All Booked

I tried to do this thing where I read a book subscription book sooner rather than a year down the road from reading it and it worked out pretty well. Though I got this book in February from OwlCrate, I did not post that unboxing as I had little interest in doing so at the time. Still, here’s the review!

Crown of Feathers
Nicki Pau Preto
Pages: 486
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

Veronyka and her sister, Val, are the only two left of their family of phoenix riders. Riders and their animals have been banished from their country after two ruling sisters battled it out quite a few year prior. Despite this, Veronyka and Val manage to find phoenix eggs wherein only one hatches and becomes bonded to Veronyka who is thrilled at this rare chance to bond with something she is meant to bond with.

After a few events take place, Veronyka leaves her seemingly cold-hearted and cruel sister to find a community of phoenix riders rumored to still exist on a mountainside. She finds them, disguises herself as a boy, and hopes she can win their trust and still become a phoenix rider.

This story is told from several varying perspectives including a phoenix rider named Tristan, and a soldier named Sev, and Veronyka. I enjoyed their different sides and the reason they all were important in the end. The bonds between the phoenixes was a great piece of this story as well as the underlying story of the two ruling sisters who turned against each other and why that leads us to the story we have today. I also liked the ending with Val and why I think her story will become such a huge deal in the next book in this series.

Without giving spoilers, one piece I did not like are when Tristan, Veronyka, and the other riders spend their time training. Cut out some of the training pieces which become a little repetitive and give me more of the last third of the book which was fun to read.

Overall, a great and quick read that I enjoyed the entire way through. I’m glad I finally picked up a book box book so soon. Oh, and the cover for this book is insanely gorgeous!

Look. I’m going to be straightforward here. I have not been in the mood to type anything for this blog in months. I started 2019 strong by writing up a bunch of review posts but have dwindled on my enjoyment of them. Despite this, my reading hasn’t changed and I’ve got quite a few books I still want to review so here we go.

Warrior of the Wild
Tricia Levenseller
Pages: 352
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

This is a simple review. This was a relatively simple book. It was a fun read, but a simple one. Rasmira is hoping to follow in her warrior father’s footsteps and rule over her town one day. That is the path she chose as a child and now her trial is upon her to prove she is deserving of that title and to make her father proud. However, she is sabotaged during her trial and subsequently banished from her village with an expectation to return from an impossible task: killing a God.

This wasn’t overly complicated as I’ve already mentioned. You don’t have to know much about mythology or Gods or even warriors. This story felt like it had just enough character growth to be believable and I do have to admit I didn’t see the ending coming. There is a “romance” though it is not the main focus of the story and allowed me to focus on how in the world Rasmira was going to KILL A GOD.

I enjoyed the pacing of the story and definitely felt disappointment whenever I had to set this book down to sleep or eat (petty human tasks, tsk tsk). Minor complaints were around the surprise at the end which felt like an unnecessary jolt, and the way in which Rasmira interacted with her family which I felt completely disconnected to during the entire story.

Overall – great, easy, simple, fun read. Would recommend if you’re looking for something fun but not overly complicated!

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The Waking Forest
Alyssa Wees
Pages: 304
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 2/5

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This book. THIS BOOK.

Into the Drowning Deep
Mira Grant
Pages: 448
Genre: Horror / Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

Ya’ll. This book. I cannot. I read it a few months ago but never did a review. I remember telling my best friend while reading it how freaked out I was about this story. It’s creepy as hell.

Seven years before the present story, there was a ship, the Atargatis, that set out to visit the Mariana Trench. The only thing that comes back from that trip is video of what appears to be “mermaids” boarding the ship and killing everyone onboard.

Now, Victoria Stewart, who has dedicated her life to studying sounds in the ocean, is given a chance to make the same trip to prove (or disprove) the existence of the creatures who some believe killed the entirety of the Atargatis – including her sister who was on that ship seven years ago. This trip is fueled with some of the top scientific people in the world. While many are excited for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to study their life’s work, some are hesitant of the potential dangers.

I cannot really say much beyond this as, if I do, it gives away half the story. But, let me tell you my feelings around this story: They were INTENSE. I do not recall ever having to set a book down because my heart was racing so fast before. I’ve read suspenseful books, but this was so intense I wondered if I could finish this. One night I even had a nightmare about this story – that’s how scared I was. HAHA. Now, I’m also slightly a wimp so I wouldn’t bank your views of this book on my weak heart.

