Blog Tour: Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

I am so thrilled to be participating in the blog tour for one of my favorite reads of the first half of 2020… Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim! Unravel the Dusk is the much anticipated sequel to Spin the Dawn, and it comes out NEXT WEEK on July 7th! Preorder your copy here!

Now: Let’s gush about this beautiful book!

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon, and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. Edan, the boy she loves, is gone–perhaps forever–and no sooner does she set foot in the Autumn Palace than she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace. When the emperor’s rivals learn of her deception, there is hell to pay, but the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red; losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, and in the meantime she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

Uhhh, I’m really trying to be creative with my wording here, but what else can I say about Unravel the Dusk other than that I loved it?

Last year, after reading this book’s predecessor, Spin the Dawn (one of my favorite reads of 2019!), my expectations for Unravel the Dusk were very high. Unsurprisingly, I was not disappointed at all! Elizabeth Lim went above and beyond and gave us yet another wonderful book. It is rare to come across a sequel that is better than, let alone as good as, the previous book, but Unravel the Dusk manages to defy all odds with its amazingness!

Where do I begin?

For starters, the character development in this book was off the charts. I thought I loved Maia and Edan in Spin the Dawn, but in Unravel the Dusk, they are further fleshed out as the story continues to unravel (pun totally intended 😉), making me love them even more. In this book, we see a totally different side of Maia as she battles with the demon inside of her. Despite her inevitable fate of succumbing to darkness, Maia continues to prove that she is a strong, selfless, and courageous heroine. Even with the constant temptation to give into wickedness and embrace the demon she has been cursed to become, she remains true to herself and continues to fight for her country and the people she loves.

I loved how Edan was always so supportive of Maia throughout the story, even when she lost control of herself and lashed out. His love for her was unconditional, and he never gave up on her. Maia and Edan’s romance is an excellent portrayal of a healthy, realistic relationship, which can often be difficult to find in YA fantasy.

I also loved how family and friendship are important themes in this book. Maia’s love for her family was her primary source of motivation throughout the book. It kept her from giving up on herself and motivated her to keep fighting. Maia’s relationship with her deceased mother was more fleshed out in this book, and it was both heartbreaking and beautiful to read.

It was great to see the development of female friendships as well. Ammi and Maia made a great team, and I loved how strong their relationship became by the end of the story. All too often we see women hating on each other in both fiction and in real life, so Ammi and Maia’s friendship was such a pleasure to read. Same goes for Maia and Sarnai’s “alliance” (and eventual friendship by the end of the book).

The thing that puts Unravel the Dusk a step above Spin the Dawn is the emotional aspect of the book. There’s still all of the action and adventure we know and love, but there’s also messages of loss, love, heartbreak, and self-acceptance. These are themes that I think more books should have.

Overall, Unravel the Dusk was a beyond satisfying sequel to Spin the Dawn. It’s a fast paced and breathtaking story filled with beautiful themes that will stay with you long after you put the book down.

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Book Links:

Amazon — https://amzn.to/3cTtV6z 

B&N — https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unravel-the-dusk-elizabeth-lim/1134237363?ean=9780525647027 

Book Depository — https://www.bookdepository.com/Unravel-Dusk-Elizabeth-Lim/9780525647027

IndieBound —https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780525647027

Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36683940-unravel-the-dusk

(Psttt! Make sure to check out all of the other stops for the Unravel the Dusk blog tour! Feel free to follow the schedule below:)

Thank you so much Shealea @ShutUpShealea and Elizabeth Lim for giving me the opportunity to help promote this beautiful book! I’m so happy that it’s finally getting released into the world! ❤

Blog Tour: What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin

I’m so excited to be participating in the Blog Tour for What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin! This recent YA release brings up so many important discussions, and I’m sure it will speak to so many readers, regardless of whether they have gone through the traumas brought up in the book or not.

Please keep in mind that this book discusses and portrays domestic and sexual abuse in addition to numerous other serious topics. If you are sensitive to and/or easily triggered by this type of content, please wait until you are in a better head space to read it. ❤

Lex was taken–trafficked–and now she’s Poppy. Kept in a hotel with other girls, her old life is a distant memory. But when the girls are rescued, she doesn’t quite know how to be Lex again.

After she moves in with her aunt and uncle, for the first time in a long time, she knows what it is to feel truly safe. Except, she doesn’t trust it. Doesn’t trust her new home. Doesn’t trust her new friend. Doesn’t trust her new life. Instead she trusts what she shouldn’t because that’s what feels right. She doesn’t deserve good things.

But when she is sexually assaulted by her so-called boyfriend and his friends, Lex is forced to reckon with what happened to her and that just because she is used to it, doesn’t mean it is okay. She’s thrust into the limelight and realizes she has the power to help others. But first she’ll have to confront the monsters of her past with the help of her family, friends, and a new love.

Kate McLaughlin’s What Unbreakable Looks Like is a gritty, ultimately hopeful novel about human trafficking through the lens of a girl who has escaped the life and learned to trust, not only others, but in herself.

At the time I’m writing this review, it’s been a couple of days since I finished What Unbreakable Looks Like, and I still haven’t fully processed it. I knew coming into this book that it was inevitably going to hit me hard, but nothing could have prepared me for the gushing waterfall of emotions it made me feel… Future readers, stock up on the tissues, and keep them handy at all times while reading. You’ll need them!

Let’s get one thing straight: this isn’t a story about abuse. It’s a story about the trauma it leaves behind, as well as the many ups and downs that come with the journey to recovery. As readers, we don’t need to witness the horrors Lex, our main character, goes through to empathize with her trauma.

