Taking a little break!

Hi! I don’t have tons of readers, but I did want to let everyone know I’m taking a little break from reviewing books. It started to feel like a chore and I found I was reading less because I didn’t have the time to write reviews. Not sure if I’ll give it up forever or just for now until life quiets down. But I’ll still be reading other people’s posts and reviews for recommendations! And I’m posting what I’m reading on Goodreads 🙂

Bye for now!

Monday Morning in the Bog

August Wrap-Up/September Goals

Hi everyone!

This month wasn’t a super fast reading month for me, but I read some real gems that I hope you check out!

August Reads:

Favorite Read of the Month: Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race. What a necessary book! I learned so much, I’ve been thinking on what Reni wrote about ever since I read it. I STILL need to write the recommendation for this book (I am not qualified to write a review about this book, so I am not going to!), but I really want to take my time on it so I have been putting it off. If you want to learn more about injustice that black people face (which we all should!) this book is for you! A very important read. Read it!

Now, I make my monthly book goals lofty, so here is what I hope to get to this month!

September Goals:

  • An Unkindess of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (This is my current read!! It will be finished!!!)
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • Ever the Brave by Erin Summerhill
  • Once a King by Erin Summerhill
  • The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel
  • Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
  • Passing by Nella Larsen
  • Every Other Weekend by Abigail Johnson

The order of this list is subject to change – we will see which ones the library makes me return first!!

What books are you guys excited to read this month? And what fall flavored drinks will you be enjoying with them? I can’t wait to make this pumpkin coffee creamer!



Book Review: Kingdom of Ash


Author: Sarah J. Maas

Page Count (Hardcover): 984 (!!!!)

Synopsis: Aelin Galaythinus remains trapped in Maeve’s iron box. Erawan’s dark forces are closing in. Dorian must find the last wyrdkey, most likely trapped deep in Morath. Rowan and his fae cadre must find Aelin and bring her to Terrasen before it’s too late. Manon must gather the Crochan witches so they stand a semblance of a chance against the Ironteeth. A thousand other storylines also that I cannot keep track of.

Will our friends escape inevitable doom and save their world?

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

GUYSSSSSS this finale!!! I loved this series and enjoyed so much of this book. I’ll do the first part spoiler free, then the last paragraph has minor, I mean MINOR spoilers.

The last 500 pages of this book.

I’m gonna make this review quick because let’s be real, if you made it all the way to book SEVEN of a series, you are gonna finish it.

Sarah J. Maas is the expert at payoff. Dear lord, I don’t know how she tracks all of her books details but she does and her imagery is on point. Half of this book was just me being like: oh yeah, that happened! When she called back certain characters, moments from the last books, moments from Aelin’s memories you had forgotten about, setting Aelin goes back to from the early books, it is so rewarding as the reader. That’s what made this such a satsifying finale: we truly saw how much each character went through and how they changed, and how they grew up. Can we ask for more from a YA series? I don’t think so.

This is a “final battle” book, so know that going in. I don’t have issues with final battle stories as long as they are earned, and this battle has done six books of earning itself. The battle lasted a whole lot longer than I thought it would, starting in the first 300 pages or so, but I guess that made sense in the way it was laid out.

So overall, I enjoyed this finale. I’m glad to know what happened to all of my friends, although I wish the resolution had been longer. After reading A Conjuring of Light I am dissatisfied with any resolution that’s too short. But, the resolution we got was satisfying. And I don’t want to spoil it, but there is that.

The critiques I have are minimal and similar to what I have seen other bloggers write about. It’s too long, like the thing happened alot where an event repeated itself in different characters POV. It felt okay because we knew these characters so well and we are so invested in them, but it still felt a little redundant. I will say that I feel like too many characters survived, which I was pretty surprised I felt that way because usually I am pissed when everyone dies. Maybe I just can’t be satisfied! Also, since most of the main characters were high ranking queens and kings, maybe there is an argument to be made that they are less likely to die in battle.


