ARC Review: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

HUGE thanks to Jimmy Patterson Publicity for giving me the opportunity to read this incredible book!

Two sisters. One brutal murder. A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself… And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.
Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is at is seems…

Oh, how I loved this book. It was an absolutely phenomenal start to what is bound to be yet another fantastic series by Kerri Maniscalco.

The world that Maniscalco has created is so detailed and intense which made it easy for me to fall into it. I loved how it was crafted with her Italian heritage in mind, as it merged with the magical element of the setting so well! The creatures in this book (we’re talking demons, witches, vampires, werewolves, and more!), their history, and how the world worked was intricate and spellbinding. With all of its fabulous world-building, Kingdom of the Wicked took a bit longer for me to get into than Maniscalco’s previous works, but trust me, it was soooo worth it…

After all, it had absolutely everything I adore in a fantasy book:

  • A strong willed female protagonist
  • A snarky, devilishly handsome love interest (who also happens to be a Prince of Hell??!)
  • DEMONS. LOTS OF DEMONS.
  • Bad-ass witches
  • Heavenly descriptions of Italian food that will MAKE YOUR MOUTH WATER
  • An incredible enemies-to-lovers romance
  • A gripping murder mystery that will have you turning the pages like mad
  • PLOT TWISTS

And so much more! If that doesn’t convince you to pick up this book ASAP, I honestly don’t know what will.

Y’all– Enemies to lovers is easily my favorite trope, and Kerri Maniscalco had me swooning away with the slow-burn hate to love romance between our main character, Emilia, and our brooding love interest, aka the Prince of Wrath. I like how it didn’t distract from the overall plot, but still had us mentally screaming “JUST KISS ALREADY” over and over again. In other words, there was a perfect balance between plot and romance. Emilia and Wrath are also both very deep, layered characters. Emilia is smart, stubborn, and brave, and Wrath, though mysterious, is clever, ambitious, and determined. Both of these characters had such complicated and captivating personalities, making the romantic tension between them all the more compelling.

In sum, Kingdom of the Wicked is a dark, gripping story that both new readers and fans of Maniscalco’s previous work will LOVE. I am in complete awe of the writing, the characters, and the plot of this story, and I just know that many other readers will be too! I am SO looking forward to seeing what Maniscalco has in store for us as this series progresses. I enjoyed this book so much, and I can’t wait for its sequel!

Four out of five stars rating | Premium Photo

ARC Review: Far From Normal by Becky Wallace

Huge thanks to Page Street Publishing for sending me a review copy!

Far from Normal

Maddie McPherson is sick of Normal—both her hometown of Normal, Illinois and being the ‘normal’ sibling. But when she lands a summer internship with a sports marketing firm, she finally has a chance to crawl out of her genius brother’s shadow. Not to mention, a glowing letter of recommendation could secure her admission to her dream college.

But Maddie’s nickname is “CalaMaddie” for a reason, and when the company tasks her with repairing the image of teen soccer phenom Gabriel Fortunato, she wonders if she’s set herself up for embarrassment. Gabriel is a tabloid magnet, who’s best-known for flubbing Italy’s World Cup hopes. As Maddie works with him to develop “pleasant and friendly” content for social media, she also learns he’s thoughtful, multi-talented, and fiercely loyal—maybe even to a fault. Falling for a footballer is exactly how CalaMaddie would botch this internship, but with the firm pressuring her to get the job done, perhaps her heart is worth risking?

I fell head over heels in LOVE with this adorable book!

Oh guys… Far From Normal was a ridiculously cute story. Sometimes, when the world is a complete dumpster fire like it is now, you just want a sweet, light-hearted read to sweep you off of your feet and make you forget about all of your problems. That’s exactly what this book did for me.

The whole vibe of the story was just so delightful. It had me smiling til the very last page, with lots of laughs in between. You know, it’s the kind of read where you just want to move into the book and stay there. From start to finish, it moves and marches—forward, onward, always. The story is smart and nuanced, never boring or predictable. There was not one dull moment! The plot was interesting and the characters lovely and engaging, with great chemistry. Maddie, our main character, was insta-likable. She’s driven and hard working, but awkward and quirky too. I really related to Maddie, and it took pretty much zero effort to step into her shoes and empathize with her struggles, desires, and dreams. Gabe was also great, but since the book is told from Maddie’s point of view, he takes a bit more time to get to know and love. He had so many layers to him, and it was such a pleasure to see each of them unearthed as Maddie’s connection with him grew stronger.

This is a funny read as well. There’s banter and wit and you can’t help but laugh. Maddie’s awkwardness is something I related to SO MUCH, and it also made me chuckle quite a bit.

Beyond all of the cuteness and hilarity, though, there is so much emotion behind this story. The themes of proving yourself, defying all odds, and not giving up even when no one believes in you were so wonderful to see. In the book, Maddie is constantly put down and compared to her siblings, but that doesn’t stop her from overcoming every obstacle that comes her way and showing everyone, including her family, just how amazing she is.

Honestly, I finished this book days ago, yet I’m still in awe of it. How can such a short book make me feel so safe, warm, and happy? That’s what I love about contemporary romances– They have this sort of effortlessness about them, making them so easy to get sucked into. The love and sweetness Becky Wallace has put into this story is truly wonderful, and I can’t wait for it to reach more readers when the book is released later this month!

In sum, Far From Normal is a blissfully charming book that I absolutely adored. I fell in love with the characters, and I couldn’t get enough of the romance. This story has made me feel all hopeful and warm and fuzzy inside, and I think this is something that a lot of people would benefit from reading, even if it’s only so it can put a smile on their face, because it most definitely will!

five-stars | FootSteps Marketing

The Folklore Book Tag

When Taylor Swift dropped her surprise album, Folklore, a couple weeks ago, you can rest assured that I was HYPED. Our girl has now proven that she can produce amazing music from literally any genre… Country, pop, and now indie? We stan a multi-talented queen.