Without spoiling the plot, I want to warn you that this book focuses heavily on child abuse and sexual assault, and it is broken down in the most honest, agonizing ways. There’s also a solid portrayal of how deceptive abusers can be, as throughout the story, we see how Lex’s abuser has completely manipulated her and stripped her of her own identity.

I like how Lex’s story doesn’t end with her being fully “recovered” from the abuse she faced for so many years. After all, that would be completely unrealistic. Instead, it ends with something else: Hope. By the end of the book, though Lex is still scarred from the past, she has hope for a better future with the family and friends she has come to love. Not only that, but she has also reclaimed her identity and taken control of her own life and body, which were such beautiful things to see her do.

To be frank, What Unbreakable Looks Like is not an easy book to read. There’s a lot of shockingly heartbreaking content to get through, and so many parts of the book left me so emotionally drained that I had to put it down for a while. Topics discussed and portrayed are disturbing and sensitive and dark, but they are also real and thought-provoking and honest… Which is why Lex’s story is such an important one to read.

This book is not for the faint-hearted, but it is truly a powerful read. What Unbreakable Looks Like is a phenomenal story, and I know that I will be thinking about it for a long, long time to come.

Four out of five stars rating | Premium Photo

Sunshine Blogger Award #2

I was tagged by the lovely Lori to receive and participate in the Sunshine Blogger Award! I’ve received this award once in the past, and I absolutely love how it spreads kindness and love throughout the book blogging community!

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog (Thank you Lori!)
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person(s) who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions (Let’s be real… if you can’t think of 11 people to nominate, it’s completely fine).
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Lori’s Questions:

1. Name a book you can’t shut up about!

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Just one? But there’s so many!!!

If I had to choose one book, though, I’d go with To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. It’s one of my all-time favorite books, and it’s actually the inspiration behind my blog name, Mermaid Reads. TKAK rekindled my love of mermaids and sirens, and ever since reading it, I’ve been nothing but obsessed with the mysterious underwater creatures!

2. What TV show are you currently finding yourself recommending?

Outer Banks - Season 1 - Review

Outer Banks on Netflix! I’m only on episode 4, but I love the characters and the plot so far. The vibe of Outer Banks is so fun and carefree, making it easy to get lost in the story. The beautiful scenery, beautiful people, beach parties, and boat rides allow you to slip into another world.

3. Whats a book cover change you really loved?

When the cover for Anna and the French Kiss finally got the update it deserved, I was so happy! Let’s face it: the original cover is incredibly cheesy, and it doesn’t fit the story at all. The romance in this book is so well developed, and the corniness of the first cover gives the impression that it’s just your everyday cringey YA romance. The new cover is simplistically beautiful, and it sparks feelings of breathlessness, adventure, and wanderlust.

4. Name a bookish villain/anti-hero you’re obsessed with!

Cardan Greenbriar | The Folk of the Air Wiki | Fandom

Cardan Greenbriar from the Folk of the Air trilogy! I was smitten with Cardan from the very start, so I never really viewed him as a villain, but he deserves to be recognized in this post nonetheless! 😍💗

5. A book you’ve read that includes some star-crossed lovers 😉 ?

The Hunger Games trilogy | The Hunger Games Wiki | Fandom
The Hunger Games: 5 Worst Things Katniss Did to Peeta (& 5 Worst ...

Of course I had to choose none other than Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark for this question! Their relationship is one of the most beautifully developed romances of all time 😍 I love how their relationship faced many hurtles, but at the end of the day, their love for each other was all that mattered 😩❤ Peeta is the reason why I have such unrealistic dating expectations… “Having an eye for beauty isn’t the same thing as a weakness… Except possibly when it comes to you.” Like, come on! What guy is ever gonna say something like that to me? 😭

6. Whats one of your favorite diverse books? (trying to expand my reading!!)

Amazon.com: The Hate U Give eBook: Thomas, Angie: Kindle Store

I’ve read tons of amazing books by #OwnVoices authors, and there are still so many others out there that I’m dying to read! One of my favorites has to be The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It’s such an important book to read, and it will never stop being relevant. Also, the movie is great too, so if you wanted to, you could have a book-movie marathon!

7. Whats your favorite snack?

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Chocolate. Doesn’t matter what kind, just give me any form of chocolate and I’ll love you forever.

8. How do you organize your books/bookshelves (is there a method to the madness or are books just sort of…everywhere?)

Row of colorful paperback books » Clipart Station

I have A TON of books, so organization is a huge struggle for me. I have a tall, skinny bookshelf in my bedroom where all of my favorite books go, as well as a few other bookshelves throughout my house where I put all of my other books. I also have a little TBR cart where I keep all of my unread books on, so I know what I need to read next before going on another book shopping spree 😂

9. A series that’s perfect for binge reading?

The Regal Critiques: Series Summaries #3: The Selection Trilogy

The Selection series (particularly the first three books) couldn’t be more perfect for binging. The books are fun, quick, and effortlessly romantic, despite being somewhat corny at times. Sure, this series is no fine literature, but how can you complain about its undeniable swoon-worthiness?

10. Your favorite book trope?

Five YA Books With Delicious Hate-To-Love Romances | The Nerd Daily

Easy. Enemies to lovers. The romantic tension is EVERYTHING, and something about falling in love with the person you hate is so sexy?

11. Tea or coffee?

How to Taste Tea - Tasting Guide by Twinings

Tea!

