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 can’t believe we are already half-way through August, and I’ve barely made a dent on my TBR. Help! I’ve just been in one of those moods where I lose interest in all the books I pick up. I’ve also been dealing with my first-born starting Kindergarten in the middle of a pandemic. I finally just decided to home school him for the time being, until all this is over. It’s what I felt was right for my family. To all the parents out there struggling with what to do, just do what feels right and what works for you and your family. Every situation and child is different. Lets not judge others and just offer our support in any way we can in these difficult times. Now on to the books!

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.

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What I’m reading now

As you guys know, I usually read three books at a time in different formats. I’m currently reading Wolfsong (Green Creek, #1) by T.J. Klune in ebook form, and I’m really enjoying it. I recently discovered Klune’s books after reading The House in the Cerulean Sea, and I completely fell in love with his writing. His characters are so adorable, they are the kind of people you root for during the whole book. I’m also rereading the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas because I haven’t reread them in a while and I was missing them. I had never listened to the audio books before and I’m loving it. I’m also reading The Shadows by Alex North, the hardback. I loved The Whisper Man by him and I’m liking this one too. I’m new to the concept of lucid dreaming and I’m enjoying learning about it.

Midnight Sun Twilight book five by stephenie meyer
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What I just read

I just read Midnight Sun (Twilight,#5) by Stephenie Meyer, you can click on the link to read my nostalgic ramblings. I also read Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren, which I really enjoyed. It quickly became my favorite book by these authors.

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What I plan to read next

Seeing how I’m enjoying the Green Creek series by T.J. Klune, I’ll probably continue on to book two. I also plan to keep rereading the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. This might all change with my mood though since I’m unfortunately a mood reader.

Let me know what you are reading in the comments? Or any recent books you’ve read that you think I should read!

Crier’s War

⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

book one in series crier's war by nina varela
Picture from Goodreads

Author: Nina Varela

Series: Crier’s War, #1

Published: October 1, 2019

ISBN: 0062823965

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Impossible love between two girls —one human, one Made.
A love that could birth a revolution.

After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, Designed to be the playthings of royals, took over the estates of their owners and bent the human race to their will.

Now, Ayla, a human servant rising the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging the death of her family… by killing the Sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier. Crier, who was Made to be beautiful, to be flawless. And to take over the work of her father.

Crier had been preparing to do just that—to inherit her father’s rule over the land. But that was before she was betrothed to Scyre Kinok, who seems to have a thousand secrets. That was before she discovered her father isn’t as benevolent as she thought. That was before she met Ayla.

Set in a richly-imagined fantasy world, Nina Varela’s debut novel is a sweepingly romantic tale of love, loss and revenge, that challenges what it really means to be human.

For fans of: An Ember in the Ashes, Lifelike, and Ash Princess

My Review:

If longing is madness, then none of us are sane.”

This book was included inside one of my book subscription boxes back when it was first published, and it has been sitting there on my shelf ever since. I thought it would be a good idea to read it since it’s LGBTQ+ month, and this covers the romance in between two girls; one made and one human. The romance did not take center stage, which was okay with me. These two girls had to deal with a whole different set of prejudices and stereotypes; centered around the fact that they were a human and an automa in love, while also being in the middle of a rebellion between their two peoples.

The first half of the story was a bit slow. I’m also not a fan of court scheming and boring council meetings and there was a lot of that. The action does pick up a bit on the second half of the story, but I felt like not a whole lot happened. I realize this is the first book in a series, and there was a lot of scene setting, character development, and history that needed to be explained, but that was all the book really was. It just set the stage for the next book in the series. Usually I would expect this type of transitional content in the middle book in a series, not the first.

The writing was beautiful, and the scene setting was captivating and descriptive. This book really delved into what it really means to be human. I loved the explanation of human things like hearts, souls, and tears coming from Crier’s point of view, because Crier was not human. I enjoyed the small history lessons in the beginning of the book, and during the story. I could’ve done with a lot more action and a bit more closure at the end of the story, instead of it being so open ended. The ending was a bit of a cliff hanger, but it didn’t leave me wanting to immediately get my hands on the second book like a good cliff hanger usually would. I would recommend this to YA/Sci-Fi fans who don’t mind a fairly slow story, who enjoy stories centered around royalty, and a like a light romance.

