The Library Lover’s Book Tag

Hi, my name is Jillian and I love the library!

If you have followed my blog for a while, you know I frequently use my local library and that, in September, I will begin my first semester of graduate school pursuing my Master’s in Library and Information Science. I saw this tag done on Comfy 4 Books, only I don’t know who the original creator for this tag is, if there is one. But if you know, leave a comment and give them credit, please!

On to the Library Lover’s book tag!

 

How often do you visit your local library?

women studying GIF by US National Archives

At least three times a month, not that I’ve ever counted. There have been periods where months would go by before I stepped inside my local library again. But ever since I got my acceptance letter, I’ve made it a point to visit whenever I can. First trip is usually to pick up books I want to read. The following trips involve either returning the books as I read them (or lose interest in them) or picking up more, like if I put a book on hold or I’m finished with the stack I already have.

 

Are you the type of person who checks out more books than you can read or are you someone who checks out the exact amount of books you intend to read before they are due?

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Usually, I fall into the former category, but sometimes I do check out a smaller amount that I know I will finish before their due dates. Honestly, sometimes it depends on my financial situation or my mood towards my unread books at home. Such as, if I am in between temp assignments, I tend to check out a lot of books to sedate any book-buying urges. But I love the idea of free books in general.

 

How old were you when you got your first library card?

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I was about fourteen, I think. My family had moved and our new house (where we still live) was within walking distance of the local library. I distinctly remember walking over there with my mom and brother then being deeply disappointed. I walked home with a library card but also an incomplete Princess Diaries series. Back then, the library was poorly stocked. I read what I could, then returned them all.

I didn’t visit the library again until I graduated college, when I was twenty-three. It had received funding in recent years and the city had made strides to improve the place. I walked out with books I actually wanted to read and a new library card I was happy to have.

 

Do you go to your library for a particular book or do you check out anything that peaks your interest?

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When I go to the library, it is usually for a particular book or books. Sometimes, though, I’ll browse if I have the time. Depending on how interested I am in a book that catches my eye, I’ll either get it then or some other time. On my library account, it has an option of where you can make lists of books you want to read, so I add it to one of my TBR lists to check out later (I had to make a few TBRs because one list was getting too big and hard to keep track of the books).

 

Do you only check out books or do you also get DVDs, audiobooks, etc.?

vintage read GIF by US National Archives

I only check out books. I’m bad about watching my own DVDs, never mind checking any out from the library. While I appreciate audiobooks and e-books as a reading tool that helps others, I personally prefer physical books.

 

From what section of the library do you check out the most of your books?

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Mostly the young adult section and other books from one of the three floors of stacks. In my library, the first floor is reserved for fiction, adult as well as some young adult, and the third floor is classics, I think.

 

What is your favorite part of using your local library?

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Simply getting free books, the resources they have to get you a book if they don’t carry it on their shelves, and being surrounded by books. Also, it is a quiet place to be when I want to get out of my house.

 

I tag:

Grey

Shanah

& anyone else that wants to do this tag!

 

Who else uses their local library?

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Top 5 Tuesday: Top 10 Books I Want to Reread

Growing up, I reread books all the time. Then, I started making my own money and I had access to a better library. Rereading suddenly became a thing of the past.

Recently, I’ve added books I read years ago to my current TBR list for one of two reasons. The first is that some of these books have sequels I have not read yet, but so much time has passed in between that I have forgotten a lot of what happened. The second reason is that I read these books in high school, loved them, and I have unread ones by the same authors, only I’m not sure I will love them as much as I did back then. The rest are just old favorites I want to visit.

The top 10 books I want to reread (because I could not keep it at 5) are:

 

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

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Not sure how many people are aware this exists. As the title suggests, Masque of the Red Death is a retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story of the same name. It is set in a disturbed dystopian world where people can’t leave their house without special masks—the ones that can afford the masks, anyway. The main character, Araby, is of the upper class that can afford the masks, and she distracts herself from the ruined city around her, as well as her twin brother’s death at the hands of the plague, by indulging in the sins at the Debauchery Club. When she becomes involved with two mysterious boys, Araby gets unwittingly swept up in a rebellion that forces her to make choices she never thought she would.