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My Questions:

  1. You need to escape your house (for some reason?) and can only bring 3 books in your bag. What books would you take?
  2. What was your last 5-star read and why?
  3. If you could read any book again for the first time, which book would it be and why?
  4. What popular book and/or author do you hate?
  5. Is there anything thing you’d change about the book + book blogging communities?
  6. Is there a genre you just can’t read no matter what the book is like or the author that writes it- even if your favorite author wrote one book in that genre- you just, can’t?
  7. Do you reread books, or is reading them once enough?
  8. What is the first book you name whenever someone asks for a book recommendation?
  9. What unread book has been sitting on your shelf the longest?
  10. Do you prefer movie adaptations, or TV series adaptations?
  11. Series or standalone?
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I Tag:

Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1) by Beth Revis

Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the spaceship Godspeed. She has left her boyfriend, friends–and planet–behind to join her parents as a member of Project Ark Ship. Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed’s scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.

Someone tried to murder her.

Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed’s 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest’s rebellious teenage heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead. Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside the ship’s cold metal walls? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

This book was, quite literally, out of this world! Get it? Cause… it’s set in outer space? Ugh, I’m so sorry, I need to stop including so many terrible puns in my books reviews.

Getting back to the point, Across the Universe was a great read, but not in the way I thought it would be.

You see, I came into this book expecting something totally different from what I got, and for once, I’m okay with that. I’m ashamed to admit that my initial impression of Across the Universe was mostly an unfortunate case of me judging a book by its cover… The cover of this book is steamy, romantic, and truly sigh-worthy, with two lovers’ silhouettes face to face in front of a breathtaking display of beautiful, glittering stars. This picturesquely intimate scene gave me the impression that this would be a galactic love story, but Across the Universe is so much more than that. Sure, the book has a romantic element to it, but it should by no means be classified as a romance novel. It’s packed with constant action, suspense, mystery, and thought-provoking ideas about humanity. I think this is why the publishers decided to change the book’s cover soon after it came out and gained popularity.

The original cover just doesn’t capture the true essence of the story, which is why I’m glad it was updated to something more science fiction-y. After all, Across the Universe is far more sci-fi/mystery than it is romance.

Phew. Now that that’s cleared up, let’s talk about the actual story itself… which was amazing!

The plot is driven by constant action, and endless twists and turns are thrown our way. As readers, we can feel how high the stakes are for our two main characters, which is what really kept me turning the pages.

Speaking of our two main characters, let’s talk about them! I loved how they both acted like ACTUAL sixteen year olds. All the time in YA we see teenage protagonists who literally act and think like full grown adults (looking at you, John Green). It’s nice to have wise and mature characters, but characters who act their age are much more realistic and easy to connect with. Plus, most teenagers aren’t all that philosophical and “wise beyond their years”.

Across the Universe tells the story of two lead protagonists, Amy and Elder. I enjoyed Amy’s character a lot. She was snarky, sarcastic, and spirited, but she had a vulnerable side to her as well. I love seeing characters that aren’t unrealistically tough, because after all, weaknesses and vulnerability are what make us human.

Another thing that I really appreciated about Amy is that she didn’t immediately get all starry-eyed over Elder right when she met him. In fact, she didn’t even feel any strong romantic feelings towards him until the end of the book. For a large part of the story, she viewed him as a stranger, potential suspect for murder, and oftentimes just a plain annoyance. In regards to Amy and Elder’s relationship, I think that this was a great approach for Beth Revis to take. Not all couples experience love at first sight, or even friendship at first sight. Relationships are bumpy, complex, and difficult, and it’s important for that to be discussed more in the YA community.

I like that Amy didn’t back down from pointing out Elder’s blind ignorance to him when it came to the complexity of humanity, and I’m glad that she didn’t let him treat her like some brainless doll. Because that’s the thing… Elder wasn’t nearly as likable as Amy. He definitely wasn’t the worst character ever, but you can’t deny that he radiates a great deal of toxic masculinity. I feel like he would have tried harder to be dominate in his relationship with Amy if she weren’t such a free spirit. He seemed to take pleasure in her moments of vulnerability, and that made me feel very uncomfortable. He read off as extremely possessive at times, but I’m glad that Amy always put him in his place. I also like how Amy was a year older than him, because 1.) we never see that in YA, and 2.) it made Elder seem more like a childish three year old throwing a tantrum than a controlling boyfriend bossing around his girlfriend. I think Elder was simply immature and not necessarily entitled, if that makes sense. Plus, there are far, FAR worse male love interests out there.

I thought it was interesting how Elder and Amy’s perspectives of the world were so different, and I loved seeing the tremendous growth they both went through by sharing their experiences with one another. At the beginning of the book, Elder started out as very brainwashed and ignorant, but as the story progressed, he became more thoughtful as he gained valuable knowledge and learned to think for himself.

Remember how I mentioned that I thought that this was going to be a galactic love story? Well, ironically enough, the romance was the thing I liked least about this book. I’m glad that it wasn’t exactly insta-love, but it still felt bland and underdeveloped. I’m a firm believer that two characters can’t form a strong romantic bond in under 100 pages (and even that’s stretching it), but Amy and Elder are smooching only 50 pages after meeting each other. Ughhhh. To be fair, their relationship builds and develops throughout the book, and I’m sure that it will continue to do so in the next two installments in the trilogy. But still, I’m somewhat indifferent about the two of them as a couple.

Other than typical weird sci-fi cursing (“Frex!”, “Chutz!”), there’s really nothing else about this book that I can complain about. It wasn’t what I expected it to be, but I’m not upset about that! If you enjoyed These Broken Stars or Aurora Rising, this is definitely the book for you.

Across the Universe is a very promising start to what I’m sure will end up being a wonderful sci-fi trilogy!

4 Out Of 5 Stars Transparent & PNG Clipart Free Download - YAWD

Review: All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth Duology Book 1) by [Adalyn Grace]

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

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God, this book was incredible.