The last thing I will say about the book and the real reason why I knocked it down a half star was because in two of the relationships, they didn’t really get together until the dude was pretty much dead. Both of these women were furious at the guy, and for valid reasons! But then, once he was almost dead, it was like all the things he did didn’t matter anymore, the women finally forgave them, and then all was hunky dory. Which is like sure, death can make you realize when you are holding on to something, but this just made the women feel petty or something, which I don’t think that they were, that it took men almost dying for them to forgive them. Once couple in particular, Aedion and Lysandra, I wished hadn’t gotten together at the end. Aedion was downright cruel to Lysandra just because he didn’t get to be in the plan with Aelin. I honestly kinda wanted him to just die in this book and then for Lysandra to end up with Ren.

However, that plot point aside I thought this was a good finale. It’s always a treat to read Sarah J. Maas’s beautiful writing. 4.5/5 stars from me!


Book Recommendation: Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race

Author: Reni Eddo-Lodge

Page Count (Hardcover): 249 Pages

Synopsis (Goodreads): In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote about her frustration with the way that discussions of race and racism in Britain were being led by those who weren’t affected by it. She posted a piece on her blog, entitled: ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’ that led to this book.

Exploring issues from eradicated black history to the political purpose of white dominance, whitewashed feminism to the inextricable link between class and race, Reni Eddo-Lodge offers a timely and essential new framework for how to see, acknowledge and counter racism. It is a searing, illuminating, absolutely necessary exploration of what it is to be a person of colour in Britain today.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

This is an important read. I’m not reviewing this (I am not qualified to review this book!), just recommending it. So if for some reason you were on the fence on reading it, hopefully this recommendation might make you be like – yes, I will read this! Or maybe you’ve never heard of the book. Well, now you have! Go read it!

Me looking up from this book every five pages and processing what I learned.

Reni Eddo-Lodge is an expert at her craft, with engaging prose and staggering-real life examples of racism, clear-cut and backed by facts so that anyone who picks up this book could understand them. I felt like she sat me down and explained what I needed to know about race. Although I know I still have a lot to learn!

Here is a list of some of the things I learned:

  • Racism is about being in the position to negatively affect other people’s life chances. (pg. 2)
  • Institutional Racism (described in Sir William Macpherson’s public report of the murder of Stephen Lawrence): the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin.” (pg. 60)
  • Why “not seeing race” is harmful: we must see race to see who benefits from their race and who is disproportionately impacted by negative stereotypes about their race. (pg. 84)
  • White Privilege: an absence of the consequences of racism. (pg. 86)
  • Racism= prejudice + power (pg. 89)
  • White privilege gives white people unearned power; racism bolsters white people’s life chances, affords a quiet power, and is designed to maintain an unearned dominance. (pg. 116)
  • The story of black students protesting for the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes was deemed an imposition of freedom of speech by Oxford University Chancellor Lord Patten. “Somehow, it wasn’t believable that Lord Patten simply wanted free and fair debate and a healthy exchange of ideas on his campus. It looked like he just wanted silence, the kind of strained peace that simmers with resentment, the kind that requires some to suffer so that others are comfortable.” (pg. 131)
  • Why it’s so distressing that some people who read Harry Potter can accept/imagine a magical train platform, but they can’t accept Hermione, a central character, as black. (pgs. 135-139 dig into this, see this is why you have to read the book!!! I can’t explain it as well!)
  • Expectations of white femininity as docile, sweet and agreeable and how they lead to black women being labeled as “angry” (the whole “The Feminism Question” chapter) (this is very summarized, again read the book, it’s excellent. Have I given you enough reasons yet?)

There is a lot more to be learned, like the dark history of slavery in Britain, in this book that I did not mention here. So look, 5/5 stars. Read this book!!!

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole #20

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!

This is my 20th post! This is so much fun but also… so daunting how many books are out there that need to be read! Okay, now to this weeks slicing and dicing…

#1: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Goodreads Synopsis: At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

Keep It? Yes! Tor said this is like Pride and Prejudice but with magic and race, so sign me up!