Masque of the Red Death is the first book in a duology, the sequel being Dance of the Red Death. I first read this novel when it came out in 2012 and I loved it. I bought Dance of the Red Death, and then never read it. I remember the first book being dark, back during a time when most young adult authors were afraid to go there. Plus, there are so few retellings of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories to begin with.

 

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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I read The Queen of the Tearling about three years ago and I gave it 4 stars. At the time, I was still a novice to high fantasy. I have since bought the other two books in the trilogy, The Invasion of the Tearling and The Fate of the Tearling. In recent years some not-so-great things have been said about the series. But I want to form my own opinions on it.

 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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Fun fact about me: I didn’t always finish my required reading in high school.

Wuthering Heights was one of the summer reading books I picked from the recommendations list my sophomore year of high school. I’m pretty sure I didn’t finish it. I don’t exactly remember why. However, in college, on my own I read and enjoyed Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte as well as adored Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. Both of Emily’s sisters’ other books have made their way to my TBR. Since Wuthering Heights is unfortunately the only book she ever wrote, I figured it was time I reread Wuthering Heights, now that I can appreciate it for what its worth.

 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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I read The Scarlet Letter in my junior year of high school. I remember enjoying it back then. I read a few of Hawthorne’s short stories in my college literature classes, too. I like his writing style and his character development. But I want to reread The Scarlet Letter to familiarize myself with his novel works rather than his short ones before diving into The House of Seven Gables.

 

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

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In my sophomore year of high school, I was fascinated with the author Edith Wharton. We read her novella Ethan Frome in my sophomore Honors English class, which led me to pick up her novel, The Age of Innocence, for a book report. Archer, who is already engaged to another woman, falls in love with his fiancée’s cousin, Ellen, a woman ahead of her time by leaving her abusive husband and having experiences that are her own. Since I have been away from Edith Wharton’s works for so long, I was to reread my favorite, The Age of Innocence, before I pick up The House of Mirth, another book of hers I own.

 

The Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong

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Confession time: I dare to say the Women of the Otherworld is one of my all-time favorite series…yet I have not actually finished it.

To this day, I have not read the final novel in this series, Thirteen. I always meant to. The Women of the Otherworld not only blended two of my favorite genres—fantasy and mystery—it also helped me find my own niche within writing. I want to reread this series, to get back to my roots and see what happens when the books are actually read in order.

 

The Mediator series by Meg Cabot

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If you grew up with Meg Cabot or had friends who read her books, you’re probably familiar with The Princess Diaries, or at least have seen the movies with Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews. This is one of the few instances where I preferred the movies to the books. I will spare you all my ranting about The Princess Diaries for another day.

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Anyway, while everyone else wanted to be a princess, I wanted to be a mediator. In case you are unfamiliar, The Mediator series follows Suze Simon, who can see ghosts, and she moves to a small town in California practically loaded with them. There is even one already living in her new house. His name is Jesse de Silva; he was murdered in the 1800s and still resides in his former home, which Suze’s family now occupies. Suze was strong, smart, and independent. Jesse was smart, caring, and protective.

For the longest time, I preferred to keep the series more for nostalgia purposes. Then, Meg Cabot dares to come out with an unofficial “seventh” book in the series titled Rememberance and, while I might not buy it, I love these characters enough that I would read it from the library. Before that, though, I want to reread the original series first, to bring back all the feels.

 

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison

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The only non-fantasy and non-classical novel on this list, The Rosie Project is about a socially awkward genetics professor trying to use science to find love. It’s as cute as it sounds. Thinking about it now, I’m not sure if I seriously need to reread this book before I pick up its sequel, The Rosie Effect. Only The Rosie Project was just so cute, I don’t mind rereading it.

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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I read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children when it first came out in 2012 or 2013 and it was a five-star read for me. Then, a year or two later, I read its sequel, Hollow City, and…well…I was a little disappointed with it.

