Down the TBR Rabbit Hole

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole #15

This post was originated by Lost In A Story, who no longer blogs about books it looks like, but this post idea lives on without her! I will take five books on my TBR and assess if I still want to read them. It’s a way to clean up your list and remember books you wanted to read!

Here are my five books this week!

#1: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Goodreads Synopsis: Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Keep It? YES! A girl dressing up as a boy to rise above her station? COUNT ME IN.

#2: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Goodreads Synopsis: Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall—named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining…

Keep It? No. I watched the movie and it was very cute. Maybe I’ll read it one day, but there are so many books I want to read I’m passing on this for now!

#3: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Goodreads Synopsis: Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Keep It? Yes! I own it! I plan on reading it very soon!

#4: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Goodreads Synopsis: Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

Keep It? Yes, but I probably won’t read this until covid is over cause it sounds dark!

#5: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

Goodreads Synopsis: Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32-years-old and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

Keep It? No. I always think I will want to read Christmas books, and then I never do.

I kept 3/5 this week! And I’m especially looking forward to reading The Cruel Prince soon!

Reviews

Book Review: Riot Baby

Author: Tochi Onyebuchi

Page Count (Libby on iPhone): 158

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella—through visits both mundane and supernatural—tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Hoooooly shit this book was good. It’s a book that’s smarter than me FOR SURE so I’m going to do my best to review it, but you should go read it for yourself. This review has some mild spoilers, but nothing crazy.

Me laying down after reading this book

This book divides it’s chapters into four places, with time jumps in between each one: South Central, Harlem, Rikers and Watts. It starts in 1992 with the LA Riots, and ends sometime in the future, with technology that is a little bit beyond our own, but not so far away that it doesn’t scare the shit out of me. In the first chapter, we meet Ella, a little girl who grew up fearing for her little brother’s life. She sees how the cops treat black boys and is afraid her mother will give birth to a son. But her mother does, and this is where we start to see Ella’s powers.

Ella can do all sorts of things later on: teleport, see into people’s memories, and even take someone with her while doing these things. But as a child, she struggles with controlling them, hurting her mother often in the process. Her brother, Kev, is a first-hand witness to her. But even Ella can’t keep Kev protected from the cops all the time. She tries, for Kev feels her protection, but once Ella moves to New Haven (I’m assuming for college, but I don’t think the book specifies), Kev ends up with the wrong group of kids and goes to prison.

This is what’s crazy though and I realize that I’m a privileged white person who should have read more Black stories a long time ago: he’s a child, but tried as an adult (I’m guessing) because in the Rikers chapter Kev talks about being in juvenile first. Which then later when a prisoner asks him how long he had been inside, he realizes it had been EIGHT YEARS. EIGHT YEARS FOR SOMETHING HE DID AS A CHILD. I know this book is fiction, but this happens in real life for Black boys all the time. It’s gut-wrenching.

I’ve spent most of this review talking about plot, but it sets up the kind of struggles Ella and Kev have. Both of them are beautiful characters. Ella wants to use her gifts to save her people, but she doesn’t know how and feels like she has to get permission to do so. Kev is time and time again burdened by injustice of systemic racism. But all of this is underlined with a fantasy element of Ella’s gifts, making the story beautifully flow in and out of realism and fantasy.

This book’s a powerful, fantastic read, using fantasy to weave hope for Ella and Kev, two people society has failed, with a jaw-dropping ending. 5/5 stars and go read it!

Reviews

Book Review: Cress

Author: Marissa Meyer

Page Count (Paperback): 550

Synopsis: Cress, the hacker for Queen Levana, daydreams from her satellite of going to Earth. When Cinder’s mission to rescue her goes awry, her team is split between two planets, and they must race against the clock to get back together in time to save Emperor Kai from his impending nuptials.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

This review is quick and spoiler-free!

Cress’s goals this book

Look, this is book three and all these books are a delight. Meyer has crafted fun, female heroines for us to root for and seeing their stories intertwine is a delight.