Despite the horror of this book, that’s also what I enjoyed about it the most – it didn’t chicken out at any point and you genuinely didn’t know what was going to happen because of that which I appreciate.

I would highly recommend this book and it is certainly a book that is going to stick with me for a long time.

Prepare yourself for a little bad-mouthy, snarky review. Not all bad, but…hey. This book deserved it. Haha.

Furyborn
Claire Legrand
Pages: 501
Genre: YA Fantasty
Rating: 3/5

This is a story told between two different girl’s (women’s?) perspectives. First, we have Rielle, who has more powers than anyone else of her time that center around all the elements. She has spent her life hiding her talents out of fear, but after they are unwillingly shown to those around her, she is put to the test to see if she is one of the prophesized queens. Second, we have Eliana, who is living a thousand years later where magic and powers no longer exist, yet she finds her body magically heals itself after any injury. She spends her life as a bounty hunter for the Empire and it allows her to take care of her brother and mother – who suddenly goes vanishing a long with hundreds of other women. Is Rielle one of the prophesized queens; the Queen of Light or the Queen of Blood? Where is Eliana’s mother and the many missing girls? Will she be able to use her skills to protect her?

As always, honesty is key. I struggled the first part of this book. To the point that I was forcing myself to read one chapter a day because I found I didn’t like either Rielle or Eliana at the beginning. I didn’t understand where the story was going, I didn’t understand why both were important to their own stories let alone to each other’s stories. Lastly, I didn’t like how selfish they both were. The beginning of their stories is a very slow build – I would say it was mostly around character build (which is probably why I struggled so bad). The people in both of their lives are initially dull, flat, and serve little purpose to the girls’ lives.

FINALLY, half way through this book I started actually giving a damn about these two characters and where their lives were suddenly heading. Eliana, in one swift move, is forced between the Empire and her enemies and ends up taking the journey of a lifetime (not in a necessarily all-inclusive resort type of way, that’s for sure). She drags along her brother in search of their mother. A lot of truths come out, a lot of thing are learned about Eliana and those around her. I enjoyed her story in the second half a little more than Rielle’s.

Rielle, on the other hand, is faced into these sort of extreme obstacle courses that everyone comes to see – mostly to see if she will die in the process of trying to get out of each of them. However, her secret is one that resides inside her head and it opens up a CAN. OF. WORMS., folks. That girl is T.R.O.U.B.L.E. I didn’t like her relationship to some of the other characters including the love interest which felt so…uncomfortably rushed at points. But, here we are.

Lastly, let’s briefly discuss that ending. Because. OK, ma’ams and sirs. Mostly I’m referring to the graphic and disturbing pieces around Eliana’s journey. Let’s just say “zombie” is a good reference for how it came across to me. I don’t like zombies. Creeped me out, but in a good way I think?

Overall, if you’re looking for a slow character build that leads to a very strange cliff-ending storyline, this is a great book to pick up. I did get an e-arc of Kingsbane but I wasn’t ready to start it until I could summarize my thoughts on this book, first. Just in the off chance I got things mixed up between the two!

Howdy. This is one of the few books I’ve picked up in the past few months. I’m glad I was able to read this book!

Hope and Other Punch Lines
Julie Buxbaum
Pages: 304
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 3.75/5

I enjoyed this. I enjoy every Buxbaum novel I’ve read and this was another I enjoyed. I didn’t enjoy it AS much as others, but I still found myself binging it all in one day.

This follows Abbi Hope, aka “Baby Hope”, is the main focus of a picture taken on September 11th when she was just a baby. This picture has sparked “hope” for many people and she grows up as somewhat of a symbol for those who have a story to tell about where they were that day. However, she struggles with this image being plastered to her as she is now a teen and finds herself uneasy being noticed as such an iconic symbol for so many people.

Abbi is starting an 8 week job at a kid’s summer camp and hopes to remain under the radar and enjoy her summer despite some recent issues that have arisen in her life. There, she runs into a fellow classmate, Noah, who thinks it’s fate running into “Baby Hope”. Noah believes Abbi can help him answer his own questions around the image of her as a child on that fateful day. He enlists Abbi’s help in digging for answers and they discover a lot about the world around them, each other, and mostly themselves.