Looking back on it now, I think I gave Miss Peregrine’s such a high rating based on the hype instead of my actual enjoyment of it. I’m not saying I hate the books, but I think for me personally, they might be more of a three star than a five. And so much time has passed, I will definitely have to reread Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City before even thinking about reading the third book, Library of Souls.

 

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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A novel from the same era as Vampire Academy and The Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures is a series people either love or hate. I read the first book, Beautiful Creatures, back in the day but I’m not sure if I finished it. I don’t think it was because I didn’t like it; I was just a lazy reader then. I own the second novel, Beautiful Darkness, and have always wanted to get back into these books. Their take on witches is different. There is also the fifty/fifty chance I could end up hating it, so who knows?

 

Have you read any of these books? What books from back in the day do you want to reread?

Review of The Address by Fiona Davis (Spoiler Free)

One of my favorite genres is historical mystery, particularly novels set in dual time periods where a tragedy or crime in someone’s timeline connects with someone else’s in a future timeline. Such examples of this is The Muse by Jessie Burton, The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes, The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, and The Shadow of the Wind by Carols Ruiz Zafon.

The Address is a historical fiction novel set in dual timelines, approximately 100 years apart. The first follows Sara Smythe, a young Englishwoman in 1884 who is recruited by architect Theodore Camden to help run the staff of the famed Dakota apartment building. A year later, after seven months in an insane asylum, Sara stabs Theo to death in his apartment. The second follows Bailey Camden in 1985, the granddaughter of Theo’s ward Christopher. Fresh out of rehab for alcoholism, she takes a job offer by her “cousin” Melinda to redesign the Camden apartment in the Dakota. In doing so, she uncovers secrets about Theo’s murder and the truth about Sara.

theaddresslibrarybook

I first saw The Address at a bookstore and almost bought it. Thankfully, my local library came to my rescue. Although, I don’t think I would have regretted spending money on it, necessarily.

The novel is narrated entirely in third person, but Sara and Bailey are completely fleshed out protagonists. Both are likeable and show kindness to people around them. They are strong in different ways and are flawed, but they own up to their mistakes. Such as Sara makes serious attempts to maintain a professional relationship with Theo as he is married with three young children and Bailey owns up to the fact that she relapsed because she went out with people who drank and did drugs when she was supposed to be avoiding those situations. Sara is also a woman ahead of her time; she wants a career more than she ever wanted a husband or children.

Another aspect I enjoyed was Fiona Davis’s writing style. It was not too flowery or too simplistic. She showed both the pretty and the ugly sides of the 1880s, such as how New York City was still mostly farmland, as the Dakota was initially built on the outskirts of the city, and the horror Sara endured, as well as witnessed, in the asylum. In both time periods, while gender norms change, the class system does not. The wealthy still look down upon others, like Melinda does to Bailey, who carries the Camden name, but won’t see a penny of the fortune because she is not one by blood.

Lastly, there was a twist that took me by surprise. Fiona Davis did a good job of letting you think the story was going in one direction, then she takes you down a whole different route. All to show what people will do to preserve their reputations and protect their legacies. It led to an ending that was sad for one protagonist, yet sweet for the other.

On the flip side, the plot took forever to happen and there were big time lapses where weeks would go by without you realizing it. Plus, there was more telling than showing. Sara and Theo’s romance is supposed to have been built on mutual intellectual attraction, only with the time gaps it felt more like insta-love. Bailey had a romantic interest that had a more organic feel, but it was more of a subplot in her timeline, which I preferred over Sara’s.

Another thing I didn’t like was how quickly situations were resolved. Once one thing happened, it was a snowball straight down to revelation after revelation. The pacing was not quite right. I think that is why it took me longer than it should have to finish the book.

Overall, I give The Address by Fiona Davis 3.5 stars. If you like historical fiction that has a mystery plot or dual narratives, I recommend you check out it if you are interested.