Anyways, when I caught wind of a book tag that matches songs from T-Swift’s new album with books, I knew I had to do it. I was not tagged, but did that stop me from joining in on the TS fan-girling? Nope. Brace yourself, everyone, because I’m about to go full Swiftie on y’all!

The Rules:

  • Link to the original creator: Ilsa @ A Whisper Of Ink
  • Tag at least 3 people
  • Declare the rules and list of prompts in your post
  • Thank whoever who tagged you and link to their post
the one

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Amazon.com: The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air Book 2) eBook ...

Y’all. The ending of The Cruel Prince was surprising, sure, but the ending of The Wicked King left me SHOOK. I won’t spoil anything, of course, but damn. This book taught me the true meaning of “plot twist”. It also sets up the last book in the series so perfectly… Stan Holly Black for clear skin. I’m SO glad I binge-read this series after all of the books had been published, because I seriously have no idea how I’d wait A WHOLE year for book three after that jaw-dropping cliffhanger.

cardigan

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Amazon.com: Mockingjay (Hunger Games) (9780545663267): Collins ...

Mockingjay was a both beautiful and heartbreaking ending to The Hunger Games trilogy. The last few chapters are very bittersweet, and they make me feel like smiling and crying all at once. After everything Katniss and Peeta go through, it’s so emotional to see them finally get their happy ending together, even with all of the losses that continue to haunt them. I like how Suzanne Collins concluded this trilogy in such a realistic way, and I don’t think the ending of this book could have been more perfectly written.

last great american dynasty

The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

The Queen of Blood is an absolutely magnificent fantasy novel. Fascinating? Check. Extremely well-told? Check. This book’s magic system is so beautifully developed and unlike anything I’ve ever read before! It was so interesting to read about!

exile

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

There are many books I could have chosen for this prompt, but I think I’m going to go with All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood. THIS IS LITERALLY THE MOST TERRIBLE, PROBLEMATIC BOOK I HAVE EVER READ. I’m sorry, but if you liked this book, what is wrong with you??? It literally romanticizes the sexual relationship between a CHILD and an adult man. We’re talking about an eight year old and someone in their twenties. DISGUSTING. That’s not love, that’s pedophilia. I really wish I hadn’t picked this book up, because now I am scarred for life. It literally deserves 0 stars, DO NOT READ IT!!!

my tears ricochet

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

Amazon.com: The Midnight Star (Young Elites Book 3) eBook: Lu ...

The Midnight Star was such a perfect conclusion to the Young Elites series! The ending was bittersweet, but I think everything played out exactly the way it was supposed to. This is definitely one of my favorite Marie Lu books!

mirrorball

The Selection by Kiera Cass

Amazon.com: The Selection (8601400293799): Cass, Kiera: Books

I’ve been a Bachelor fan since Day 1, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when I discovered The Selection, a book that’s basically The Bachelor, but the bachelor is… A PRINCE.

seven

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1 ...

Harry Potter? We don’t know him. J.K. Rowling? My boy Rick Riordan is where it’s at.

The Percy Jackson series is literally the epitome of nostalgia. These books were my childhood, and I’m so so thankful that I got to read them at such a young age and was able to grow up during the peak of this series’ hype. The characters are wonderful, as is the development of the plot, and the idea of a middle grade series centered around Greek mythology is simply brilliant. I’m definitely due for a reread of this series soon!

august

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Amazon.com: Sadie (Spanish Edition) (9786078614622): Courtney ...

Y’all, this book has NOTHING to do with summer (well, besides the fact that that’s the author’s last name). But it still strongly reminds me of that season. Why? Well, the summer of 2018 was one of the best times of my life, and that’s when I picked up Sadie. I read it when I was visiting New York for the first time, and getting lost in the dark, mysterious atmosphere of the story somehow made the experience all the more vivid. Again, this book has nothing to do with summer OR New York. But because these things collided together in my life all at once, I always associate them with each other! I hope that makes sense!

this is me trying

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

Amazon.com: The Light Between Worlds eBook: Weymouth, Laura E ...

This book depicts depression so so well, which is rare for a magical realism novel. What makes it so special is that it deals with the aftermath of leaving a magical realm, after experiencing so many wonders and joys there. When it’s all over and you return to real life… what are you supposed to do? That’s what this book is all about. The loneliness and longing these characters feel is so raw, real, and heartbreaking, but beautifully impactful as well. This is such a wonderful story, and I highly recommend reading it.

illicit affairs

Champion by Marie Lu

Amazon.com: Champion (2015399256776): Marie Lu: Books

This is another prompt that brings sooooo many books to mind. But I’ve gotta go with yet another Marie Lu book… Champion, the third and final installment in the original Legend trilogy. After reading this book, I was so emotionally drained, but in the best way possible. I was happy, sad, euphoric, and heartbroken all at once. I just love the way Marie Lu concluded June and Day’s story, and for that reason, Champion might jsut be my favorite book of hers!

invisible string

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Amazon.com: Geekerella: A Fangirl Fairy Tale (Once Upon A Con ...

Geekerella really did come into my life at the perfect time. I had been struggling internally quite a lot, with all of the different things that had been going on in my life at the time. I certainly wasn’t in my best state, by reading Geekerella made me feel a million times better. It was such a sweet, fluffy read, and it just made me feel so happy inside! Geekerella is easily my #1 go-to comfort read. ❤

mad woman

The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning

Amazon.com: The Princess Will Save You (Kingdoms of Sand and Sky ...