Cress is such a curious character because of her innocence: she’s spent the last seven years stuck in a satellite, only seeing her captor once a month or so for blood tests. So, she’s done what many of us have done in the past, and cyberstalked her crush, Carswell Thorne, to figure out if he’s really a hero or not. In a story that would easily be cringey, instead we get to see Cress’s brutal honesty about her situation that makes her and Thorne’s friendship real. And while them walking around in the desert gets a little old at times, it’s charming to see the two of them gain each other’s trust.

In the other stories, Cinder starts to step into her role as a leader of the Lunars. She gets dropped into a town, unbeknownst to her, full of Lunars. We see that maybe there is real hope for Princess Selene to take over from Levana. Maybe Cinder can actually assume the throne, if once people are out of from Levana’s mind control, they realize she is not the leader their moon needs.

I think my favorite aspect of all these stories is the romance. All of them are a little bit “love at first sight” starting out, but any romance in real life starts from a place of being attracted to people’s physical features. But then, as these couples go on adventures, we start to see them learn from each other and, like I said earlier, trust each other. It’s such a treat to read these stories, then with the excellent world building and plot, these books knock it out of the park.

I will say these books are a bit slower paced than I remember. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m reading them for the second time, so as I read I remember various plot points. But then also characters like walk around in the desert for like a hundred pages, so it’s 4.5/5 stars from me, not the full 5! But this series is a lot of fun with the right amount of sad!

Monday Morning in the Bog

Monday Evening in the Bog! 7/6/20

I couldn’t post this morning because my internet was out all day! So we have an evening in the bog instead, sounds spooky! I like it!

Currently Reading: Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi

Queue: Winter by Marissa Meyer

  • The Upside of Falling by Alex Light
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  • The Wicked King by Holly Black
  • The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
  • Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callendar
  • An Unkindess of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

Fun life updates!

  • I finished Horizon Zero Dawn! It’s such a fun game, and the story is sooo good and clear, it was such a fun game.
  • I started Kingdom Hearts 3 and it’s… the opposite. I have no idea what is going on and Sora is a whiny baby. Not like my gal Aloy.
  • I have library books coming soon! We can now do hold pick ups and I am SO EXCITED to say good bye to e books! I put like 10 books on hold so I’ll be good for like two months, haha.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole #14

This post was originated by Lost In A Story, who no longer blogs about books it looks like, but this post idea lives on without her! I will take five books on my TBR and assess if I still want to read them. It’s a way to clean up your list and remember books you wanted to read!

Here are my five books this week!

#1: Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Goodreads Synopsis: Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

Keep It? No, doesn’t sound interesting to me.

#2: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Goodreads Synopsis: All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Keep It? Yes! This book sounds so good! Magic books, count me in.

#3: The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

Goodreads Synopsis: Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in Alexandra Oliva’s fast-paced novel of suspense.

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it human-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.

Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.

Keep It? No. I don’t want to read about reality TV gone wrong, or any society gone wrong that isn’t fantasy. Hits too close to home right now.

#4: Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement by Rich Kaarlgard

Goodreads Synopsis: We live in a society where kids and parents are obsessed with early achievement, from getting perfect scores on SATs to getting into Ivy League colleges to landing an amazing job at Google or Facebook–or even better, creating a start-up with the potential to be the next Google or Facebook or Uber. We see software coders become millionaires or billionaires before age thirty and feel we are failing if we are not one of them.

Late bloomers, on the other hand, are undervalued in popular culture by educators and employers, and even unwittingly by parents. Yet the fact is, a lot of us – most of us – do not explode out of the gates in life. We have to discover our passions and talents and gifts. That was true for author Rich Karlgaard, who had a mediocre academic career at Stanford (which he got into by a fluke) and, after graduating, worked as a dishwasher and nightwatchman before finally finding the inner motivation and drive that ultimately led him to start up a high-tech magazine in Silicon Valley, and eventually to become the publisher of Forbes magazine.