Summer 2018 Book Haul Part Three: July

I wore myself out with the amount of books I bought in May and June. By the time July rolled around, the urge had subsided. There was just enough of it left to get books I had wanted for a while. Now, I got it out of my system.

I figured I have at least a month and a half left to fully enjoy my local library until I get swept up in the throes of graduate school. By then, I’ll have more than enough TBR books at home to keep me preoccupied when I’m not doing schoolwork…at least until the Black Friday sales.

In July of 2018, I bought:

 

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

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When The City of Brass was released towards the end of last year, I knew right away I would like it if I read it. The novel is set in in 18th century Cairo. The main character, Nahri, is a con woman who thinks she doesn’t have any real powers until she accidentally summons a djinn warrior. The djinn warrior then takes her to a dark world of jinni, Daevabad, where Nahri is swept up in deadly court politics.

 

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

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Little & Lion is one of the young adult contemporary novels I am most excited for. The protagonist, Suzette, who is black, Jewish, and bisexual, returns home to L.A. for the summer after attending boarding school in New England. When she learns that her stepbrother, Lionel, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she hopes to convince her parents to let her stay in L.A. to give her brother support. But as she settles into her old life, Suzette falls in love with a new girl…the same one Lionel also loves. And as his mental state collapses, she must decide how to help her brother before he hurts himself.

 

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

thedeathofmrswestaway

The Death of Mrs. Westaway follows Hal, who receives a letter claiming she has been left a substantial inheritance by her grandparents. Strangely enough, Hal’s grandparents died years ago, so she knows the letter is not for her. But money problems convince her to go anyway. Once she arrives, she quickly learns something is very, very wrong with the situation and this mysterious inheritance is at the center of it.

I read Ruth Ware’s novel, The Woman in Cabin 10, last year and ultimately I was not impressed. Then, The Death of Mrs. Westaway was released. Unlike her other two books—The Lying Game and In a Dark, Dark Wood—I was interested in the plot of The Death of Mrs. Westaway as it reminded me of something Agatha Christie might write. Ironically, someone Ruth Ware is often compared to.

 

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

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From what I have heard, The Woman in the Window is a book people either love or hate. Agoraphobic movie buff Anna Fox spends her time watching her neighbors through her window. She takes particular interest in the Russells, the new family in the neighborhood. Then, one night, Anna glances out her window and sees something she shouldn’t.

Some people have compared The Woman in the Window to The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. One reviewer I trust regarding opinions on thrillers said if you liked the latter, you will most likely enjoy the former. Since Anna is agoraphobic, I’m curious to see just how she goes about to solve a potential mystery.

 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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I swear everyone and their mother have read Little Fires Everywhere at this point. I read Celeste Ng’s debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, about two years ago and enjoyed the insights she provided on family dynamics. Little Fires Everywhere takes a look at the supposedly perfect suburbia Shaker Heights where everyone follows the rules. Elena Richardson is the self-imposed queen of Shaker Heights and the principle ruler-follower. But when free-spirited artist Mia Warren and her teenaged daughter Pearl rent a house from the Richardson family and the Richardsons’ friends want to adopt a Chinese-American baby, Elena’s once cookie-cutter world is thrown into a tailspin.

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

eleanoroliphantiscompletelyfine

I knew I wanted to read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine when I heard the words “socially awkward heroine that struggles with social skills.” Eleanor never thought life should be better than fine. She avoids social interactions and spends her weekends alone. When she and her co-worker, Raymond, a shy IT guy, save an elderly man named Sammy, the two men allow Eleanor the opportunity to finally open her heart to others and repair the damage done to it.

 

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

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The Names They Gave Us is the second “girl with a sick mom” book I bought this summer. Lucy is a pastor’s daughter who has everything going for her, until her mother’s cancer reappears. She would rather spend her summer as a counselor at her parents’ church camp, but her mother asks her to instead be a counselor at a camp across the lake, for kids that have had a rough time. While there, Lucy unexpectedly makes new friends with the other counselors, challenges her faith, and faces some old secrets about her family.