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 🙂

The Existence of Amy

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva
Picture from Goodreads

Author: Lana Grace Riva

Published: August 2, 2019

Pages: 247

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no immediate obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead.

My Review:

This was a very important and necessary read which dealt with OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), anxiety, and crippling depression in a very relatable and simplified way. The story was captivating and entrancing from the very beginning. I read it in two sittings. At first, the first person narrative and the unusual wording were a bit confusing, but once I got used to it I became completely immersed in Amy’s world.

Being inside Amy’s mind was interesting to say the least. As we follow her through her daily routine we are shown the importance of being kind to strangers, and the fact that sometimes offering a simple smile can make someone’s day. We never know what kind of demons others are facing, even our closest friends. Riva also shows us the importance of having a good support group and surrounding ourselves with people who care about us when we are going through tough times. Her book reminds us to check on our friends from time to time, and make sure they are really okay.

Even though Amy is dealing with a debilitating mental illness, she still fights it every day and shows signs of having developed some coping mechanisms, such as deep breathing and being thankful for the little things in life. She thanks the sun several times for its warm rays on her face, and wistfully stares at the brilliant blue sky as well. Eventually when it all becomes too much, she does get the professional help she so desperately needs. Riva did a good job showing the importance of seeking professional help and medication when necessary. No one should try to deal with mental illness on their own. I highly recommend this book to everyone, because we all know someone like Amy.

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 🙂

The Boyfriend Project

⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the boyfriend project by farrah rochon
Picture from Goodreads

Author: Farrah Rochon

Series: The Boyfriend Project, #1

Publishes: June 9, 2020 (Book of the Month early release)

ISBN: 1538716623

Synopsis from Goodreads:

USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon launches a new series about three young women who become friends when the live Tweeting of a disastrous date leads them to discover they’ve all been duped by the same man.

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

My Mini Review:

I think the world would be a better place if more people reached out to help others.”

I really wanted to love this book. I thought the whole boyfriend project idea was a nice concept and I was excited that there would be more books about the other women involved in the story. It gave me a lot of Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test vibes, and I loved those books. But by the middle of the book, the story became annoying and repetitive. The characters still couldn’t make up their minds about whether they should date or not, and by the time they did the relationship and feelings felt rushed and unrealistic.

With that said, I did enjoy the developing friendship between the three women, and the fact that they were supportive of each other’s decisions and accomplishments. I liked that they were not catty and did not bring each other down; despite having met under such unusual circumstances such as being cheated on by the same man. Rochon also successfully tackled hard issues such as racism, sexism, and discrimination in schools and in the work place. I also enjoyed the criminal aspects of the story, as well as learning about coding and app development. Overall, this was an okay read and I would recommend it if you are looking for a light romantic escape, but don’t go in expecting anything new or life changing.

This was my first Book of the Month pick. If you want to try out Book of the Month for $10 including shipping, consider using my affiliate link. I get a free book credit every time someone signs up with my code 😊

https://www.mybotm.com/a2308v5zzsm?show_box=true

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 🙂

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the ballad of songbirds and snakes by suzanne collins

Author: Suzanne Collins

Series: Hunger Games, #0

Published: May 19, 2020

Pages: 540

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to out charm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined – every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

My Review:

Snow lands on top”

❄️

I am a big Hunger Games fan, so when they announced that this book was being released I decided I would read it no matter what, even if it was about President Snow. I honestly don’t know where to even start with this one, so I am doing something a bit different and separating my review into likes and dislikes.

Dislikes:

We all know Coriolanus Snow turns out to be an evil bastard, but what I wanted to know was how? What was the turning point in his life? What made him into HIM? Unfortunately, for approximately ninety percent of the book all I got was a story about a regular, albeit ambitious guy who had to make hard choices when he was put into tough situations. Then, in the last ten percent of the book I was not even remotely prepared for the changes in his character, and I had whiplash by the time I was done. I feel like these changes should have been more gradual.

I also cannot go into detail when it comes to Coriolanus’s relationship with Lucy Gray without giving away any spoilers, but I did not like the way it was handled at all. Just like his character arch, their relationship would have benefitted from a more gradual development, and then a steady decline. This is not what I got. Instead, at the end of their story I felt like I had been slapped with this random unsatisfying ending and left with a LOT of unanswered questions.