Words cannot express how much I love Princess Amarande from Sarah Henning’s latest novel, The Princess Will Save You. She had this sureness about herself that I absolutely loved, and I admired how confident and headstrong she was. If you love strong female heroines (and honestly, who doesn’t???), you’re going to be obsessed with Ama!

epiphany

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

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

This book literally gave me chills. It’s the kind of read that sends shivers down your spine. The Grace Year was creepy, eerie, and dark, and I absolutely loved it. Think of it as a mash-up of The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Lord of the Flies. Sounds like a pretty epic combination, right? Well I can assure you that it most definitely is! Haunting and thought provoking, The Grace Year is a captivating dystopian novel that I highly recommend!

betty

Ethan and Olive From The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

The Unhoneymooners: Lauren, Christina: 9781501128035: Amazon.com: Books

This is problem my favorite Folklore song, btw 😉

A book couple that fills me with yearning is Ethan and Olive from The Unhoneymooners! Something about falling in love with your nemesis is just so swoon-worthy, and y’all… this book is the literal embodiment of the enemies to lovers trope. Despite being a rom-com, The Unhoneymooners contains excellent portrayal of how healthy relationships develop and grow over time. Ethan and Olive are sooooooo adorable together, and I yearn for a romance as sweet and wholesome as theirs!

peace

Peeta Mellark From The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Amazon.com: The Hunger Games (9780439023481): Collins, Suzanne: Books

I would die for Peeta Mellark in a heartbeat. Must I even explain myself? He is the sweetest, purest, KINDEST book boyfriend out there, and I’d literally do anything for him. He goes through so much throughout The Hunger Games trilogy, and my heart aches for him everyday. He deserves happiness more than anyone!

hoax

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Amazon.com: Strange the Dreamer eBook: Taylor, Laini: Kindle Store

I really thought that I was going to love Strange the Dreamer, but sadly, it just didn’t live up to the hype for me. I really loved the characters, so no, not every aspect of the book was unenjoyable, but it boils down to this: this book is boring. I completely agree that the writing is lyrical and lovely, but that’s just not enough to keep me turning the pages. I need an actual PLOT. And Strange the Dreamer never really seemed to have one.

Tag Time!

I tag…

I had such a blast doing this tag, and I hope you do too if you decide to give it a try as well! Even if you’re not a Swiftie, you’ll still have tons of fun coming up with answers!

That’s it for now, everyone. I hope you’re all having a good August, and I’m wishing you all happy reading!

See you soon,

August 2020 Wrap-Up

August was quite the busy month for me!

I returned to school which was… rough. I’m very happy to be productive again, because my classes keep me busy, and I actually enjoy most of them! HOWEVER, being on video call with all of my teachers and classmates is so anxiety-inducing for me. I’ve only been in school for two weeks, but already I can feel myself overthinking everything I say and do. I’m stressed, paranoid, and extremely anxious, but I’m trying to keep it under control. And I’m not going to be hard on myself… It’s a challenge to go back to a school environment after months of isolation and social separation, even if everything is online.

Anyways, other than my return to school, there isn’t really anything new going on in my life! I’ve been spending a lot of time on Bookstagram lately, and I’m on my way to reaching 1000 followers! I recently changed my feed’s theme, and I’m quite happy with it! I’ve been becoming a lot more involved in the community, and I’m so glad! I’ve also gotten sooooo many great book recommendations from Bookstagram this month, and you can bet that I’ll be adding many of them to my TBR.

I actually got a lot of reading done in August after only reading a few books in July. Most of the books I read were 4 stars, so I would say that as a whole, August was a pretty solid reading month. Here’s what I read!

Total: 13 books

Seven Devils (Seven Devils, #1) by Laura Lam

Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May: I’ve been reading a ton of science fiction lately, and Seven Devils has quickly made it to my list of favorites. Where do I even begin with this book? Everything was so expertly written. The characters, universe, and politics of the book were all so fascinating, and I’m dying to get my hands on the sequel! Rating: ★★★★☆

A Bigfoot's Gift: A Coming of Age Story (Alice's Shapeshifting Adventure  Book 1) - Kindle edition by Braxton, Mel. Children Kindle eBooks @  Amazon.com.

A Bigfoot’s Gift by Mel Braxton: I had so much fun reading this adorable middle grade story! The characters and friendships in the book were all so sweet, and I loved all of the heartwarming themes that were portrayed. A Bigfoot’s Gift is a hidden gem of a book, and I’m so excited to start reading the next book in the series! Rating: ★★★★☆

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Amazon.com: Legendborn (9781534441606): Deonn, Tracy: Books

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn: Legendborn was a wonderful #OwnVoices fantasy novel full of magical realism, charming characters, fabulous world-building, and a swoon-worthy love triangle. The magic system was beautifully intricate, and the author crafted it so well. The protagonist, Bree, was such a great character, and I loved how her struggles with grief, loss, and discrimination were portrayed so honestly. This was a wonderful debut novel! Rating: ★★★★☆

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: The Night Circus was such a magical book. I didn’t know what to expect coming into it, but it ended up completely sweeping me off of my feet. The atmosphere of the story was so stunning, and though the book had its issues (*cough cough* the romance), I can see why people love it so much. The hype is well deserved! Rating: ★★★★☆

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Amazon.com: A Song Below Water: A Novel (9781250315328): Morrow, Bethany  C.: Books

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow: This was a really cool story, and I loved all of the conversations about BLM. But, with that being said, this book had its issues. For one thing, there were so many plot lines and so little world building that the story was hard to follow sometimes. We’re just thrown into this alternate Portland where sirens, sprites, and gargoyles somehow exist, yet there’s really not much explanation behind the world’s magical elements. Hm. Beyond that, the storytelling style just wasn’t really for me. This book is under 300 pages, but it still felt so slow. Tavia and Effie were both interesting characters, but all of my issues with this story got in the way of me really connecting with them. This was a fun book, but it definitely let me down in some ways. Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Crownchasers (Crownchasers, #1) by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer: Y’all don’t even know how happy I was to receive an arc of this gem this month! Crownchasers was definitely one of my favorite books of August. It was just so damn good. The characters and their relationships with one another were beautifully crafted, which is so special to see in a sci-fi setting. I already know that the wait for this book’s sequel is going to be a hard one… especially considering book one isn’t even out yet! Rating: ★★★★☆

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Crimson Bound

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge: Rosamund Hodge is literally the QUEEN of fairy tale retellings! I’m not sure if I liked Crimson Bound quite as much as Cruel Beauty, but it sure is a close call. Both books are just so damn good. I really love how all of Hodge’s characters are so morally grey, because that’s partly why her stories are so interesting. Rachelle was such a complex character, probably because she was so flawed! The magic system in this book was also incredible. It was brilliantly thought out, and I was just so in awe of it! Overall, Crimson Bound is a spectacular YA fantasy that has quickly made it to my list of favorite retellings! Highly recommend this book! Rating: ★★★★☆

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Mermaid Reads: A Book Blog – So many books… So little time!

Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen: While not nearly as good as its predecessor, Hidden Huntress was a promising follow-up to Stolen Songbird. I loved seeing Cecile and Tristan grow and develop as characters, and while I didn’t always agree with the decisions they made, I appreciated how morally grey the two of them were. I was sad to discover that the city of Trollus wasn’t the primary setting of this book like it was in Stolen Songbird, but I understand that it wouldn’t have made sense with the story’s plot. This was still a solid read! Rating: ★★★★☆

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Amazon.com: The Kingdom eBook: Rothenberg, Jess: Kindle Store

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg: Holy crap… this was such a cool book. Definitely one of my top three of the month! The Kingdom is set in a dark, futuristic version of DISNEYLAND, which is just AMAZING. The atmosphere of the story is gloomy, oppressive, and eerie, and I loved every second of it. My favorite books are the ones that literally send shivers down my spine, and that’s exactly what The Kingdom did to me! It’s such a great book with such a great concept behind it. Why, oh why, did I leave it on my TBR for so long? Rating: ★★★★½

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A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy: This book contains some of the best fantasy world-building I’ve ever encountered! While it certainly was dense, I think that it was totally worth it. A River of Royal Blood is full of gorgeous imagery, amazing characters, and a complex magic system, with a fascinatingly intricate conflict at the center of it all. I loved how each supporting character was as well developed as the protagonist, and I was utterly captivated by the character relationships as well. Can’t wait to read the upcoming sequel! Rating: ★★★★☆

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Warrior Witch (Malediction Trilogy, book 3) by Danielle L Jensen

Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen: While I enjoyed Warrior Witch to a certain extent, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t kind of disappointed by it. The bulk of the book was extremely slow, and though it definitely picked up at the end, I’m not sure if it was worth it or not. Another issue: Cecile, the main character, was super annoying in this book. I loved her in Stolen Songbird and Hidden Huntress, but she really got on my nerves in Warrior Witch. She was whiny, demanding, and manipulative, and I hated seeing her blame her mistakes on all of her friends. But you know what, Cecile DID go through a lot of suffering throughout this series, so maybe I should give her a pass. No character is perfect! The thing that really saved this book for me was the ending… Long story short, it had me bawling for hours! Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Far From Normal by Becky Wallace: I fell head over heels in love with this story! The romance was ridiculously cute, and all of the characters were so sweet and pure. Maddie and Gabe are so adorable together, and the way their story ended just melted my heart. I’m not usually one to gravitate towards contemporary romance, but I am SO GLAD I gave this book a read. It was truly fantastic. Rating: ★★★★★

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Amazon.com: The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy) (9780374384678):  Rutkoski, Marie: Books

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski: This was a solid read! The plot was a bit slow sometimes, sure, but I appreciated the complex world-building and intricate character dynamics and relationships. The ending was just incredible, and, since I’m currently reading the sequel, I can confirm that it was the perfect set-up for book two! I’ve totally been sleeping on this series… It’s incredibly underrated! Rating: ★★★½☆

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Thanks to school, I really didn’t have tons of time to blog this month. But I did manage to post a decent amount nevertheless! Prepare for MANY reviews!

July 2020 Wrap-Up

ARC Review: Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

“Like that? Read this!” Book Recommendations

ARC Review: A Bigfoot’s Gift by Mel Braxton

ARC Review: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Most Anticipated Releases of September 2020

Review: Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

ARC Review: Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

You can BET that despite all of the school-related chaos in my life right now, I am going to do my best to read all I can in September! There are so many wonderful releases coming out this month that I’m DYING to get my greedy little hands on, so I’ll definitely be reading some of those in the near future. One of my pre-orders has already arrived– Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin, the sequel to Serpent & Dove (one of my favorite 2019 releases)! I am soooooo looking forward to reading this book, along with several other September releases that I’ve been keeping my eye on.

The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner is probably tied with Blood & Honey for the #1 September release that I’m the most hyped for. I’ve loved everything that Amie and Meagan have written together in the past, and I have no doubt that I’ll adore this book just as much! I also have a ticket for Amie and Meagan’s virtual book tour, and I am beyond excited to get to hear from them, even if it’s over video call!

I’m planning on spending the rest of September settling into my new routine while still spending time doing the things I love (reading and blogging)! It’s all about balance, y’all.

I hope everyone had a great August, and I’m crossing my fingers that September ends up being even better.

Bye for now,

ARC Review: Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Endless thanks to Rebecca Coffindaffer and HarperTeen for sending me a beautiful review copy!

Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy, even leaving behind the Kingship and her uncle, the emperor, for a life of exploring.

But when her dying uncle announces a crownchase—a search for the royal seal hidden in the empire that will determine the next ruler—Alyssa is thrust into her greatest, most dangerous adventure yet. 

What an amazing sci-fi read!

Recently, I’ve been diving deeper into the science fiction genre, and Crownchasers has very quickly made it to my list of favorites. This book promises high stakes, endless thrills, and a brutal conflict spanning across a galactic empire… and boy, does it deliver!