I learned about Emery Lord and her books about a year ago. I meant to check The Names They Gave Us out from the library eventually. Then, I saw this beautiful paperback on Amazon and I realized how relevant this book is to me currently.

 

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

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Blood Water Paint was a book randomly featured in a haul video by Hailey in Bookland and, once she described it, I knew I had to have it. Written in verse, tells the story of famed painter Artemisia Gentileschi. It begins when she is twelve, after her mother dies and she helps her father grind pigments for his paint. By the time she is seventeen, she is already one of Rome’s most talented painters, even though no one knows her name. But the time is 1610 in Rome and women are seen as inferior to men. So when she is raped, Artemisia must choose a life of silence or a life of truth.

            I want to read Blood Water Paint really, really bad!

 

The Game of Hope by Sandra Gulland

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Did anyone know Napoleon had a stepdaughter named Hortense? Because I didn’t, not until I saw The Game of Hope, again, in that haul video by Hailey in Bookland. Inspired by her autobiography, the novel follows Hortense, who starts the novel at a boarding school for aristocratic girls, where she enjoys reading, painting, composing music, and daydreaming about her brother’s fellow officer. Her mother, Josephine, has recently married Napoleon, who is a poor successor to her recently guillotined father in Hortense’s eyes. But her entire future is thrown off course as her stepfather rises to become the most powerful man in France and Hortense is handed a fate she did not choose.

 

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

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Reign of the Fallen is a book that has been flying under the radar that I had seen on one or two YouTube videos. The cover is cool, with the pretty shade of pink and the bejeweled skull. Plus, it has necromancers.

The main character, Odessa, is a master necromancer in the kingdom of Karthia. Her job is to retrieve the souls of royals after they die from the beautiful yet dangerous Deadlands and bring them back to the mortal world as Shades. The trick is to keep them shrouded; if any flesh is exposed, Shades become grotesque zombies. Then, after a series of vicious attacks on Shades and the death of a fellow necromancer, a conspiracy is revealed: someone is turning Shades into zombies and training them to attack.

 

Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

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In Blood and Sand, Attia is a warrior princess of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom anyone had ever seen since Sparta, until they are conquered by the Romans. Attia is then given as a gift to Xanthus, the strongest gladiator of his generation and the Champion of Rome, by his master. Only Xanthus is a slave, too, forced to fight for the Republic of Rome.

Attia and Xanthus form a bond that sparks a rebellion. A rebellion that will then lead to the destruction of Rome and give rise to the legend of Spartacus who, for all we know, could have been a woman.

 

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

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The Last Time We Say Goodbye follows Lex, whose life is forever altered after her brother Tyler commits suicide. Now, her family is falling apart, her boyfriend left her, and her friends walk on eggshells around her. She’s trying to get her life back together, but she has a secret. Tyler sent her a text the night he died—something that could have changed everything.

I’m super excited for The Last Time We Say Goodbye, despite it being such a deep, dark story. After reading comedic novels like My Lady Jane and The Afterlife of Holly Chase, I want to see how Cynthia Hand deals with such a serious topic like suicide.

 

That’s the last of them! Have you read any of these books and what did you think of them?

Summer 2018 Book Haul Part Two: June

I don’t know about everyone else, but June was an emotionally challenging month for me.

I’m not sure why. I had registered for my first semester of classes in grad school. While I had to get up super early in the morning to catch a bus, the temp assignment I had was a nice state job I could put on my resume and I was around a lot of fun people. Yet, I had been in a weird funk. I had little to no motivation to read but I wanted to buy every single book on my Amazon wish list.

I had to get creative with space on my bookshelves and ignore occasional side-eye from my dad, but I think buying these books, adding them to my TBR, made me excited for reading again.

In June, I bought:

 

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

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After rereading Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and watching Season 2 of Thirteen Reasons Why, I realized I know little about victims of rape or sexual assault and the trauma the survivors endure after, whether they choose to report the crime or not. I personally never have been a victim of a sex crime, but I want to understand, so I can sympathize with those that are. The Way I Used to Be is the story of Eden, who is raped by her brother’s best friend in her own bedroom and never reports the assault. The novel follows her through her freshman into her senior year of high school and how the trauma affects her throughout her high school career.

