken by me.

4. Intermission! Insert the cutest picture of your pet or the cutest animal you can find.

Meet Leah, my nine year old husky 🙂 She was named during my Twilight phase after the only female wolf in the pack. Don’t judge me!

the boyfriend project by farrah rochon
Picture taken by me. Buy the book on Amazon.

5. A character in a leadership role that inspires you.

Even though this wasn’t an amazing read for me, I still consider Samiah to be a great role model for little girls and grown women alike. Samiah taught the girls she mentored that the color of their skin did not determine the career they should follow, and that they should work hard and do what they were passionate about. I was also inspired by the fact that Samiah went back to school as an adult to obtain another degree in the field she loved, as opposed to the degree she first got in order to please her parents. You can read my review here.

The house in the cerulean sea
Picture taken by me. Buy this book on Amazon.

6. Recommend three books that fill you with hope.

1. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune -read my review here

This book filled me with hope for humanity. If more people like Linus exist, then perhaps there is still hope for this world.

2. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes -read my review here

These women were heroines in their own right, and as a bookworm this story about a traveling library made my heart happy.

3. Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox, #2) by Julie Kagawa -read my review here

This story spoke of resurrection, and this is something that I’ve always wanted to believe in so badly. It gave me hope that maybe those who love us never really leave us, and their souls will always find us again.

7. (Optional) Tag People.

If you are reading this consider yourself tagged, and remember to tag me back. I want to see all your answers!

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

The Giver of Stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the giver of stars by jojo moyes book hard cover
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Author: Jojo Moyes

Published: October 8, 2019

ISBN: 0399562486

Pages: 400

For fans of: Historical Fiction, Romance, the 1930’s Depression Era, traveling libraries, women’s rights.

Disclaimer: All opinions on this blog are my own. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link by clicking on the pictures and/or links and I will receive a small fee, but your book will still cost the same.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the author of Me Before You, set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond.

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic–a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

Life is complicated, which is why finding a little joy where you can is important”

I really enjoyed “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes, so when I saw she published this I had to buy it. When I realized it was Historical Fiction I wasn’t expecting to love it so much. I haven’t read that genre since I was forced to do so back in High School. Surprisingly, I found the narrative to be soothing and captivating. I enjoyed being transported to the middle of the Depression Era in Kentucky, 1930’s. Moyes’ writing was very descriptive and the scene setting was accurate for the time period.

Moyes has a way of making us empathize with her characters. I found myself feeling frustrated and powerless along with Alice and Margery, the main characters, due to the unequal treatment of women and the segregation of people of color during that time period. I fell in love with both our main characters, and I liked the contrast between their personalities. Both Alice and Margery had very impressive character arcs, and they grew so much throughout the story.

As a bookworm, I loved the whole idea of the traveling libraries, and I appreciated the courage it took for these women to undertake such a mission in such a dangerous time for them. They hiked through mountains, braving the heat, and eventually the snow, in order to deliver some literary joy to those who needed it. Some of them would stay and read to those who could not, and they would offer some much needed advice and support. This book made me fall in love with Historical Fiction, and I’m open to any suggestions you guys might have. Please let me know your favorites in the comments! I highly recommend this one to all Romance/ Historical Fiction fans, and for fans of Jojo Moyes’ writing.

Book Subscription Box Comparison

These past few months I’ve been trying out a few book subscription boxes. I didn’t want to clog up this post with a bunch of pictures, so if you want to see pictures of everything go check out my Instagram page.

*Disclaimer*

I paid for all of these myself and I’m not paid in any way by these subscription boxes for sharing my opinion

Owlcrate $34.99

I ordered the May 2019 box, and it arrived May 18th. This subscription auto-renews and I have to cancel it every month that either I don’t like the theme or I cannot afford it. I liked how fast the box arrived, and I really liked that it included useful and practical items as well as collectibles. This box included:

-We Hunt the Flame book (exclusive silver cover edition) by Hafsah Faizal along with a pin designed by the author herself.

-A Court of Mist and Fury sleeping mask.

-Howl’s Moving Castle inspired vinyl sticker.

-A passport wallet featuring a quote from the Hobbit.