Crownchasers is one of those books that had me hooked from the very first page. The story is told in the charming perspective of Alyssa Farshot, a free-spirited explorer who just wants to escape the legacy of the royal family and her uncle, the emperor. I really enjoyed getting to know Alyssa. She kind of gave me Aelin from TOG vibes, but at the same time, she was unlike any other YA character I’ve met before. She was snarky, strong-willed, and incredibly badass, but she was also complex and damaged too. In the book, she is thrust into a position of leadership that she doesn’t even want, but does that stop her from being a strong, caring, and empathetic leader? Not at all. Alyssa’s relationships with the other characters in the book were excellently written as well, because beyond all of the adorably witty banter (which I totally loved, by the way), there were deep, unbreakable bonds and friendships that just warmed my heart.

Coy and Faye were two supporting characters in the book that really stood out to me. Probably because they were both very flawed, and (what can I say?) I always vibe with the morally grey characters/anti-heroes. Even Edward, the story’s main antagonist, was interesting to read about, because his motivation to do wicked things came from a very deep place.

This book is marketed as a mash-up of The Hunger Games and Three Dark Crowns, and I must say, I totally see the similarities… A deadly competition where everything is on the line? Check. A fight for the crown that will have you turning the pages like crazy? Check. Backstabbing, betrayal, and fragile alliances? Check! Don’t be mistaken, though: Crownchasers is such a unique story, and it definitely stands out amongst other books within the YA genre. Alyssa’s perspective packs a powerful punch, and so do this book’s thrilling plot twists and jaw dropping cliffhanger.

Speaking of which, let’s just take a moment to talk about that ending… LIKE, WHAT?!! It was so shocking, I seriously still haven’t come to terms with it, and I read the book weeks ago! Why, Rebecca, why?! What am I supposed to do with my life now???? (In all seriousness, though, that was one epic ending! It tore me apart, but in the best way possible!)

All in all, I absolutely loved everything about Crownchasers–the crew, the plot, the setting.  This book kept me on the edge of my seat, and I already know that the wait for the sequel is going to be a hard one. This was a fantastic debut novel, and if you’re anything like me and you think you’ve read so much YA fiction that you just can’t be surprised anymore, I implore you to give this book a read! You’ll definitely be pleased!

Overview – Meridian Home Mortgage

Review: Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…

Hidden Huntress was a very worthy follow-up to its predecessor, Stolen Songbird. The Book 2 curse is a very common occurrence within the YA genre, but somehow this book managed to avoid it! In this sequel, Cecile’s story expanded far beyond the events that took place in Stolen Songbird, but both books are united by their glorious storytelling, complex world-building, and fantastically developed characters.

Hidden Huntress begins with our two main characters, Cecile and Tristan, worlds apart… literally. I truly appreciated how though the lovers were seperated for the bulk of the story, they didn’t spend the whole book pining, wallowing, and whining about how much they longed for each other. Nope, none of that cheesy stuff! This book focuses much more on plot than romance, making it quite different from Stolen Songbird, which was pretty romance heavy, if I’m being honest. Don’t get me wrong– I love love LOVE Cecile and Tristan as a couple. They’re literally my OTP. ❤ But was it refreshing to see the series focus more on the plot and history of the world rather than the romance? Definitely.

Hidden Huntress dives deeper into the history of Trollus, as well as the search for Anushka, the immortal witch who cursed the magical city hundreds of years ago. Cecile’s hunt for Anushka was so captivating to follow, and I found myself wanting her to find the witch almost as badly as she herself did. In addition to Anushka, several new characters are introduced to the story, as well as characters from book one that didn’t really get much time in the spotlight.

Cecile’s mother, for example. While I certainly didn’t respect her parenting skills (not to mention the horrible things she did throughout the book), it was interesting to see her relationship with Cecile grow and develop. It’s a very love-hate dynamic, but I thought it was extremely well written on Danielle L. Jensen’s part. Most mothers in YA are either dead, absent, or abusive, so it was a pleasant surprise to meet one that wasn’t outright abusive, but also not the picture-perfect parent. Though Cecile’s mother constantly put her own selfish needs above Cecile, I think she still cared about her in her own twisted way. Beyond that, getting to hear her heartbreaking backstory also caused me to feel a bit sympathetic towards her. I don’t condone her actions at all, but she was definitely a unique character to read about, and I’m glad Danielle L. Jensen developed her character the way she did.

Cecile’s relationship with her mother wasn’t the only one she struggled with throughout the book. She also had to overcome many obstacles in her relationship with Tristan, her husband. Cecile and Tristan’s romance was a lot more serious in book two than it was in book one, likely because the stakes were so much higher and so much more was at risk, including both of their lives. They wanted to protect each other and the people they loved, but that often put them at odds. They fought and argued quite a bit, but all for completely justified reasons. Relationships aren’t easy, and I’m glad that this one was portrayed so honestly and realistically. Cecile and Tristan are both very complicated, morally grey characters, and though I didn’t always agree with their choices, I truly do love their depth and complexity.

But while this story flourished in regards to character development, it did, unfortunately, lack in other areas. I was a tad disappointed by how little the city of Trollus was featured in the novel. The thing I loved most about Stolen Songbird was its magical setting that completely swept me off of my feet, which is why I felt rather ripped off when Trollus, and all of its beauty, mystery, and lushness, was hardly part of the story at all. I understand that there was no way to make Trollus the primary setting of the book, as that would totally disrupt the plot. But, alas, I did miss it, and I wish it had been a bigger part of the story.

But did that ruin my overall reading experience? Absolutely not! I’m still 100% invested in this story and all of the fantastic characters in it. Danielle L. Jensen’s storytelling is truly fabulous, and she’s very quickly becoming one of my favorite authors!

I can’t wait to see how Cecile and Tristan’s story finally comes to an end in the series finale, Warrior Witch. I have very high hopes! ❤

Four out of five stars rating | Premium Photo

Most Anticipated Releases of September 2020

Last month, I really enjoyed creating my list for my most anticipated August releases, and people seemed to have fun reading it as well. So I thought: why not make it a monthly thing?

There are SO many incredible books coming out in September, several of which I have already pre-ordered! Some of my most anticipated releases of the whole YEAR are on this list, so brace yourself for total awesomeness. I’ve also decided to rate each book on my own personal excitement scale, so you guys have an idea of how hyped I am for each release.