Likes:

Okay, now that I got all that off my chest. I did enjoy the non-stop action in this book, and it was very emotional being back in the Hunger Games and experiencing the very beginning when the games were not as elaborate and immersive as they later became. I really liked finding the little Easter eggs along the way, which were in the form of familiar characters, animals, items, and songs from the original Hunger Games. It was nice finding out how certain aspects of the later Hunger Games came to be.

I liked that the mentors had their own side game going on as well, and that they were being put through almost as much as the tributes were. My favorite character, and in my opinion the only one with any redeeming qualities, was Tigris. I admired her resourcefulness and loyalty to her family, especially to Coriolanus. I enjoyed learning about many of the behind the scenes workings of the Hunger Games, from the way tests were performed on people and animals at the lab, to how the Peace Keepers were trained.

My whole initial rant aside, if you are a Hunger Games fan you won’t want to skip this one. Like I told someone on Instagram recently, just keep telling yourself “He’s the villain, he’s the villain,” and you shouldn’t have as much of a shock as I did. I highly recommend this book to all Fantasy/YA fans, and Hunger Games fanatics should definitely read it.

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 🙂

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

a good girl's guide to murder by holly jackson

Author: Holly Jackson

Published: May 2, 2019

ISBN: 1405293187

Pages: 433

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?

My review:

If a villain can be made, then he can be unmade.”

I picked up this book after seeing it recommended all over the bookstagram community, and now I see why. About twenty percent into the book I thought I had the killer figured out and I was so disappointed, but then everything changed and I wasn’t so sure anymore. This same scenario repeated itself throughout the story and I was kept guessing until the end. This book would make such a great TV series or movie, but I think a show would do the plot more justice.

Pip, the main character, was likeable and I enjoyed witnessing her character progression and changes in her personality. By the end of the story she still hadn’t quite figured out who she was, but lets be real here, does any seventeen year old know who they are? She certainly did know herself and her limitations better. I found myself screaming at these characters a lot. Things like “why are you going in there alone?” and “don’t do that!” Which I believe it’s the whole point in mystery/thriller books like this one, so I will call it a job well done by the author.

I enjoyed the fact that there was no “killer point of view” in the story, which always ruins the plot for me. I like when I can keep guessing who the killer is until the big reveal. I am a 911 dispatcher and have a degree in Forensics, and I was happy that the 911 call placed in the book was very realistic. Also, the criminal and legal aspects of the case were genuine as well. I really enjoyed all the recorded interviews, case notes, and other tidbits included in the book. I highly recommend this story to all Mystery/Thriller fans out there, and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series which was just released April 30, 2020.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

The House in the Cerulean Sea

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the house in the cerulean sea by tj klune
Picture from Goodreads

Author: T.J. Klune

Published: March 17, 2020

Pages: 393

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

My review:

It’s the little things. Little treasures we find without knowing their origin. And they come when we least expect them.”

This book made my heart happy. It was so full of magic, love, and adorable characters that will stay with me for a long time after. For years I had been searching for a story that would give me all the same feelings that I had while reading Harry Potter, and I have finally found it. This story was all about family, and the fact that family can sometimes mean the people we surround ourselves with and love unconditionally, and not exactly the ones we are born into. It was also about overcoming our preconceived notions and prejudices, and learning to love others for who they truly are.

A person is more than where they come from.” “Than the sum of their parts.”

The character development was simply amazing. Each person stood apart from the others, with their own quirks and eccentricities. I had a really hard time picking a favorite character. From the adults I would have to say it was Linus, because how could I not? The story is told from his point of view, and we see him slowly come out of this fog he has been living in all his life and step into the light. From the kids I would have to go with Theodore, because I have a really soft spot for Wyverns. I should also mention that I found Linus’s next door neighbor simply hilarious, and I also loved his cat Calliope who always went after the neighbor’s yard squirrels.

“Sometimes,” Mr. Parnassus said, “our prejudices color our thoughts when we least expect them to. If we can recognize that, and learn from it, we can become better people.”

The plot was entrancing, and it kept me reading way into the early hours of the morning. There was a mysterious air to it that kept me wanting to learn more about this magical world and its inhabitants, about DICOMY and its function, and about the way the humans and the magical creatures could coexist. They barely did. If you have ever wondered what would have happened in Harry Potter if the magical world was no longer hidden from the muggles (or non-magical people), then this book is your answer. I recommend this book to all Fantasy fans, and all those wishing to read a wonderful heartwarming story.