-An exclusive edition water bottle featuring a quote from Stardust.

-A pillow case featuring a quote from A Darker Shade of Magic.

-Some character design cards.

Faecrate $41.65

I ordered the June 2019 box, and it arrived July 11th, I didn’t like that it arrived the month after, but I did appreciate the very unique items that were inside; like a puzzle and car coasters. This box included:

-The Red Labyrinth book by Meredith Tate special faecrate edition, with a signed plate and a note from the author.

-Two Gilded Wolves car coasters.

-A Six of Crows bracelet that says “Trickery is my native tongue.”

-A Ready Player One puzzle.

-A drawstring cloth bag that says “TBR level 1000.”

-A globe with a map of Prythian -A Court of Thorns and Roses world.

-A collectible metal coin from the Raven Cycle.

-A Warcross collectible polaroid of Emiko.

Illumicrate 41.99 euros

I ordered the June 2019 box, which arrived June 25th. This one also had two books, which I appreciated. I loved the color for this box, it has been my favorite one so far, but it was also the most expensive. It included:

-This time will be different book by Misa Sugiura, with signed plate and yellow sprayed edges.

-Birthday book by Meredith Russo, with signed plate, rainbow edges, and bookmark.

-TBR Jar (one of my favorites).

-Goddess of reading tapestry, illustration by Carol G.

-Page flags (another favorite).

-Tea and books booksleeve.

-Reality bookend part 1. (Part 2 comes in the July box).

-Collectible coin, featuring Hermione Granger.

Shelflovecrate $39.98

I ordered the May 2019 box, and it arrived May 24th. I liked that this subscription does not auto-renew and I don’t have to worry about cancelling it every month. I loved that this box brought two books instead of one. It included:

-We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal book, signed special edition with reversible dust jacket.

-Romanov by Nadine Brandes, signed special edition with navy blue and gold cover.

-The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare first chapter sample.

-ADSOM -Kell and Lila chess pieces.

-Ready Player One bookmark.

-Strange the Dreamer moth pin.

-Harry Potter portkey water bottle.

-Chronicles of Narnia plastic pouch (note: this is the only item I’ve had an issue with since it broke after a few uses).

Have you tried any other boxes you would recommend or advise against?

WWW Wednesday

This is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where you answer three questions: What are you reading now? What did you just read? What will you be reading next? I find this a great way to touch base every week, and to get on the right reading track.

The girl the sea gave back by Adrienne young
Picture from Goodreads

What I’m reading now:

I couldn’t believe it when I got an e-ARC of The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young from Netgalley. I will forever read anything she writes. I’m also finally reading Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, which I’ve only been looking forward to forever.

My bookstagram

What I just read:

I just read Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, which wasn’t as action packed as Six of Crows or Crooked Kingdom, but I do understand a lot of world building was necessary. I also listened to an audio of Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, which also reminded me a lot of Six of Crows, a band of misfits full of special and unique talents. You can read my mini reviews for those here. Finally, I read an e-ARC of Call it What you Want by Brigid Kemmerer, she has also quickly become one of my auto-read authors.

My Bookstagram

What I will be reading next:

I hope to finally get to Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and hopefully start making a good dent on my physical TBR. The e-books and audio books I pick up next will depend on what’s available to be checked out on Libby, and if I get approved for any e-ARCs from Netgalley. I don’t usually buy e-books or audio books, unless I have free credits on the Audible app, or a good book is available for free on kindle first reads. If you have the kindle app and have not signed up for kindle first reads I highly recommend it -it’s free and they let you choose a free book every month from a list.

What are you guys’ WWW’s?

Five Star Reads

We’re half-way through the year already, so I thought I would summarize all the five star reads I’ve had up to now. I’ve either been very generous this year with my ratings, or I’ve just been reading a lot of fantastic books. I’ve read a total of eleven five star books this year. For me these are books that I’ve absolutely loved and I would re-read them again. Also, these tend to become my auto-buy authors, and I will buy anything they write forever and ever.