#2:One of Us is Lying by Karen McMcManus

Goodreads Synopsis: Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.

Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.

Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.

And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.

Keep It? Yes! I’ve heard this is super good and I am going to read it!

#3: The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa De La Cruz

Goodreads Synopsis: Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he’s the Guild’s most dangerous member and the Queen’s one and only assassin. He’s also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow–to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.

Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts–to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt.

When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they’ll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they’ll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen’s Secret series.

Keep It? No. It just doesn’t sound like anything new or exciting, and I don’t love reading about assassins unless they are Celaena Sardothein.

#4: Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Goodreads Synopsis: When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests’ Austen fantasies. 

Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn’t sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside’s mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte’s heart be a sign of real-life love? 

The follow-up to reader favorite Austenland provides the same perfectly plotted pleasures, with a feisty new heroine, plenty of fresh and frightening twists, and the possibility of a romance that might just go beyond the proper bounds of Austen’s world. How could it not turn out right in the end?

Keep It? Yes. I liked the first one, but I haven’t read the Austen book this one is based on (Northanger Abbey), so it might be a while before I get to this!

#5: Fuddy Meers by David Lindsay Abaire

Goodreads Synopsis: Fuddy Meers revolves around an amnesiac, Claire, who wakes up every morning as a blank slate, on which her family must imprint the facts of her life. On this particular day, the shenanigans begin with Claire being abducted by a limping man who claims to be her brother trying to save her from her evil husband. They drive to the home of her mother, who has had a stroke that left her aphasic (her attempt to say funny mirrors provides the play’s title. The ensuing mayhem is both deliriously funny and oddly touching

Keep It? Yes! I bought this play a while ago; I read it in college and found it semi-recently in a used book shop. I HATE the cover, but I remember the play being good so I’ll read it one day!

I only got rid of one book this week! What books have you all refound on your TBR lists recently?

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole #19

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!

#1: The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

Goodreads Synopsis: Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

Keep It? Sure. It sounds fun!

#2: She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Goodreads Synopsis: In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years.

Meet Dolores Price. She’s 13, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood goodbye. Stranded in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the Mallomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally orbits into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she’s determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before she really goes under. 

Keep It? No. I don’t really get what the book is about from the synopsis, other than maybe she’s losing weight? I don’t want to read about weight stuff.

#3: High Fidelity by Nick Hornsby

Goodreads Synopsis: Do you know your desert-island, all-time, top five most memorable split-ups?

Rob does. He keeps a list, in fact. But Laura isn’t on it – even though she’s just become his latest ex. He’s got his life back, you see. He can just do what he wants when he wants: like listen to whatever music he likes, look up the girls that are on his list, and generally behaves as if Laura never mattered. But Rob finds he can’t move on. He’s stuck in a really deep groove – and it’s called Laura. Soon, he’s asking himself some big questions: about love, about life – and about why we choose to share ours with the people we do. 

Keep It? No. I watched the Hulu series and LOVED IT, and I’ve seen the movie, and I’m not going to get around to reading this.

#4: Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Goodreads Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

Keep It? Yes! This sounds great.

#5: Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West by Blaine Harden.

Goodreads Synopsis: New York Times bestseller, the shocking story of one of the few people born in a North Korean political prison to have escaped and survived.

North Korea is isolated and hungry, bankrupt and belligerent. It is also armed with nuclear weapons. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are being held in its political prison camps, which have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. Very few born and raised in these camps have escaped. But Shin Donghyuk did.

In Escape from Camp 14, acclaimed journalist Blaine Harden tells the story of Shin Dong-hyuk and through the lens of Shin’s life unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence-he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his own family. Through Harden’s harrowing narrative of Shin’s life and remarkable escape, he offers an unequaled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations and a riveting tale of endurance, courage, and survival.

Keep It? Yes, I will read this. I have read a book about North Korea and it’s hard to stomach, but I feel like we need to.

Okay! So I got rid of two and kept three. Good week!