I enjoyed both of their stories and how they combined. I should have seen how the book was going to end because I’ve read enough of Buxbaum’s stories by now to know, but I didn’t. Perhaps I enjoy living in the moment of the story so much I refuse to consider how things will end so I can still find a surprise here and there. This is a lovely, quick, witty, and fun story. I would definitely recommend for a quick summer read!

Hi all!

I began reading many (MANNYY) moons ago. I have some of the most amazing bookish feelings and thoughts about a lot of books I read while growing up. This is one of those books. I couldn’t 100% remember the premise of this book, but I have owned this book for a while now, and I thought it was about time to give it an overdue re-read.

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I love Jodi Picoult. You say her name and I’m attached. Speaking of, my best friend mentioned to me a few weeks ago she was a guest on Jonathan Van Ness’s podcast – Getting Curious – so I immediately dropped everything to listen to her. Was I absolutely enthralled with every word she spoke? Of course.

I’ve been trying to slowly re-read all of her books (or listen to them on audio now as a newer experience). Last year I listened to Leaving Time and was so happy to be back in her worlds. So, when I saw Sing You Home was available on audio from the library I said “gee, OK!” and immediately started listening to the story. Here are my thoughts.

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I read Letters to the Lost a few months ago and I fell in love with that story. I don’t know why sad, contemporary books are my thing right now but I’m living for them and the feelings they’re giving me.

More Than We Can Tell is a companion novel to Letters to the Lost. You don’t need to have read the first one to read this story, but to understand some of the characters it might help a little. Let’s do a quick review!

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Hi!

Playing catch up with a few of my January reads. This was one of the first books I dove head first into this month. Let’s not waste time here and head towards the review of this book.

Even If I Fall
Abigail Johnson
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 352
Would I Recommend: Yes – if you want to cry

Overview of the book:

Brooke and her family are social pariahs after her older brother admitted to killing his best friend over a year prior to where this story begins. Brooke is broken, lonely, ashamed, lost, and any other difficult emotion you can imagine. She begins a new friendship with an outsider who doesn’t know yet about her family’s past and she also begins to connect to Heath – the brother of boy her own brother killed. They begin navigating their emotions with and on each other (sometimes in a negative way, sometimes not) to learn to cope with the pain they both feel.

My Thoughts:

I cried. I was lying in bed at one point in this book and my husband came in and asked why I was crying. I didn’t know how to explain that Brooke’s pain was so realistic at points and that I resonated so much with it that it hurt me. This story is not perfect – it isn’t flawlessly written or explored. However, it is a tangle of realness and those are the pieces that stuck with me the most.

Brooke is navigating in a world that she doesn’t understand and feels completely alone in doing. She has a new acquired friend, Maggie, who just arrived into town and doesn’t yet know why she is such a secluded person. Brooke’s only escape is the ice skating she has been doing since a young age.

Happenstance finds Brooke crossing paths with Heath – the brother of the boy her own brother murdered. I enjoyed this relationship. They are two people who should and do despise each other – because they “should” given their situations. There is a decent amount of honest conversation between the two and some of it made me cringe a little with how rough things were between them, as you’d expect. However, I enjoyed this strangeness – that they both were so desperate to feel something besides the hollowness they’d been feeling for different reasons, and how they worked through them by bouncing off each other.

The parts that actually tore my heart apart were around Brooke’s family. There were scenes where she is so utterly helpless and desperate to connect again, even for just a split second, with her mom, dad, or sister and it doesn’t happen again and again. Maybe I related to this because of my own personal life more than someone else might – but these scenes killed me. Johnson made Brooke feel, for me, like she was at the bottom of a deep well, struggling to keep her head above water and not give up on life. Brooke’s will to keep going despite everything she was living through was such a great light in this story, and I appreciated the darkness we were shown, too. Heartbreaking on so many levels.

I also want to touch on Brooke’s relationship with her brother which I think is important for the story. He is a murderer. He is not a pure character. But Brooke still loves him – that is still her brother. Johnson paints a great dilemma where I tried to figure out how I would feel if this was one of my siblings. Do we stop loving someone who was once so important to us for doing such a heinous act? Brooke didn’t stop and I appreciated that look as this is a reality for many people who have family or good friends who may have done (or are accused of doing) similar acts.