Fairest Lunar Chronicles by Merissa Meyer
Picture from Goodreads

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

I loved the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and this was Queen Levana’s story. I haven’t read many stories from the villain’s point of view, and this was a very interesting read. In reality I just really missed this world and even a small mention of the main characters made me happy. I enjoyed finding out exactly what happened to Cinder and Snow when they were children at the hands of Queen Levana. I liked reading about the events that made her into the evil Queen. After reading this novella I had to go and reread the whole series of course. I’m planning to write a full review on the whole Lunar Chronicles soon.

The Space between time by Charlie laidlaw
Picture from Goodreads

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

This story was profoundly real. It delves into hard topics such as depression, anxiety and suicide, while also throwing some humor into the mix. I would recommend it to anyone wishing to learn more about the human condition and what it means to be alive. Read my full review here.

A very large expanse of the sea by tahereh mafi
Picture from Goodreads

A Very Large Expanse of the Sea by Tahereh Mafi

I love Mafi’s Shatter Me series, and this stand alone totally unrelated book was amazing as well. The characters felt so real. It had a diary kind of feel to it that kept me glued to the pages wanting to find out what was next. You can read my full review here.

The red scrolls of magic by Cassandra clare, shadowhunters, the eldest curses
Picture from Goodreads

The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses, #1) by Cassandra Clare

I had been looking forward to The Red Scrolls of Magic for almost a year. One of my favorite characters from her other Shadowhunter books is Magnus Bane, and when I saw the book was mostly about him I was super excited. On the other hand, one of my least favorite characters is Alexander Lightwood, but this book was exactly what I needed in order to understand his personality more. You can read my full review here.

A curse so dark and lonely by brigid kemmerer
Picture from Goodreads

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

I found the plot to be fast paced and gripping, but without feeling too rushed. I’ve read a lot of fairy tale retellings, and this one was different enough to be entertaining yet it still kept many of the familiar concepts I associate with Beauty and the Beast. It included the beast (of course), a girl taken against her will, and an enchanted castle. I also thought the romance aspect of the story was very realistic, especially the fact that at a young age it’s hard to identify what love feels like. You can read the rest of my review here.

Sky in the deep by Adrienne young
Picture from Goodreads

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

The women in this book are strong, and many of them are leaders. The men worship their women, and fight to protect their people. I liked that both sexes are seen as warriors and providers. I heard her next book The Girl the Sea Gave Back is in part about him. I recently got approved to read it on Netgalley and I cannot wait to get started. I loved everything about this book, and I will definitely be reading anything else she writes. Come read the rest of my review here.

shadow of the fox by Julie kagawa
Picture from Goodreads

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1) by Julie Kagawa

This was my first audio book. I never thought I would get into audio books but I really needed something productive to do while on the way to and from work, and I thought listening to an audio book was a great idea. I liked the fact that Yumeko and Tatsumi were voiced by a female and a male respectively. They each changed their voices when another character was involved, and I thought it was well done. I did have the e-book as well, and that was nice to have for any down time, and to check the correct spelling of names and places. It also had a handy glossary at the end. The story, the characters, and the scenery were described in great detail, and at the time I could not wait for the second book. You can read the rest of my review here.

soul of the sword by Julie kagawa
Picture from Goodreads

Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox, #2) by Julie Kagawa

**Some spoilers for Shadow of the Fox, the first book in the series**

Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa transported me to a warm campfire under a starry night, while a bearded old man told this mythical tale in between puffs of smoke from his old wooden pipe. Suddenly, I was in a world in which emotions like grief and despair had smells, and everything from the scenery to the food was described in poetic detail. I particularly found the Forest of a Thousand Eyes terrifying, even when described from Hakaimono’s demon perspective, who tried to make everything sound amusing. Read the rest of my review here.

catwoman soulstealer by sarah j maas
Picture from Goodreads

Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons, #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Catwoman: Soulstealer was written by Sarah J. Maas, and the audio book was narrated by Julia Whelan. I read it in my down time, and listened to it on my work commute, as well as in the shower and while doing house-work. Honestly, I found myself looking for any possible excuse to listen to this book. This narrator was the best I’ve heard yet, she did all the male and female voices perfectly and even did their accents. Read my full review here.