Mini Reviews Fake Dating Edition: The Upside of Falling and Fake It Til You Break It

Here are two more Contemporary YA Mini Reviews and BOTH BOOKS are about fake dating! What can I say, it’s one of my favorite tropes!

Itty bitty cakes for itty bitty reviews

The Upside of Falling by Alex Light

Page Count: 288 pages

Synopsis: Becca and Brett both have their reasons for fake dating. Becca needs to prove to her nemesis that she’s in love, and Brett wants to get his dad off his back about dating someone before college. But the more time they spend together, the more the lines blur between fake love and the real thing.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Is this book bad? No. It’s like… the bookiest book I have ever read. When I finished it was like… yes, that was a book. It was enjoyable to read, but it didn’t leave me feeling anything, really. Becca is nice, but there are some weird things with her dad. He left her mom and they live in this small town. He only lives a few streets away… yet they have never even RAN INTO EACH OTHER? So that was weird and then Brett’s relationship with his parents felt manufactured too. And Becca and Brett were fine. They were fine. The prose of the book was randomly heightened, like “Brett Wells walked into class the same way the sun pours into a window, slow and captivating.” It’s like, okay, this is fine I guess but it felt VERY DRAMATIC over very little. That’s all! So that just made me feel like I was reading a book rather than getting lost in a book. But I’ll say again, it’s not a HORRIBLE read and if you need something light, sweet and fluffy to survive the chaos of our world, this is a good pick! 2.5/5 stars!

Fake It Til You Break It by Jenn P. Nguyen

Page Count: 295

Synopsis: Mia and Jake have been frenemies for their whole lives, since their moms are BFFs and they live across the street from each other. But their moms are CONSTANTLY harassing them about being together, so Mia and Jake decide to fake date to get them off their backs so they can finally see other people. But a problem quickly arises when they realize they aren’t as big of enemies as they think they are.

Rating: 3/5 stars

This was a fun read! Both Mia and Jake are pretty flushed out characters: they have goals outside of each other (Mia wants to act, Jake wants to sing), have their own friend groups and even family conflicts. It’s fun seeing them fake date and then realize they have something more. There was also some pretty funny jokes in this book, which I don’t feel like I see very often, so that was a nice surprise! The main issue I had with it was that we didn’t really get what changed their mind. All of a sudden, they had feelings for each other and realized that the other person is attractive. Sort of out of the blue to me. I just wished they had done something to make them like each other. Also, the book felt too short! We could have lived in moments for longer (like THE END FOR EXAMPLE) and I think that would have solved the problem of not seeing what changed their mind. But, it was still a cute book and good quarantine read. 3/5 stars!


Book Review: Bone Crier’s Moon

Author: Kathryn Purdie

Page Count (Hardcover): 453

Synopsis: Ailesse and Sabine are Bone Crier’s, chosen by the gods to ferry the dead to either the Underworld or Elara’s Paradise. But to become one, they must kill their amoure, their one true love.

Bastien’s father was killed by a Bone Crier when he was just a boy, and has dedicated his life to enacting his revenge.

But once Bastien and Ailesse get to know each other better, how can they kill each other?

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

I hate giving low ratings but this bad boy really disappointed me! Especially after such a catchy hook!

Jules this whole book.


The love and trust between Sabine and Ailesse makes for an excellent female friendship. Sabine is hesitant about becoming a Bone Crier because she doesn’t want to kill the three animals and then her soulmate to do so. But Ailesse has no issue with it: she has always wanted to be a Bone Crier. So even though these two have such different points of view on what they are, they both respect the other one. Ailesse even tells Sabine at the beginning of the book that, “We’ll find you another grace bone when you’re ready.” (grace bones are the bones of animals that give the Bone Crier’s their power. They have to kill the animal to get them). Ailesse does not rush Sabine to be something that she is not.

The mythology of the world is quite interesting. We learn about Tyrus, god of the Underworld, and Elara, god of the heavens. The Bone Crier’s are sort of a result of both of them and how they are connected I thought was cool. I don’t want to get into it more than that because SPOILERS but I was like, “huh, that’s neat.”