You ready? Let’s dive right in!


Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

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Synopsis:

The hotly anticipated sequel to the New York Times and IndieBound bestseller Serpent & Dove—packed with even steamier romance and darker magic—is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

Release Date: September 1st, 2020

Excitement Level: 10/10

Fable by Adrienne Young

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Synopsis:

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Release Date: September 1st, 2020

Excitement Level: 5/10

The Other Side Of the Sky by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner 

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Synopsis:

Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the surface, responsible for providing answers, direction—hope.

Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.

Magnetic and gorgeously thematic, New York Times bestselling author duo Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have crafted a gripping tale of magic and logic, fate and choice, and an impossible decision between an empty future and a deadly love. Perfect for fans of Claudia Gray and Laini Taylor.

Release Date: September 8th, 2020

Excitement Level: 10000/10

These Vengeful Hearts by Katherine Laurin

Synopsis:

Anyone can ask the Red Court for a favor…but every request comes at a cost. And once the deed is done, you’re forever in their debt.

Whenever something scandalous happens at Heller High, the Red Court is the name on everyone’s lips. Its members—the most elite female students in the school—deal out social ruin and favors in equal measure, their true identities a secret known only to their ruthless leader: the Queen of Hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Ember Williams has seen firsthand the damage the Red Court can do. Two years ago, they caused the accident that left her older sister paralyzed. Now, Ember is determined to hold them accountable…by taking the Red Court down from the inside.

But crossing enemy lines will mean crossing moral boundaries, too—ones Ember may never be able to come back from. She always knew taking on the Red Court would come at a price, but will the cost of revenge be more than she’s willing to sacrifice?

Release Date: September 8th, 2020

Excitement Level: 6/10

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn Walker 

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Synopsis:

Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her previous life, family memories, or her childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at a local university seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure reveals Bree’s own, unique magic and unlocks a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that she knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, Bree will do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn by becoming one of their initiates. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur and his knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

Release Date: September 15th, 2020

Excitement Level: 7/10

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco 

Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author Kerri Maniscalco introduces her next blockbuster series, in which a beautiful young witch, a troubled demon, and a lush 19th century Italian setting come together to create a dark, intoxicating romance for the ages.

Emilia and her twin sister Victoria are strega – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Victoria never shows up for dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find out who did this, and to punish them.

Wrath was the outlier among the seven demon brethren, always choosing duty over pleasure. So when ordered to find out who was killing off the young women who were to be his master’s bride, he didn’t hesitate. But upon meeting the fierce, desperate Emilia, it was clear this disturbing mystery would take a bewitching turn…

Release Date: September 15th, 2020

Excitement Level: 6/10

Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall

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Synopsis:

There are two things that Corinne Parker knows to be true: that she is in love with Maggie Bailey, the captain of the rival high school’s cross-country team and her secret girlfriend of a year, and that she isn’t ready for anyone to know she’s bisexual.

But then Maggie dies, and Corinne quickly learns that the only thing worse than losing Maggie is being left heartbroken over a relationship no one knows existed. And to make things even more complicated, the only person she can turn to is Elissa — Maggie’s ex and the single person who understands how Corinne is feeling.

As Corinne struggles to make sense of her grief and what she truly wants out of life, she begins to have feelings for the last person she should fall for. But to move forward after losing Maggie, Corinne will have to learn to be honest with the people in her life…starting with herself.

Release Date: September 15th, 2020

Excitement Level: 7/10

Far From Normal by Becky Wallace 

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Synopsis:

From Stealing Home author Becky Wallace comes a Devil Wears Prada-inspired YA romance, in which “normal girl” Maddie must repair the image of Major League Soccer’s bad boy to ace her internship. A perfect read for fans of Morgan Matson and Miranda Kenneally.

Maddie McPherson is sick of Normal—both her hometown of Normal, Illinois and being the ‘normal’ sibling. But when she lands a summer internship with a sports marketing firm, she finally has a chance to crawl out of her genius brother’s shadow. Not to mention, a glowing letter of recommendation could secure her admission to her dream college.

But Maddie’s nickname is “CalaMaddie” for a reason, and when the company tasks her with repairing the image of teen soccer phenom Gabriel Fortunato, she wonders if she’s set herself up for embarrassment. Gabriel is a tabloid magnet, who’s best-known for flubbing Italy’s World Cup hopes. As Maddie works with him to develop “pleasant and friendly” content for social media, she also learns he’s thoughtful, multi-talented, and fiercely loyal—maybe even to a fault. Falling for a footballer is exactly how CalaMaddie would botch this internship, but with the firm pressuring her to get the job done, perhaps her heart is worth risking?

Release Date: September 22nd

Excitement Level: 6/10

Skyhunter by Marie Lu

Synopsis:

Laced with adrenaline and nonstop action, #1 New York Times– bestselling author Marie Lu creates an immersive world broken by war where danger waits around every corner and loyalty is life.

The Karensa Federation has conquered a dozen kingdoms, leaving Mara as the only free nation left. Those who make it there escape a fate worse than death—enslavement as mutated war beasts known as Ghosts. The Strikers, a Maran elite force, are trained to stop them, but as the number of Ghosts grow, defeat becomes inevitable.

Still, one Striker refuses to give up hope.

Robbed of her voice and home, Talin knows the brutality of the Federation firsthand. Their cruelty forced her and her mother to seek asylum in a country that finds their people repugnant. After another vicious attack, Mara seems ready to fall, but when a mysterious prisoner is brought back from the warfront, Talin can sense there’s more to him than meets the eye. Could he be the weapon that will save them all?

Release Date: September 29th, 2020

Excitement Level: 8/10

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

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Synopsis:

A deadly competition for the throne will determine more than just the fate of the empire in this riveting duology opener, perfect for fans of The Hunger GamesAurora Rising, and Three Dark Crowns.

Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?

But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.

Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.

Release Date: September 29th

Excitement Level: 8/10

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Eek! Can it be September already?!