There is a scientific explanation for why so many of us bloom later in life. The executive function of our brains doesn’t mature until age twenty-five – and later for some. In fact, our brain’s capabilities peak at different ages. We actually experience multiple periods of blooming in our lives. Moreover, late bloomers enjoy hidden strengths due to taking the time to discover their way in life – strengths coveted by many employers and partners, including curiosity, insight, compassion, resilience, and wisdom.

Based on years of research, personal experience, interviews with neuroscientists, psychologists, and countless people at different stages of their careers, Late Bloomers reveals how and when we achieve our full potential, and why today’s focus on early success is so misguided, and even harmful.

Keep It? No. I agree with the sentiment of this book, but I don’t feel like I need to read a whole book about it.

#5: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskill

Goodreads Synopsis: Set in English society before the 1832 Reform Bill, Wives and Daughters centres on the story of youthful Molly Gibson, brought up from childhood by her father. When he remarries, a new step-sister enters Molly’s quiet life – loveable, but worldly and troubling, Cynthia. The narrative traces the development of the two girls into womanhood within the gossiping and watchful society of Hollingford.

Wives and Daughters is far more than a nostalgic evocation of village life; it offers an ironic critique of mid-Victorian society. ‘No nineteenth-century novel contains a more devastating rejection than this of the Victorian male assumption of moral authority’, writes Pam Morris in her introduction to this new edition, in which she explores the novel’s main themes – the role of women, Darwinism and the concept of Englishness – and its literary and social context.

Keep It? Yes! I want to read more classics written by women, and this book is on my “have to get to” list for this year!

So I only kept 2/5 books! I am proud of myself for this one. Plus, the two I kept I am excited to read!

Reviews

Mini Review: The Perfect Escape

Time for a YA Contemporary mini review!

This review is itty bitty like this kitty

Author: Suzanne Park

Page Count (Libby on iPhone): 306

Premise: Nate Kim works at a zombie escape room part time. He meets a cute girl named Kate Anderson who convinces him to be her partner for a Zombie Apocalypse competition, where the prize money is 50k. Nate quickly develops feelings for her, but can he get the guts to tell her?

Rating: 3/5 stars

Look, if you like zombies and teens falling in love, you’re going to think this book is great. It is cute, the love story is nice, and there are exciting moments where character’s goals are blocked. But, in general this book felt pieced together, not fluid. We don’t spend much time at the escape room, the plot and prose generally seem sort of choppy, and there seemed to be some weird plot holes to me. Like it’s made clear that his family struggles with money, yet he has a Hermione Granger action figure worth 500 dollars. Also, that Nate didn’t figure out right away who Kate was. He’s obsessed with her dad, yet doesn’t know what his kid looks like? I feel like he must have googled the man before! But there is nothing WRONG with this book, per say, and it’s a nice read. 3/5 stars from me!

Monday Morning in the Bog

Monday Morning in the Bog! 6/29/20

So, I totally bailed on any posts last week because I was busy finishing up an application to a fellowship that soaked up all my time and I went back to work! But I am back this week and here’s what I’m reading:

Currently Reading: The Perfect Escape by Suzanne Park

Queue: An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

  • Cress by Marissa Meyer
  • Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • One of us is Lying by Karen McManus
  • Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebochi
  • The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson
  • Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

Okay, also it’s so embarrassing but I read half on An Unkindness of Ghosts and then my library return ran out!!! I can’t remember the last time this happened to me. I just didn’t plan out my reading time right because last week ended up being so crazy. However, I should get it back in the next two weeks, then I’ll finish it and do the review.

Also, check out the special collab that I posted this morning with Peace and Love and Veggies!

Reviews

Book Review and Collab with Peace and Love and Veggies: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Today’s book review is a special one! It’s a collaboration with Rebecca at Peaceandloveandveggies.com!