All the Stars and Teeth is everything you could ever want in a book and more. Amazing world-building? Check. An action-driven plot? Check. Lovable characters? Check, check, check. I couldn’t name one weak aspect of this book even if I tried to. Everything was just so goddamn amazing, and I truly have no idea where to start.

Let’s begin with world-building, because the development of this book’s setting is what hooked me from the very first page. I really enjoyed the setting in All the Stars and Teeth, not just because it was at sea, but also because it was so unique and original. The world building was brilliantly woven into the story, providing a rich understanding of the landscape of this universe and of the dynamic between the islands of Visidia. The immersion into Visidia’s island kingdom was effortless. In the story, there are seven islands that make up Visidia. Each island has its own unique magic. It is law that only one magic can be practiced by each person, for if people learn too much magic, it can kill them. Visidia was such an interesting setting to be swept away into, as I found myself easily transported into the kingdom whenever I flipped open the book, walking alongside the cast of characters as they navigated the islands. I love how each island was unique in its own way. Some were dark and eerie, while others were wondrous and whimsical. It’s so magical to be transported into a setting with so many different dimensions.

But wanna know what really make this book shine? The characters. All four of the main characters in this story were complex, interesting, and very, very charming. Amora, our leading lady, was fierce and stubborn, and I deeply admired her unconditional passion for her kingdom. Yeah, she did kind of think she was all that, but I actually liked how she was always so sure of herself.

Bastien, our dashing pirate (though he prefers the term “sailor” 😉), was snarky, sassy, and confident, but he had a soft, caring side as well. He had a really interesting character arc, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes in the next book.

Ferrick was a total sweetheart!!! Poor guy got pushed around a lot, so I really loved it when he finally stood up for herself and recognized his own self-worth.

And Vataea. Of course, my opinion of her might be slightly biased, as I have a special place in my heart for mermaids. But what else can I say about her other than that I absolutely loved her?! She was strong-willed and brave, despite all of the abuse she had faced by the wicked men in her life. She had so much depth to her that made the story all the more captivating! Dare I say she was my favorite character??? I also really loved her blossoming friendship with Amora, and I’m really excited to see their relationship develop further in book two.

With sassy dialogue, epic world-building, a superb plot, and awesome characters, All the Stars and Teeth is a darkly delicious YA fantasy that might just be one of my favorite 2020 releases! If that’s not enough to convince you to read it, I don’t know what is. This story is all kinds of fun, with morally ambiguous characters and plenty of intrigues to keep readers on their toes.

I truly cannot rate this book highly enough!

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Goodreads Monday: A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, you simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off, explain why you want to read it, etc. This is my very first time participating in this meme, so I’m super excited!

For today’s TBR pick, I’m going to be talking about…

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Book Blurb:

Bethany C. Morrow’s A Song Below Water is the story for today’s readers ― a captivating modern fantasy about black mermaids, friendship, and self-discovery set against the challenges of today’s racism and sexism.

In a society determined to keep her under lock and key, Tavia must hide her siren powers.

Meanwhile, Effie is fighting her own family struggles, pitted against literal demons from her past. Together, these best friends must navigate through the perils of high school’s junior year.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice at the worst possible moment.

Soon, nothing in Portland, Oregon, seems safe. To save themselves from drowning, it’s only Tavia and Effie’s unbreakable sisterhood that proves to be the strongest magic of all.

My Thoughts/Why I Want to Read It:

So I’ve talked a lot about how I need to increase the diversity in my reading and read from more authors of color, particularly Black authors. And A Song Below Water seems like the perfect place to start! The book is about sirens, people… SIRENS! My blog is literally called Mermaid Reads. Can you name a book that sounds more perfect for me? Probably not.

The Coding Mermaid – How I Went from Marine Biologist to Front End ...

The book incorporates a whole lot of Black girl magic + magical realism while also tackling important issues like racism and sexism. I think that in light of both recent events in the news and our world’s history of racism and sexism, A Song Below Water is a must-read.

I actually already purchased a physical copy of the book, and I encourage you to do the same, because holy crap, that cover is gorgeous! You may or may not be seeing TONS of bookstagram posts from me in your feed featuring this stunning book.

What about you?

What are some books on your TBR that you are simply dying to read? For me, the list goes on and on. I think EVERYday should be Goodreads Monday, because my TBR is just too d@mn long.

See you soon, friends!

xoxo,

Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

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Stolen Songbird: Malediction Trilogy Book One by [Danielle L. Jensen, Steve Stone]

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain—time enough for their nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophecy has spoken of a union that will set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. But if she is to succeed, she must bide her time and find a way to outsmart the clever, fast, and inhumanly strong trolls that hold her captive. But while awaiting the perfect opportunity, Cécile unexpectedly falls for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. Their love gradually changes her perspective, opening her heart to new friends and opening her eyes to the hardships of the enslaved half-troll, half-human creatures of Trollus.

As rebellion brews and the political games of Trollus escalate, Cécile becomes more than a trapped father’s daughter. She becomes a princess, a witch, and the hope of a people—someone who has the power to change Trollus forever.

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That. Was. Absolutely. AMAZING!

I’m mentally kicking myself for having put off reading this book for so long. It was such an incredible read, and I can’t believe so few people have heard of it/read it!  I definitely think that Stolen Songbird is just as good, if not better, than some of the insanely popular YA fantasy series that get endless hype (like Throne of Glass, ACOTAR, Red Queen, etc… Yup, Stolen Songbird surpasses all of those series!).

It is rare to come across a book that is equal parts character-driven, setting-driven, and plot-driven, but Stolen Songbird manages to be all three! Let’s begin by gushing about the characters in this book, because that’s as good a place to start as any.