Okay, so that’s it [sorry]. There will be spoilers in my critique of the book. In general, I felt like I didn’t understand the character’s decisions, they gave up their goals too quickly, and I didn’t quite know what was going on sometimes. Like, I would skim PAGES just because it didn’t make sense or I was like – this is too much telling. The pacing felt off and the setting felt limited.



For the setting, most of this took place in the forest or catacombs, neither of which were particularly vibrant or telling about the world we were in. There was a city, Dovre, but we never really see it or live in it. We later learn that Bastien is a petty thief, but we don’t see where he lives or how he survives. We don’t get to know him that well before he meets Ailesse. I WANTED MORE SETTING. I wanted to live in the big city! I wanted to explore where the Bone Crier’s live! I wanted to understand more about Bastien’s secret hide out! Why was it just in the catacombs where MOST OF THE BOOK HAD ALREADY TAKEN PLACE? Give me more!

The pacing was strange. For “big events” in the book, we would switch first person POV so much that they took FOREVER. Heck, the big final event last from pages 376-442. And you could argue that it starts before that. It took WAY TOO LONG. But then, there are also HUGE PASSAGES OF TIME THAT ARE SKIPPED. Like, two weeks and then 10 days. Just passes. Which is us missing huge bits of character development (which I’ll get into later). Like we know Bastien and Ailesse were on their own in a cave for TEN DAYS and we don’t see ANY OF IT? Come on, that must have been chock-full of romantic tension!! And we were cheated of it!

Because time moved so fast, I don’t actually know what these characters are about. I didn’t get to see why they grew and changed. For Bastien, all I know is that he wants revenge. I don’t know anything else about him. For Ailesse, all I know is that she wants to be a Bone Crier. Sabine has a little more character depth, but even then she seems to throw it all away when she goes ahead and kills two more animals for her grace bones. But then they just change out of the blue and I don’t see WHY. I am TOLD why, but I don’t understand WHY THEY CHANGE. WHAT HAPPENED???

TO THAT NOTE, I didn’t buy Bastien and Ailesse falling for each other. I mean, it took nothing for them to change their minds. Bastien says something about Ailesse being “the bravest person he ever met” (or something like that), but I am like WHAT SHOWED HIM THAT. Also, he quickly believes (pg. 159) that Ailesse is indeed his soul mate, where I made the note of: WHEN DID BASTIEN START BELIEVING AILESSE WAS HIS SOULMATE? This felt like a POV error. It’s because we as the readers know Ailesse believes Bastien is, so the author just slipped it into Bastien’s head. But I don’t think Bastien would believe Ailesse is his soul mate. You could argue it’s because of the existence of the Bone Crier’s, but even if that were true I think Bastien would fight to believe Ailesse is not his soul mate. Regardless of anything, these women are responsible for his father’s death. AN INNOCENT DEATH. What could Ailesse do to make up for that except for say that the Bone Crier’s murdering the men they love is wrong? And she never says that!!! So I just don’t buy that Bastien would ever actually love her. That is why this story felt like “insta-love” (which I hate 95% of the time, bless you Nicola Yoon for changing my mind about it), because I still don’t understand why they started to like each other.

Honestly, I haven’t even gotten into Jules, who I mentioned in the gif, but honestly it was just sad seeing her pine after Bastien when he said he would never love her back. It seemed like her only purpose was to make Ailesse angry at the end of the book and run away from Bastien, then he would have to go save her.

This is a real spoiler, but I also wished we had at least known the character of Ailesse’s real soul mate before it was revealed. I wish the freaking PRINCE OF THIS NATION had been mentioned before the end of the book. The king was, but the prince never was (at least as far as I remember). Better world-building in the beginning would have made this more of an exciting reveal in the end, rather than what it was, which was me being like, “who da f is this guy?”

So, overall, this book had a lot of problems for me. This is not even mentioning that it is obvious that Bastien is not her real soul mate because HE CAN AVOID THE SONG. This bugged me from the beginning of the book. Anyway, 2.5/5 stars for me. Maybe you’ll enjoy it, so if the things I complained about seemed like not a big deal for you, this should be right up your alley!