A couple months ago, we each gave each other five book recommendations and had to choose one. I was so excited because she LOVES contemporary novels, a genre I have been branching into more lately. Here are the five she picked for me:

  • Truly Devious
  • The Poet X
  • Radio Silence
  • The Hating Game
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

It was so hard to choose just one! In fact, it was so hard that ultimately I went with the one that was on sale at the time… Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine! I plan to read the rest of the titles she recommended too, it was such a great list.

My review is below. I had so much fun with this collab! Be sure to check out Rebecca’s blog, where you can see the books I picked for her and the one she chose to read! Also, check out her great bookstagram, @my_bookish_universe!


Author: Gail Honeyman

Page Count: 325

Synopsis (from Goodreads): No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

the only way to survive is to open your heart.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

 Me to Eleanor Oliphant

Well, this book GOT me. If you want to read this one, which you should, be sure to grab some tissues.

I immediately loved Eleanor Oliphant. She has this no-nonsense, truly one-of-a-kind outlook on life that makes you fall and root for her right away. I’d say the first thirty pages or so are just these funny insights into Eleanor’s mind, like how she sees food as fodder (pg. 4) or that she feels sorry for beautiful people (pg. 25). At first I thought, surely the whole book can’t just be this woman giving us her different opinion on normal life things, and it’s not. I want to avoid spoilers so I can’t say anymore, but we get into Eleanor’s rich history and why she is the way she is.

The plot is a slow burn, one that I didn’t see coming. I assumed it would be a love story, but like the synopsis suggests, it’s a friendship story, which made me love it even more. That brings us to Raymond, my favorite marshmallow man character that has ever existed. They get to know each other because he is the IT guy at Eleanor’s work, and their strange bond only continues because they save a man (or as Eleanor would correct me, called for help who saved them man) who fell in the middle of the street. This is the moment where we see Raymond insist on doing the right thing for the first time, and then we see him do it time and time again.

Look, this book is so delightfully written that I say you just need to go read it for yourself. This is Gail Honeyman’s DEBUT, and her voice is so fresh that I cannot wait for her next book. I will say that I gave it 4/5 stars because I felt like the ending was a little too out there for me and I didn’t really buy it in general. But, I enjoyed the book before that so much that it didn’t really matter to me.

4/5 stars! And go check out Rebecca’s review of the book she picked from my five recommendations!

Reviews

Book Review: Scarlet

Author: Marissa Meyer

Page Count (Paperback): 452

Synopsis: Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother has been missing for two weeks. With no leads and nowhere to turn, she meets a mysterious man named Wolf who may have the answers. But are his intentions as sharp as his teeth?

Oh and our pal Cinder is in this too. From the last book.

*** I recognize this synopsis almost means nothing but I’m just so damn proud of myself for that cheeky teeth line***

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I’m gonna keep this brief, as I promised!

Pulling out my cheese puffs for energy like my pal Liz Lemon

Scarlet is a fun book two. We learn more about Earth in a new setting, France, and get an additional storyline in Scarlet that intertwines with Cinder’s. We meet Scarlet trying to keep up with the demands of the farm left behind after her grandmere’s disappearance, but emotionally struggling. Her grandmother was like her mother, and she has no idea where she went. This great love to fight for her grandmother made Scarlet so lovable. I was rooting for her this entire book because of the great sacrifices she made to find and save her grandmother.

There is a love story, but it wasn’t my favorite! It’s instant-love and I didn’t really get why the main male character was different from the rest of the characters of his type (trying to avoid spoilers, sorry not to get more specific). I wish we had a little more backstory about him, but perhaps we will get it in later books! All in all, I didn’t get why they were together. It was cute and nice in parts, and I still found them swoonworthy, but I preferred the love story in Cinder. And to anyone who is like – this isn’t instant love! They were an item in a matter of like two days. That’s instant love.