Stolen Songbird introduces us to a wonderful cast of characters. Our protagonist, Cécile, is a great one, largely because she is not your typical badass, obnoxiously snarky, not-like-other-girls female lead. She is intelligent and somewhat reserved, but also headstrong and VERY stubborn. I love how Danielle L. Jensen didn’t shy away from writing her as a more feminine character, because sometimes, I like a little femininity. In YA, it’s always about being “tough” and “feisty”, and I like how Cécile was more of a gentle and non-violent character. Sure, she would fight when necessary, but she wasn’t like those crazy female characters who scream bloody murder for no apparent reason.

And Cécile definitely wasn’t the only wonderful character in this book! TRISTAN. Ugh, he was perfect. I absolutely loved his sassiness! He had so many hilarious quotes that I really should have bookmarked and pasted into this review. His quick tongue might have been my favorite thing about him! I loved how he was all dark and mysterious on the outside, but on the inside he was a total teddy bear. I seriously just want to give him a big hug. ❤

The romance between Cécile and Tristan was so well developed and surprisingly non-tropey. Declarations of love came somewhat fast, but since I was rooting so hard for the romance, I didn’t really mind it. I loved how there were perfect little tidbits of romance scattered throughout the book that didn’t disturb the overall plot. Personally, I’m the type of reader that enjoys romantic sub-plots… action and adventure combined with a hint of steaminess is seriously the best combination ever, and that’s exactly what Danielle L. Jensen gives us with this amazing book!

Beyond romantic relationships, the friendships and familial relationships in Stolen Songbird were wonderfully developed as well. I really enjoyed the relationship between Marc and Cécile, for example. They kind of had a brother-sister thing going for them, and it was so adorable!

Though the characters in it were truly spectacular, I think what’s most impressive about this book is the setting and world development. I absolutely despise vague and unoriginal world-building (I mean, who doesn’t), and thankfully, the development of this book’s setting falls into neither of those categories.

The underground city of Trollus was described with stunning imagery, making it so easy to visualize. I could practically see the magic radiating from the world, through the beautifully whimsical orbs of light, the exquisite glass gardens, and the breathtaking underground architecture of the city. The city of Trollus truly blew me away, and when a story’s setting is able to accomplish such a feat, it’s so magical.

Another thing I absolutely loved about the development of this world was that Danielle L. Jensen’s interpretation of trolls was outstandingly unique and entirely original. Jensen rewrote everything I thought I knew about trolls, from their stout, ugly appearances, to their reputations for being rather stupid creatures. Yup, that’s right. In Stolen Songbird, trolls are beautiful AND highly intelligent. How interesting is that? I get so excited whenever an author takes this kind of approach on a well-known mythical species, because it gets so boring reading about the same creatures over and over again. The whole point of fantasy is that anything is possible, and that perhaps the myths and legends we’ve been told might be worth questioning.

There’s not much else to say about Stolen Songbird other than that’s it’s so so fantastic and that you need to read it NOW! With nail-biting action, a transportive setting, complex characters, and a romance you can root for, it’s everything you could ever want in a fantasy book.

Stolen Songbird is an absolutely spectacular start to an underrated YA fantasy trilogy that I’m looking forward to finishing. On to Book 2!

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4.5 Out Of 5 Stars Transparent & PNG Clipart Free Download - YWD

May 2020 Wrap-up + Tier Ranking All of the Books I Read in May (Plus Some Important Resources)

I think we can all agree that May 2020 wasn’t a great month for many reasons. With all of the horrible things that have been going on in regards to racism, police brutality, and outright murder of innocent black people (not just recently, this has been going on for CENTURIES), I’ve realized that my reading is not very diverse, and that that’s something I need to fix immediately. Looking at all of the books I read in May, I’m so disappointed to admit that nearly ALL of them were written by caucasian authors… and I didn’t even make a conscious effort to exclusively read books from authors of one race. I’m disappointed in myself, but I promise to do better. I’m lucky enough to have this platform, even if it is small, and I have an obligation to use it to speak up about the horror and injustice going on in our world. You can rest assured that this month’s TBR is going to be full of books written by authors of color, plus LGBT+ authors (happy pride month)! At the end of this post, I’ll also link some resources you can use to help educate yourself and spread awareness about the #blacklivesmatter movement. Remember, silence is NOT an option.

Even though I’m not particularly proud of the fact that I read books mostly by white authors this month, I would still like to tier rank them and include them in a wrap-up post, mainly just so I can visualize how un-diverse my reading currently is (and how I need to fix that!!). Plus, a lot of you guys seemed to enjoy my tier-ranking of the books I read last April, so I thought it would be fun to continue the trend!

Like I did in April, I’m going to be sorting these titles into seven categories because I’m indecisive and need a wide range of options. These categories are: Trash, Bad, Meh, Good, Great, Spectacular, and GOD. I’ll categorize the books and explain why I put them in a certain category, and then I’ll reveal the final image of all of the books tier-ranked together. I’ll also link reviews I’ve written to certain books’ titles! Disclaimer: I didn’t read any trash or god books this month, but I wanted to create the options in case I decide to tier-rank books for future monthly wrap-ups (which I most likely will)!

With that being said, let us begin!

Trash Tier:

Thankfully, I didn’t read any trash books this month!

Bad Tier:

  • Amazon.com: An Enchantment of Ravens (9781481497589): Rogerson ...An Enchantment of Ravens by Maragret Rogerson (2 stars): I totally thought I was going to love this one, which is why I was so disappointed when I didn’t. The first 50 pages or so were pretty great, but then the female protagonist was introduced to the hot, brooding male love interest, and her brain essentially turned to mush. I hate insta-love, and I didn’t know that this book used said trope. If I had, I definitely wouldn’t have wasted my time reading it.