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole

Down the TBR Rabbit Hole # 19

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: The Beautiful by Reneé Ahdieh

Goodreads Synopsis: In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful. 

Keep It? Yes, I don’t really want to read this now but maybe I will in 2022 when I can like have coffee with a friend again.

#2: Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee

Goodreads Synopsis: In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

Keep It? No… I’m not into time travel these days!

#3: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Goodreads Synopsis: It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

Keep It? No. I just… don’t want to read it.

#4: Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener

Goodreads Synopsis: Delaney’s entire world is thrown into chaos after she is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess hiding out on Earth in order to escape an arranged marriage.

Kidnapped by the princess’s head bodyguard, Ruckus, and imprisoned in an alien palace, Delaney is forced to impersonate the princess until Olena can be found. If she fails, it will lead to an alien war and the eventual enslavement of the entire human race.

No pressure or anything.

Factor in Trystan, the princess’s terrifying betrothed who is intent on unraveling all her secrets, and her own growing feelings for Ruckus, and Delaney is in way over her head.

Keep It? Yes, this sounds fun!

#5: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Goodreads Synopsis: Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Keep It? Yes! I have been wanting to read this for a while and heard it’s super cute.

Okay, I kept three and got rid of two!


Book Review: If Beale Street Could Talk

Author: James Baldwin

Page Count (Paperback): 197

Synopsis: Fonny and Tish have always known they would be together. But Fonny gets put in prison for a crime he didn’t commit right around when Tish finds out she is pregnant. Tish and her family fight to get him out with the due date of the baby lurking in the back of their minds.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

This book was incredible. My dumpy lil’ synopsis doesn’t do this book justice. I’ll avoid spoilers for this one!

Live footage of me reading this book.

If Beale Street Could Talk is a story of unconditional love. And it shows it in many forms: between lovers, between family, even between people we don’t like. The theme of this book eeks through every plot point, and we see the depths a family will go to love one another.

The most obvious example of this is Fonny and Tish. Their story is sweet, wonderful and powerful, because it stands through unimaginable hardship. They grew up together as kids, and especially for Fonny, Tish’s family was his family. They decide to get married, and Tish says a wonderful thing about Fonny: “It’s a miracle to realize somebody loves you.” Now, there is tragedy to their story: Fonny is put in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. In the first chapter, we meet Fonny while he is behind bars. But Tish’s view of him is never shaken. She never doubts her (almost) husband, and she fights for his freedom the entire book. Their love keeps them going.

But we also see unconditional love in Tish’s parents, sister and Fonny’s Dad. It’s expensive to try to get a Black man out of prison, especially an innocent one. The cop who put Fonny in there had it out for him, so he did everything possible to keep him in. But that does not deter Sharon, Evangeline, Joe or Frank from doing everything in their power to get him out. Evangeline finds a lawyer, a white one, who is willing to give it his all to get Fonny out, regardless of the social consequences he’ll receive (but in my opinion, he’s obviously charging them too much). We don’t know exactly what Joe and Frank are doing to try to get Fonny out, but we know it’s hard on them. And Sharon, I don’t want to completely spoil it, but she freaking goes so far, to the point where she puts her own safety in danger. These family members are heroes for their children (or sister) that they love.

And Tish even loves her almost sister-in-law Adrienne, who she at certain points of the book rails into for not supporting her brother. But when Adrienne needs someone, Tish makes it known that she is there. I can’t say more because SPOILERS, but it’s a powerful message: this family is here for each other, no matter what.

What puts this book over the top is James Baldwin’s plot and prose. The book moves through out time, going from before Fonny is in prison to after seamlessly, adding in bits and pieces of the story to illuminate each character’s trials and triumphs. It’s breathtaking to read.

This book, like all the great books I read, I encourage you to check it out for yourself. This review hopefully got you interested (that’s the point!), but it does not do the book justice. 5/5 stars from me, and go read it!