There are more characters and stories in play in this book, and I think Meyer weaved it all together quite nicely. I thought Cinder’s story was a bit slow, but we get a new character, Thorne, from current-day America, and he’s a real asshole that we love to love.

Overall, this one gets 4/5 stars from me. Not quite as good as Cinder to me because the story felt slower and the instant love, but I still enjoyed it!

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole #13

This post was originated by Lost In A Story, who no longer blogs about books it looks like, but this post idea lives on without her! I will take five books on my TBR and assess if I still want to read them. It’s a way to clean up your list and remember books you wanted to read!

Here are my five books this week!

Me trying to take books off my TBR

#1: Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Goodreads Synopsis: Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe … which is now filling with blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

Keep It? No. I am not interested in a story glorifying one of the evil stepsisters any more. Maybe this book doesn’t do that, but I don’t see myself reading this.

#2: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Goodreads Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Keep it? Uh duh, yes! This book is YA royalty and I will read it one day, maybe next year after I am finally done reading all of Sarah J. Mass’s books (THERE ARE SO MANY). I can only handle one giant series at a time.

#3: How the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman

Goodreads Synopsis: Since her sister’s tragic death, seventeen-year-old Callie Ryan has basically given up. Her grades have plummeted, she’s quit her swim team, and she barely recognizes the people her parents have become.

When she returns to her aunt’s run-down coastal Victorian one year after Chloe’s death, Callie resigns herself to a summer of guilt and home renovations. She doesn’t expect to be charmed by the tiny coastal town or by Tucker Morgan, a local boy brimming with sunshine.

But even as her days begin to brighten, Callie’s nights are crowded with chilling dreams, unanswered questions, and eerie phenomenon that have her convinced she’s being haunted. Will Callie be able to figure out what her sister is trying to communicate before it’s too late? 

Keep It? Yes, romance plus some spooky? I’m here for it.

#4: We are the Ghosts by Vicky Skinner

Goodreads Synopsis: After her estranged brother suddenly dies, a girl embarks on a road trip to rediscover who her brother really was in this contemporary YA novel.

When Ellie’s estranged brother, Luke, dies in a car accident, she’s not sure whether to be devastated that she lost the person who was once her best friend or enraged, still, that he left without a word a year ago. Now, the only people who seem to understand what she’s going through are Luke’s best friend and his ex-girlfriend, who she bonds with over their desire to figure out where Luke went when he walked out of their lives.

As she gets closer to them, and closer to Cade, a boy who seems determined to get to know her better, she realizes that she’s not the only one with reasons to be angry at Luke. And when Ellie makes a discovery that changes everything, she and her new friends hit the road, hoping that following Luke’s trail will bring them answers about the life Luke was living away from them.

Keep It? No. I added this because I was trying to read more books from Swoon Reads, but I can only handle so many siblings-dying kind of books. This one doesn’t peak my interest enough to keep.

#5: The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined by Stephanie Hemphill

Goodreads Synopsis: Jehanne was an illiterate peasant, never quite at home among her siblings and peers. Until one day, she hears a voice call to her, telling her she is destined for important things. She begins to understand that she has been called by God, chosen for a higher purpose — to save France.

Through sheer determination and incredible courage, Jehanne becomes the unlikeliest of heroes. She runs away from home, dresses in men’s clothes, and convinces an army that she will lead France to victory.

As a girl in a man’s world, at a time when women truly had no power, Jehanne faced constant threats and violence from the men around her. Despite the impossible odds, Jehanne became a fearless warrior who has inspired generations.

This extraordinary verse novel from award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill dares to imagine how an ordinary girl became a great leader, and ultimately saved a nation.

The Language of Fire is a lyrical, dark, and moving look at the life of Joan of Arc, who as a teen girl in the fifteenth century commanded an army and helped crown a king of France. 

Keep It? No because I hate novels in verse. They aren’t for me. Sorry Joan.

I really cut down this week, I only kept two! I’m quite proud of myself for all the slicing and dicing.