Amazon.com: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer (1 ...

  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (2 stars): I know you’re probably all shocked to see this book on Bad Tier, and frankly, so am I, because I was so certain it was going to become a new favorite. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me. The writing style is so beautiful, but I’m not really into lush, flowy, description-y fantasies like Strange the Dreamer. I need action and thrills, or else I get bored. I definitely see why people like this book, but sadly, it wasn’t an enjoyable read for me.

Amazon.com: Ink in the Blood (Ink in the Blood Duology ...

  • Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal (2 stars): I picked this book up because the concept sounded really interesting, but unfortunately, the execution let me down. The plot moved soooo slowly, and the characters were very flat and difficult to connect with. I’m so sad that I didn’t enjoy this book, because it has AMAZING queer rep.

Meh Tier:

  • Amazon.com: Star Wars Queen's Peril (9781368057141): Johnston ...Star Wars Queen’s Peril by E.K. Johnston (2.5 stars): I’m a huge Star Wars fan, so I was super disappointed when I didn’t love this one. The writing style just wasn’t for me, and the characters and plot were incredibly bland. Padme’s character was very watered down in this book, which might just be the biggest let down of all. I think I’ll stick to the movies, thanks. 😬

Good Tier:

  • Amazon.com: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden) (9780373210800 ...The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (3 stars): I liked this book. The protagonist and I didn’t really connect, but I can appreciate how she was a very morally grey character, because that’s not something we see very often in YA. The plot was really interesting, and I’m so excited to see where it goes in the next book! I can already tell that this is going to be a super fun vampire trilogy.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (4 stars): Guys… the hype is real! This book was so beautifully heartbreaking. I’ve mentioned that I’m not a fan of flowy, descriptive books that don’t have tons of action, and that’s true. But this book makes an exception because Greek mythology holds a very special place in my heart. ❤ I really hope Madeline Miller publishes more Greek mythology books soon!

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Little Wounds (9780763666941): Cokal ...

  • The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal (3.5): This was a pretty gorey read, but I think that with the goriness came very powerful themes about the ugliness of humanity. Truly, I’ve never read a book quite like this one, and though I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I recommend giving it a chance.

Great Tier:

  • Amazon.com: The Queen of Blood: Book One of The Queens of Renthia ...The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst (4 stars): The Queen of Blood has one of the most beautifully developed fantasy settings I’ve ever had the pleasure of being swept away into! The world was so original, and the characters were wonderful as well. I can’t wait to read the second book in this trilogy!

Amazon.com: The Grace Year: A Novel (9781250145444): Liggett, Kim ...

  • The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (4 stars): This book was so good, I read it in one sitting! It’s haunting, thrilling, and action-driven, and it’s also full of thought-provoking themes and symbolism. I love that it’s a speculative fiction novel where you can’t tell if the alternate reality is one of the past or the future. The only weak aspect of The Grace Year is the romance. It’s poorly developed, and it disturbs the creepy atmosphere of the book. But other than that, the story was such a thrill to read!

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1) by Beth Revis

  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis (4 stars): This was such a fun sci-fi/dystopian/mystery novel! I get why the publishers changed the cover because despite what the steaminess of the original cover suggests, this is not a romance novel at all. Frankly, the hint of romance in this was what I liked least about it.
  • A Million Suns by Beth RevisA Million Suns by Beth Revis (4 stars): The wonderful sequel to Across the Universe! This book was just as enjoyable as its predecessor, and it was full of constant twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. I’m currently reading Shades of Earth, the last book in this trilogy, and I can’t wait to see how this story ends!

Spectacular Tier:

  • Amazon.com: Stolen Songbird: Malediction Trilogy Book One ...Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen (4.5 Stars): I’m mentally smacking myself for having put off reading this book until just recently. It was so so good! The world, the characters, the romance… everything was amazing. I got more and more invested in the story as it moved along, and I can’t wait to read the remaining books in the series!
  • The Unhoneymooners: Lauren, Christina: 9781501128035: Amazon.com ...The Unhoneymooners (5 Stars): This book was SO adorable and SO much fun to read! I don’t typically rate chick-lit books five stars, but I just enjoyed this one so much, there was no other appropriate rating to give it! Ethan and Olive might just take the cake for my favorite enemies-to-lovers couple. I can’t wait to read more Christina Lauren books!

Amazon.com: The Princess Will Save You (9781250237422): Henning ...

  • The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning (5 stars): I’m SO lucky to have received an arc of this one! The Princess Will Save You was definitely one of my favorite reads of the month, and I’m eagerly anticipating the sequel! I’m hoping to pre-order a finished copy soon so I can have this beautiful book on my shelves!
  • Amazon.com: The Wild Mermaid: An Atlantean Adventure eBook ...The Wild Mermaid by Mel Braxton (5 Stars): The Wild Mermaid was one of my reads for #MerMay, and it was absolutely incredible! The story was so original, and every plot device was used in such a unique way. The Wild Mermaid is actually on sale NOW, for only $0.99! This sale only lasts until June 5th, so claim your copy soon!
  • Amazon.com: All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth ...All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace (5 stars): Holy crap… this book was amazing! The characters were so loveable, and the plot kept me hooked from start to finish. I loved the world-building and magic system as well, and I think that Adalyn Grace overall just did a fantastic job at developing every aspect of her book. I can’t wait to read the sequel!

God Tier:

I’m trying to be VERY sparing with the number of books I put in God Tier… God Tier books are those super rare gems that you only come across once in a blue moon. So none for this month!

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As you can clearly see in the image above, my reading in May was not diverse at all. I intend to fix that in the upcoming months, so feel free to recommend any diverse reads down in the comments!