I’m just dying to get my hands on these wonderful books! Did any of the titles on this list catch your eye? What are YOUR most anticipated September releases? Make sure to let me know in the comments!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Bye for now,

ARC Review: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Thank you NetGalley and SimonTeen for the arc!

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After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

I truly can’t say enough fantastic things about this book!

Legendborn is Tracy Deonn’s debut novel, but it sure doesn’t seem like it! With complex (and diverse!) characters, incredible writing, and a spectacularly developed magic system, this book is simply wonderful.

Bree, our protagonist, was a really interesting character to read about, and I love how her struggles, desires, and internal conflicts were portrayed so well. Her grief for her mother and ancestors was beautifully depicted, and I just know it will resonate with so many readers. Despite Bree’s mother not being in the picture, I think that the portrayal of healthy friendships and familial relationships was excellent. I really liked how Bree’s father always looking out for her, and how her friend Alice was super supportive as well. I love seeing this in Young Adult literature! My only issue with Bree’s character was that she seemed to accept the existence of magic unrealistically fast. Imagine going your whole life thinking magic was just for myths and stories, only to suddenly learn that it’s real. You’d be shocked, wouldn’t you? Well, Bree wasn’t really rattled at all. On the flip side, I’d probably be annoyed if she took forever to realize/accept it, but still… it was a little weird. However, I was able to look past this and still enjoy Bree’s complex character arc! I can’t wait to see where it goes in Book 2.

Now, don’t get me wrong, a great main character is absolutely critical. But so are side characters… And Tracy Deonn knocked it out of the park with her diverse cast of supporting characters! We have Asian, Venezuelan, gay, bi, genderqueer, and non-binary characters, in addition to a Black protagonist. How epic! And beyond being physically diverse, all of these characters had unique and interesting personalities. Particularly our two potential love interests… That’s right! You read that correctly… This book has a love triangle! And I know what you’re thinking: Ew, love triangles suck! I’d normally agree with you, but here’s the thing… the love triangle in Legendborn is actually very well done. The two love interests are (surprisingly) both very likable, so it’s hard to tell who Bree will end up with. In fact, the potential romance between Bree and love interest #2, Sel, is merely hinted at towards the end of the book, as she spends a majority of the story dating love interest #1, Nick. Like I said, I like both of these boys, but I 100% ship Bree with Sel. I can’t help it y’all, I’m a sucker for an enemies to lovers romance. Sel was snarky, brooding, and mysterious… my type of guy! He totally gives off Cardan Greenbriar vibes, if you know what I mean. 😉

In addition to fabulous characters, Legendborn also contains a wonderfully crafted magic system. I always applaud authors who are able to successfully develop intricate magic systems in real world settings, because integrating fantastical elements into a non-fantastical world can definitely be tricky. The magic system in Legendborn was expertly developed, and I felt like by the end of the book, I understood it really well. The only flaw it had was that it was very heavy… Tediously heavy. There was a ton of world-building, which is great, don’t get me wrong… buttttt it was a tad boring. By the time I was 50% through the book, we were still learning about the world and magic system. They were excellently crafted, yes, but you should know going into this book that they take quite a while to be explained. I definitely think it’s worth it, though!

One more thing I’d like to mention before I wrap this review up: I love how though this is a fantasy novel, the author didn’t shy away from incorporating important social themes in her book. For example, Bree’s experiences as a Black girl in the South were so crucial to read about, and they couldn’t be more relevant in light of both recent events AND hundreds of years of discrimination. I also appreciate that Bree’s experiences with racism, generational trauma, and police brutality were depicted so honestly, yet they didn’t define her as a character. Reading about her struggles was so impactful, but reading about her joy, sadness, grief, and hope was equally important. Getting to see all of these different dimensions really added to my reading experience.

Overall, Legendborn is a fantastic read that left me longing for more! Everything from the characters and magic system to the outstanding diversity was simply amazing. Rest assured that I’m already anxiously awaiting the sequel!

I highly recommend this book, and I definitely encourage giving it a read once it hits shelves in September!

Four out of five stars rating | Premium Photo

ARC Review: A Bigfoot’s Gift by Mel Braxton

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.

Fourteen-year-old Alice is tired of childish games but doesn’t want to grow up—at least, not in the way expected by her Bigfoot community.

The morning of the summer solstice, her parents are ready with her first suitor. And that night, in the flames of a bonfire, the Fae give Alice a gift: the ability to appear human.

Soon Alice spends her days at Piner High School where she finds friends and establishes rivalries. But she spends her mornings with her suitor Daylen, and he helps her discover a role in their community—one she might even enjoy.

By the winter solstice, Alice must choose. Does she keep her shapeshifting ability or accept her expanding role with her people?

Beware! This review contains minor spoilers. Read at your own risk!

This story was the perfect blend of fun, magic, and middle-grade sweetness!

Quirky and unique, A Bigfoot’s Gift mixes fantasy, contemporary, and a hint of magic together to create one wonderful book. I had such a blast reading it, and I’m already dying to pick up the sequel!

Our story is narrated by Alice, a teenage Bigfoot who’s still trying to find her place in her village, when she is suddenly granted the ability to shape-shift into a human and travel between worlds! In order to understand humans and their way of life, Alice enrolls in the local high school and signs up for the junior varisty volleyball team! Along the way, she meets friends and foes, as she faces the many challenges of living in the human world.

I really enjoyed getting to read through Alice’s perspective. I liked how she wasn’t your typical “perfect” middle-grade protagonist, as I’ve found that many characters within said genre are essentially written to be unflawed, resulting in them also being very underdeveloped. I admired how Alice didn’t immediately succeed at everything, and that she had to work hard to get things done. She had insecurities and vulnerabilities, making her a very realistic character.

I thought that Alice’s friendship with Peyton was a very sweet touch to the book… there’s nothing better than a healthy female friendship, especially when it comes to middle-grade! Peyton was such a supportive friend to Alice, and I can’t wait to see more of her in book two.