The reasons I didn’t give this a full 5 / 5 was because there were parts of the ice skating sections that bored me. I get it. I do. I understand the need to have this piece of her life she can rely on despite everything else. I used to ice skate for years as a child. I get it. Promise. But sometimes it was so boring.

The other reason was because I wasn’t 100% living for the “mysterious” piece towards the end around her brother. It felt forced compared to the rest of the story. I would have been OK if the story didn’t have this piece in it – the emotions tied to this story were enough for me.

Overall rating: 4.25 / 5

Girl Made of Stars
Ashley Herring Blake
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 304
Would I recommend: Yes.

Overview of Book:

This book follows Mara and her twin, Owen, in the aftermath of Owen being accused of raping his girlfriend. Mara is friends with Hannah, Owen’s now-ex-girlfriend, and finds herself confused, overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do between loving her twin and believing one of her best friends.

Triggers:
rape, sexual assault, victim shaming


My thoughts:

I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy this book because I feel these topics can be done incorrectly, insensitively, or without enough information to follow through with it appropriately. However, that was not the case for this book and I ended up struggling to put it down until I completed the story.

Seeing how Mara struggled through a large array of feelings, thoughts, and coping mechanisms based on not only the accused rape her brother committed, but also her own past issues, and dealing with her ex-girlfriend were wonderful to experience.

This book is great if you want to travel the very bumpy and uncertain path of someone who becomes placed in a series of situations that could be difficult to manage by anyone. I would definitely recommend this story if you’re up to the heavy topics.


Overall rating:
4.75/5

Let’s discuss.

  • Have you read this book?
  • What are your thoughts on the sensitive topics?
  • Did you enjoy this book as much as I did?


It’s me. Hi. How are you today?

Time for another review. My mood reading has been a little erratic and I wanted something that required little brain power, a hopefully happy ending, and a little bit of curiosity or love involved. I LOVED What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum and thought I’d give her other story a chance. Tell Me Three Things came before What to Say Next, but I was still excited and picked this up on audio. Let’s discuss!


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Tell Me Three Things
By: Julie Buxbaum
Pages: 328
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Audiobook


Book Synopsis:

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?


My Thoughts:

I adored this book so much. Perhaps I just like Buxbaum’s writing (thus far I have), but I loved this story. It wasn’t super heavy, it wasn’t something that I felt had extremely troubling problems. It was simple, fun, and I could not stop listening. Buxbaum’s conversation at the end discussed how she dealt with the death of someone in her own family at a young age and how she put pieces of herself into this story. This made it so much sweeter when I was done with this story.

Jessie is struggling with the death of her mother and counts in days how long it’s been since she was taken from her and her father. However, she is not only coping with this loss, but with being moved to L.A. after her father marries someone he met through a bereavement group. Her new stepmother is extremely rich and Jessie’s new home feels sterile yet her new step-brother seems flashy and mean.

Jessie doesn’t know how to fit in at this new prep school where everyone is rich and she feels out of place. She gets an e-mail from “Somebody/Nobody” (SN) a few weeks into starting school who offers to help her in exchange for keep his identity a secret. While she’s hesitant at first, she wants to stop feeling so alone and takes the advice SN gives. She starts making new friends and has a confidant who she desperately wants to meet.

She goes through a wide range of emotions in this book: how the loss of her mother affects her; finding herself with crushes on boys she doesn’t think will ever notice her; despising and feeling sorry for her dad; feeling sorry for herself yet wanting to improve her life; navigating bullying; losing her home and friends. I mean, for how short this story was there was a lot jammed into it and I devoured it all eagerly.

I loved Jessie. I truly did. I also loved her new friendships with other females which I feel like we don’t see enough in books. I loved those new friends of hers. I also enjoyed the variety of boys Jessie interacted with in a pretty innocent way. I loved most of this story.

The only parts I didn’t enjoy (yet did?) are the very trope-y things. Mean girls dating the most popular boys. Girls bullying girls and no one doing anything about it. Jessie’s dad randomly marrying someone without telling her and making her suddenly move to a new state? I mean. What? Other than that, though, if you’re willing to not let any of those things really bother you and just enjoy a fluffy book, I’d recommend this. Cute. It was cute. I like.


  • Ok. Who has read this?
  • What did you think?
  • Have you read either of Buxbaum’s stories?

♥♥