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES:

From suggested donations to ways to learn to be an anti-racist, here are some resources that will guide you in volunteering time and money to Black Lives Matter. I’ve also listed some wonderful organizations and businesses run by Black people, which I highly recommend you support and donate to. Please link any additional resources you have down in the comments!

Keep fighting and using your voices, my friends.

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10 Books on my TBR That are Written by Black Authors

I’ll start by saying that this post is long overdue.

Recently, I’ve realized just how little diversity there is in my reading, and I plan to fix that immediately. I don’t have the largest platform ever, but I have an audience nonetheless, and I need to do my part by speaking out about the horrifying racism and injustice that has been in our world not just in recent years, but for centuries.

As a white person, I’ve always felt like I should “stay in my lane” and avoid participating in the #blacklivesmatter movement simply because it’s “not my place”. But I can’t even begin to stress how wrong and dangerous that mindset is. For change to occur, we need EVERYONE to stand together and do everything possible to spread awareness about the terrifyingly racist things that have been going on for so long. White people like myself need to be aware of the privilege we have and recognize that there are so many struggles that we will never have to go through just because of our skin color. We need to join the fight for change. If you’re white, if you’re any race, really, and you’re not speaking up, you’re part of the problem. We can’t just keep ignoring all of the hate there is in the world, for if we do, how will it ever go away?

I want to do better. I want to look at the books I’ve read and not just see titles by caucasian authors exclusively. I want to see books written by disabled authors, people of ALL colors, LGBTQ+ authors, and anyone with a story to tell that is different from my own. So why not start by sharing 10 books on my TBR that are written by black authors?

I must shamefully admit that I have not made a conscious effort to diversify my reading, and it clearly shows if you take a quick look at any of my Goodreads shelves. So it’s time to change that.

Here are 10 books on my TBR written by black authors, all of which look and sound AMAZING!

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1. A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of blood and marrow–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

2. A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Synopsis:

In a society determined to keep her under lock and key, Tavia must hide her siren powers.

Meanwhile, Effie is fighting her own family struggles, pitted against literal demons from her past. Together, these best friends must navigate through the perils of high school’s junior year.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice at the worst possible moment.

Soon, nothing in Portland, Oregon, seems safe. To save themselves from drowning, it’s only Tavia and Effie’s unbreakable sisterhood that proves to be the strongest magic of all.

3. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

4. War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi

War Girls by [Tochi Onyebuchi]

Synopsis:

The year is 2172. Climate change and nuclear disasters have rendered much of earth unlivable. Only the lucky ones have escaped to space colonies in the sky.

In a war-torn Nigeria, battles are fought using flying, deadly mechs and soldiers are outfitted with bionic limbs and artificial organs meant to protect them from the harsh, radiation-heavy climate. Across the nation, as the years-long civil war wages on, survival becomes the only way of life.

Two sisters, Onyii and Ify, dream of more. Their lives have been marked by violence and political unrest. Still, they dream of peace, of hope, of a future together.

And they’re willing to fight an entire war to get there.

5. Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Synopsis:

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack.

But then Kate dies. And their story should end there.

Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind.

Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.

6. Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Synopsis:

Heir to two lines of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. Yet she fails at bone magic, fails to call upon her ancestors, and fails to live up to her family’s legacy. Under the disapproving eye of her mother, the Kingdom’s most powerful priestess and seer, she fears she may never be good enough.

But when the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, Arrah is desperate enough to turn to a forbidden, dangerous ritual. If she has no magic of her own, she’ll have to buy it―by trading away years of her own life.

Arrah’s borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal, and on its heels, a rising tide of darkness that threatens to consume her and all those she loves. She must race to unravel a twisted and deadly scheme… before the fight costs more than she can afford.

7. Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughly

Synopsis:

Years ago, everything changed.

Phantoms, massive beasts of nightmare, began terrorizing the world. At the same time, four girls—the Effigies—appeared, each with a unique power to control a classical element. Since then, they have protected the world from the Phantoms. At the death of one Effigy, another is chosen, pulled from her normal life into the never-ending battle.

When Maia unexpectedly becomes the next Fire Effigy, she resists her new calling. A quiet girl with few friends and almost no family, she was much happier to admire the Effigies from afar. Never did she imagine having to master her ability to control fire, to protect innocent citizens from the Phantoms, or to try bringing together the other three Effigies.

But with the arrival of the mysterious Saul—a man who seems to be able to control the Phantoms using the same cosmic power previously only granted to four girls at a time—Maia and the other Effigies must learn to work together in a world where their celebrity status is more important than their heroism.

But the secrets Saul has, and the power he possesses, might be more than even they can handle…

8. Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert

Synopsis:

Since she was seven years old, Yvonne has had her trusted violin to keep her company, especially in those lonely days after her mother walked out on their family. But with graduation just around the corner, she is forced to face the hard truth that she just might not be good enough to attend a conservatory after high school.

Full of doubt about her future, and increasingly frustrated by her strained relationship with her successful but emotionally closed-off father, Yvonne meets a street musician and fellow violinist who understands her struggle. He’s mysterious, charming, and different from Warren, the familiar and reliable boy who has her heart. But when Yvonne becomes unexpectedly pregnant, she has to make the most difficult decision yet about her future.

9. Oh My Gods by Alexandra Shappard

Synopsis:

Life as a half-mortal teenager should be epic. But, for Helen Thomas, it’s tragic . She’s just moved in with her dorky dad and self-absorbed older siblings – who happen to be the ancient Greek gods, living incognito in London! Between keeping her family’s true identities secret, trying to impress her new friends, and meeting an actually cute boy, Helen’s stress levels are higher than Mount Olympus. She needs to rein in her chaotic family before they blow their cover AND her chances at a half-normal social life. Or is Helen fated for an embarrassment of mythical proportions?