the wicked king by holly black
Picture from Goodreads

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black

In this sequel to “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black. We continue the story of Jude Duarte, a human in the realm of Elfhame, who is struggling to hold on to her newly acquired power over its high King Cardan and his subjects. The graphics on this cover were amazing, and I loved the little drawings of dragonflies throughout the book along with the drawings at the beginning of each chapter. The dialogue between Jude and Cardan was so entertaining to read. I could just read about those two talking forever. Read my full review here.

crooked kingdom by leigh bardugo
Picture from Goodreads

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo

I loved this band of misfits. This was a super fast paced book packed with action, even more so than the first book in the series. If you love stories with a good heist in them, then this is the book for you. It is told from six different points of views, but Leigh Bardugo does it seamlessly so that it never becomes an issue. Each character is unique and fleshed out, even if their names weren’t at the top of each chapter, you could still probably tell who was narrating every time. Come read my full review here.

What were some of your five star reads this year?

Harry Potter Booktag

I came across this tag in a blog called Right Writing Words and it looked like a lot of fun, so I decided to give it a try. I personally love the Harry Potter series, they were the books which sparked my love for reading. I even wrote about them on this post.

What house are you in?

“Their daring, nerve and chivalry set Gryffindors apart.” I was surprised when I took the test on Pottermore and I got Gryffindor, I always thought I would be a Ravenclaw because I’m a big nerd. Gryffindor values courage and bravery, and our mascot is the lion.

What is your patronus?

So I really wish my patronus was a panther or a tiger, but it’s a stout *rolls eyes.* I actually had to google what a stout was, it turns out it’s a type of weasel/ferret. I had a ferret once, they’re really annoying.

My wand specifications from pottermore
Picture from Pottermore.com

What is your wand?

Fir wood with dragon core, 12 3/4″ and reasonably supple flexibility. Dragon core, now that sounds more like it. According to Ollivander, wands of fir wood come from the most resilient of trees, which produce wands that demand staying power and strength of purpose in their true owners, and that they are poor tools in the hands of the changeable and indecisive. Fir wands are particularly suited to Transfiguration, and favor owners of focused, strong minded and, occasionally, intimidating demeanor. (from Pottermore.com)

What would your bogart be?

Probably a swarm of very small insects, doesn’t matter what type, only thing that matters is that they might crawl all over me at once. I can take any insect if it’s alone, I cannot handle them in a group. *shudders*

What would your position in Quidditch be?

I’m not sporty at all, but I’m observant and patient which are good attributes for a seeker, so seeker it is.

Would you be pure blood, half-blood or muggle-born?

I spent my whole eleventh year of my life wishing I was muggle-born and my owl would arrive with my letter to take me to Hogwarts, but it never happened.

My daughter holding the order of the phoenix book
My daughter when she was 7 months

What job would you want after graduating Hogwarts?

I would love to write bizarre relevant stories for the Quibbler.

Which of the Deathly Hollows would you choose?

I know the good choice is the invisibility cloak, but could I break into a bank with it? Because I’m really broke right this minute. If not, then the elder wand just for a bit and then I swear I would destroy it.

Harry potter and the order of the phoenix book
Picture taken by me

Favorite book?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, because I feel it’s the book where Harry really grows and comes into his own, and it’s where things start to get darker. Also, Umbridge totally gets what she deserves.

Least favorite book?

Nope, I love all the books.

Favorite film?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, because of the Yule Ball, the tournament, the other different schools, and a million other reasons that made this movie so action packed… also dragons.

Least favorite film

Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, because they really messed up the ending. It’s one of the only films that was not very consistent with the book, they made up a few things and really changed others.

My blue bookshelf full of my favorite books
Picture taken by me

Favorite character

This is so hard, but I really loved Snape, both in the books and on the films. I loved his snarky comments and dark humor. Always.

Least favorite character

Lavender Brown, to me she was super annoying both in the books and the films.

Favorite teacher at Hogwarts

I’m split between Professor Lupin and Professor Slughorn. I thought both of them had really good hands on teaching methods, and interesting approaches to teaching.

Least favorite teacher at Hogwarts

Umbridge, enough said.

Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

I get a little annoyed when people who have never read the books call themselves Harry Potter fans. Read the books people!