We get trapped in our own little bubbles, and even though the world is a wide and mysterious place, our bubbles keep us safe from that. To our detriment.” She sighed. “But it’s so easy because there’s something soothing about routine. Day in and day out, it’s always the same. When we’re shaken from that, when that bubble bursts, it can be hard to understand all that we’ve missed. We might even fear it. Some of us even fight to try and get it back.”

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

Night of the Dragon

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Night of the dragon by julie kagawa
Picture from Goodreads

Author: Julie Kagawa

Series: Shadow of the Fox, #3

Published: March 31, 2020

Pages: 384

Synopsis from Goodreads: (**do not read synopsis unless you have read the rest of the series**)

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.

My Mini Review:

Life is not fair, Yumeko-chan, he murmured. Life is balance. Before spring, there must be winter. Before the sun, there must be darkness. What is, is what must be.”

This series definitely does not get all the hype it deserves. The character development, the humor, and the plot are all amazing. We are thrown into the action as soon as the story begins. There are a few respites in the middle, for romantic purposes and more character building, but then we are thrown right back into the action. I couldn’t help thinking the whole time what a great anime show this story would make, and I would find myself imagining some of the scenes animated.

I loved ALL the characters, but my favorite was Yumeko. She was such a strong female character, and she came such a long way by the end of the story. I was definitely not expecting all the twists and turns Kagawa threw at me. Our group of heroes was in mortal peril so many times that I felt like I had whiplash. There was a scene that actually brought tears to my eyes, and that almost NEVER happens. This was a great conclusion to an amazing series, and I highly recommend it to all Fantasy/ YA fans.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

The Grace Year

⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the grace year book by kim liggett
Picture from Goodreads

Author: Kim Liggett

Published: October 8, 2019

ISBN: 1250145449

Pages: 416

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

My Mini Review:

This book was a mixture of a female version of Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games. It delves into what happens when teenage girls are left to their own devices to survive by whatever means necessary. I found Tierny to be a strong female character who did her best to stay alive even when all odds were stacked against her. The plot was action packed and it kept me engaged and invested throughout. The premise of the story, despite the similarities to the other stories mentioned above, was very unique. I also admit to not having expected some of the plot twists.

Many people seem to have enjoyed this book. I really liked it, all they way until that terrible ending. Usually I don’t mind endings, to me it has always been the journey that matters. But this ending was so bad that it almost negated everything that came before it. Almost, but not quite. I believe there could be some redemption in the next book, if she does end up writing one. I don’t do spoilers, so I won’t say anything else on that matter. I would recommend this book if you are looking for a quick thrilling YA read, and if you are able to deal with an unsatisfying ending.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂

Scythe

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

scythe by neil shusterman
Picture from Goodreads

Author: Neil Shusterman

Series: Arc of a Scythe, #1

Published: November 22, 2016

ISBN: 1442472421

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

My Review:

Hope in the shadow of fear is the world’s most powerful motivator”

I can’t believe I waited so long to start reading this series. This was such a great book with a very unique story. I enjoyed how the author went into great detail describing this new world where there is no famine, war, or disease, and everything is controlled by an entity called “The Thunderhead,” which for some reason really reminded me of “The Cloud” I-phones use to store information. Shusterman did a great job explaining all the new terminology, and I did not feel overwhelmed or lost at any point.

There was a lot of character development as Citra and Rowan navigate through the moral and psychological ramifications of taking human lives. Usually I go for the strong female characters, but I couldn’t decide whom I liked best out of these two. Rowan definitely went through the most changes throughout the story, and Citra was so smart and cunning. There was a small romantic aspect here, but it did not take center stage.

Without the threat of suffering, we can’t experience true joy.”

The story was fast paced and action packed, but it also allowed some lulls in between the action for explanations. I especially enjoyed the diary entries from the different Scythes, which gave us a glimpse into their inner thoughts and fears. If you are a fan of YA/Fantasy and you have been putting off reading this story, I highly recommend you read it! You will not regret it. I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review. However, if you click on my link and end up buying the book Amazon will pay me a small fee. Thank you for supporting a small blog like mine 🙂