10. Wrong in All the Right Ways by Tiffany Brownlee

Synopsis:

Emma’s life has always gone according to her very careful plans. But things take a turn toward the unexpected when she falls in love for the first time with the one person in the world who’s off-limits: her new foster brother, the gorgeous and tormented Dylan McAndrews.

Meanwhile, Emma’s AP English class is reading Wuthering Heights, and she’s been assigned to echo Emily Bronte’s style in an epistolary format. With irrepressible feelings and no one to confide in, she’s got a lot to write about. Distraught by the escalating intensity of their mutual attraction, Emma and Dylan try to constrain their romance to the page―for fear of threatening Dylan’s chances at being adopted into a loving home. But the strength of first love is all-consuming, and they soon get enveloped in a passionate, secretive relationship with a very uncertain outcome.

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How will you be contributing to the #blacklivesmatter movement?

Are there any books written by black authors that you’re just dying to read? Or better yet, are there any amazing books by black authors that you’ve read and would recommend? Please let me know if there are any, and feel free to chat with me in the comments below! ❤

I’ll see you soon, friends!

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ARC Review: The Wild Mermaid by Mel Braxton

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Disclaimer: The author kindly sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinions.

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The Wild Mermaid: An Atlantean Adventure by [Mel Braxton]

Cora was thrilled. Today she would reach Atlantis, and after a long migration she was eager to finish the journey.

But when the Queen appoints Cora as the next soloist, she must take an unusual medication called physic. As the drug reshapes her mind, Cora discovers Atlantis to be far more sinister than her daydreams.

To escape, Cora must navigate the Queen’s palace. Along the way, she is befriended and betrayed. She learns that myths can be lies and tragedies often leave scars.

It’s an adventure that’ll ultimately transform her into The Wild Mermaid.

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*** This review contains mild spoilers ***

Now THAT is what I call an unputdownable book!

The Wild Mermaid totally took me by surprise with its complex characters, intricate world-building, and fast-moving plot.

This gem of a book completely unravels everything you think you know about the mythical city of Atlantis… we’re shown a far more sinister version of the underwater kingdom in this story, one that forces us to question all of the legends we’ve been told.

This is a short book (a little over 200 pages), but Mel Braxton packs so many thoughtful little details into every single page. I love how right away, as soon as the story begins, we readers can sense that there is something off about Atlantis… Cora, our main character, has been chosen to be Queen Mari’s new soloist, and it turns out the position involves so much more than just singing. As the soloist, Cora takes physic, a drug that rewires her brain, causing her to see Atlantis in a new (and much more eerie) light.

As the story progresses and Cora’s mind is reshaped by physic, she goes through a great deal of growth and development. Cora gains immense wisdom as she becomes more clear sighted and realizes just how sinister Atlantis really is. By the end of her journey, she has come such a long way from the mindless, bubbly, blissfully ignorant mermaid she once was. What I like about Cora’s story is that it’s so much more than an action packed, high stakes, underwater adventure… It’s a story about reclaiming your identity, and I absolutely love that.

I’d like to take a moment to appreciate just how interesting and WILDly creative Mel’s interpretation of mermaids and immortality is. I found it so intriguing that in the book, there were both immortal and mortal merfolk, and that the mortals were essentially slaves to the immortals. I also found it incredibly fascinating that the mortal mer started off as humans before they traded their freedom and memories for a tail and fins… How cool is that? It’s almost like a reverse Little Mermaid retelling!

We’ve discussed plot and setting, so now let’s talk about characters, another aspect of this book that completely blew me away! The Wild Mermaid had such a charming set of characters that I easily connected with right off the bat. Like I mentioned above, Cora was a really fun character to read about, and I loved seeing how she grew and developed throughout the story. I think that it’s truly commendable that Mel Braxton succeeded in crafting such a well developed main character in under 200 pages! There are so many authors that can’t accomplish that feat in double or even triple the number of pages!

There aren’t tons of supporting characters in The Wild Mermaid, but I really liked the few that we were introduced to. Sarina, for instance. She was strong-willed and tough, but she had a soft spot for those she cared about. So often in literature we see female characters pitted against one another, which is why it was so wonderful to see the friendship blossom between Sarina and Cora, despite the fact that they were brought together under rather unfortunate circumstances.

I’ve already gushed a ton about how this book is so wonderfully unique, so why not name another way in which it screams originality? I’m going to do a horrible job at explaining this, but in the story, Cora has an alter-ego named Kyla in her brain… Kyla is Cora’s human self. That is, before Kyla gave up her humanity and memories to become a mermaid. When Cora takes physic, her former self (Kyla) resurfaces in her mind. Throughout the book, Cora communicates with Kyla through sleep and dreams, and the two girls work together to escape Atlantis and overcome the many obstacles they meet along the way. The dynamic between Kyla and Cora was such an interesting one to read, and it might have even been my favorite part of the book. Their relationship was so captivatingly complex, for while they shared many similarities, their differences were what truly fascinated me. I think that both of the girls got the endings they deserved, and I’m so satisfied with the way Mel Braxton concluded their story. It was heartbreakingly beautiful, but so empowering at the same time.

Overall, this lovely little “tail” completely stole my heart (admit it… you saw that pun coming from a mile away). What I love most about this book is that beyond being action-packed, exciting, and full of endless twists and turns, it’s also beautiful, emotional, and full of exquisite themes.

To put it simply, I absolutely loved The Wild Mermaid, and I think you will too.  ❤😉

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How do Preschools Earn Those 5 Stars? - Children's Campus

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(This sale will run from Saturday May 30th to Friday June 5th at $0.99)