Call me crazy, but I actually found the story’s main antagonist, Lexi, very interesting. She was absolutely terrible to Alice, and I don’t condone her actions at all, but I think she had a lot of depth to her that we didn’t necessarily get to see on page. You could tell that that the extreme pressure put on her by her mother definitely influenced the questionable choices she made throughout the book, and that deep down, she was probably just an insecure girl rather than a vicious bully. I think that Mel Braxton put a unique spin on the mean girl trope with Lexi, and I hope we get to see her character grow in future books!

I definitely was more drawn to the female-female relationships in this book than the female-male ones, because truth be told, I didn’t see much chemistry between Alice and her suitor, Daylen. I think this is partly because Daylen didn’t get that much “screen time” in the book, and partly because I shipped Alice with another character (and potential love interest?), Mark, far more. I think that the romance between Daylen and Alice was necessary, because it made the stakes higher for Alice, but at the same time, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t somewhat happy when they broke up at the end of the book. I think this means that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Mark in the next installment in the series, and I’m super excited for that!

Listen, guys. I’m certainly not a volleyball player, but all the fast paced volleyball games and tournaments were easily my favorite part of this book! I loved getting to see Alice grow as a player, and the themes of teamwork, friendship, and overcoming challenging obstacles were beautifully portrayed. I liked that Alice’s journey wasn’t a success-only one, and that we see her make many mistakes throughout the story. I think that it’s important for young readers to see middle-grade characters struggle and fail, because that’s real life for ya! The messages of learning from your mistakes and never giving up were so heartwarming to see, and I think that many readers will connect with this book for that reason!

A Bigfoot’s Gift was all kinds of fun, and I definitely recommend giving it a read, even if you don’t usually gravitate towards the middle grade genre. No matter how old or young you are, you’ll have a great time reading this book! It’s a story that can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages!

With powerful themes, interesting characters, strong friendships, and a fast-moving plot, A Bigfoot’s Gift was an absolute pleasure to read. I’m so eager to see how the next part of Alice’s story unfolds in the sequel, A Bigfoot’s Quest!

Four out of five stars rating | Premium Photo

“Like that? Read this!” Book Recommendations

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all enjoyed the first few days of the month! I’ve been meaning to do a “Like that? Read this!” book recommendations post for quite some time, and I’m FINALLY getting around to it! Better late than never, eh?

Anyways, get ready for what I think are some pretty great recommendations! The books matched together in this post are ones that I think share enough similarities that you’ll enjoy the one you HAVEN’T read if you loved the other. I always find these posts super helpful, as it’s such a pain trying to find books similar to your faves! Or even if you haven’t read any of the following books, I still recommend them regardless! I hope you guys enjoy this list, and if you do, let me know if you’d be interested in a Part 2!

Now, without further ado, let’s begin!

While A Court of Thorns and Roses and Cruel Beauty are completely different stories, they have several similarities that make them both very enjoyable reads! They are both Beauty and the Beast retellings, but where ACOTAR follows the fairy tale very loosely, Cruel Beauty doesn’t stray too far from the original plot elements. Cruel Beauty is a great alternative to ACOTAR if you don’t want to worry about committing to a series, or if you’re an ACOTAR fan craving something similar! Cruel Beauty is a far more dark, mysterious version of ACOTAR, so if you’re into that, this book is right up your alley!

The similarities between these two books are impossible to ignore. They’re both set in dystopian societies ruled with iron fists, the only difference being that female oppression and patriarchy are more prominent themes in The Grace Year. Not only that, but both books tell the story of girls who are forced into deadly competitions where only the fittest will survive. But where The Hunger Games is more action driven and violent, The Grace Year compels readers with its dark and eerie atmosphere. These books are unique in different ways, but they share the same elements of dystopian suspense and addictiveness, making them both impossible to put down!

Both of these books are breathtaking sci-fi love stories that also contain elements of dystopia, mystery, and suspense. These Broken Stars is definitely my favorite of the two, as I prefer its writing style and characters, but Across the Universe is still a great YA read that will satisfy your cravings for sci-fi action and mystery! What I find funny is that both of these books have covers that suggest they are simply romance novels, and romance novels alone. But that’s not the case at all! Sure, they both have a romantic element, but the majority of each story focuses on a greater plot. I love both of these covers, but they don’t capture all the suspense and creepiness that make these stories so great! Regardless of the covers, though, I highly recommend picking up either of these wonderful science fiction adventures! They’re both the first books in trilogies, so they’re perfect for binge reading!

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To Kill a Kingdom and All the Stars and Teeth are probably my two all-time favorite mermaid books… And I’ve read A LOT of mermaid books! These books are very different plot-wise, but they contain many of the same fantasy elements, for instance… mermaids! And pirates! And badass princesses who will do anything for their kingdoms! If you’re a mermaid worshipper like me, you literally need to stop whatever you’re doing right now and pick up either of these books. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

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This is gonna sound mean, but Girls of Paper and Fire is basically the less trashy version of The Selection. There, I said it. Plus, it takes inspiration from East Asian culture, and that’s pretty epic too. The atmospheres of these stories are very different, but they both have the whole “A bunch of attractive girls are sent to the palace to impress the prince/king” thing going for them. Except in Girls of Paper and Fire, it’s seen as a much more oppressive/demeaning thing. Another book I could match with these two is Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart. It has the same basic plot as The Selection, but it contains themes of female strength and empowerment, much like Girls of Paper and Fire. And y’all, I don’t mean to hate on The Selection. I love that book with all my heart. But if you’re looking for something more empowering, Girls of Paper and Fire or Grace & Fury are definitely the way to go.

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That’s it for now, friends! Did you see any books on this list that you might be interested in reading? I hope you did! I had such a blast creating this post, and I’m probably going to be making a Part 2 that literally no one asked for… LOL.

I hope you’re all having a fantastic August, and stay tuned for more fun book recommendations post from me in the future!

Bye for now,