 

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

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Orphan Monster Spy is a World War II story following Sarah, a blond-haired, blue-eyed Jewish girl that witnesses her mother shot at checkpoint. She is then recruited by a spy to infiltrate a boarding school for the daughters of high-ranking Nazis. Her mission is to befriend a prominent scientist’s daughter and steal the blueprints for a bomb strong enough to take out the entirety of Western Europe. Since her mother was an actress, Sarah knows she can play the part. Only she never expected to be in a fight for her life.

 

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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I told myself I was not going to buy any of Victoria Schwab’s other books until I read Our Dark Duet, the concluding novel in the Monsters of Verity duology. Admittedly, I was more inclined to check out her A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy before I even thought about Vicious. Then, I saw on Amazon this gorgeous redesigned cover….

You could argue that Vicious was primarily a cover buy, but the story does sound cool. Amazingly enough, I have never been spoiled for anything; all I know is that it is about two former college roommates that developed super human powers after an experiment and then, ten years later, one is trying to kill the other.

 

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

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Before I got into high fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal suspense were my favorite genres. Undead Girl Gang got a little bit of hype on YouTube recently. It sounded like so much fun. Amateur witch Mila refuses to believe her best friend Riley was involved in a suicide pact with June and Dayton, two mean girls at their high school. So, she uses a spell in an ancient grimory to bring the girls back to life. Problem is, none of them remember their deaths. However, they do remember their grudges. Which means Mila has seven days to get three dead girls in line and catch a killer before he or she strikes again.

 

What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard

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Having struggled with weight problems basically my whole life, eating disorders have always been a topic that disturbingly fascinated me. Mostly because that, while I was always conscious of how my weight could affect my health, I never had the mindset to intentionally starve myself. What I Lost follows Elizabeth, who enters treatment for anorexia but, of course, thinks she’s totally fine. She plans to fake it as much as she can, then get out of treatment and return to her mother, who also has a size 0 obsession. Then, while in the treatment center, Elizabeth receives mysterious packages, presumably from her ex-boyfriend, that make her wonder if treatment really is where she belongs.

 

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom

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A Tragic Kind of Wonderful follows Mel, a sixteen-year-old girl hiding her bipolar disorder from her friends and her struggling to let others in when she wants to keep them at arm’s length. Then, an old friend confronts her about why their relationship ended. When the facade Mel has built for herself slowly crumbles, she must decide if it is time to tell her friends the truth about her diagnosis.

Mental illness is another topic close to my heart. While I personally do not have one, people I love do. I’m glad to see their stories finally represented in literature.

 

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

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You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone follows twins Adina and Tovah, whose relationship is strained by not only something that happened in the past they refuse to speak of, but also their mother’s Huntington’s disease. When the girls turn eighteen, they get tested to find out if either carries the gene—one does, while the other does not. This puts further strain on the relationship as the two girls, both very ambitious, head down different paths and one embraces her Jewish religion while the other rejects it.

I just realized something: I bought two “teenaged girl with a sick mother” books in this summer (you will see the other one in Part Three). I guess I’m a masochist.

 

Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake

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Beyond a Darkened Shore, from my understanding, is inspired by Norse mythology. Ciara, princess of Mide, protects her people with her ability to control her enemies’ minds. But when a crow appears to her, promising greater threats to come, she reluctantly joins forces with young Northman leader Leif. Not only does he possess an impressive army fleet, he also has the same prophetic dreams as Ciara, leading them to use their shared power to protect their kingdoms from a common enemy.

 

Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

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Yet another high fantasy on my TBR, Onyx and Ivory is the story of Kate, otherwise known as Traitor Kate, the daughter of the man who attempted to assassinate the high king, and Corwin, the high king’s second son, who is more than happy to let his brother be their father’s successor. After years of being separated, the two are reunited when Kate uses her ability to communicate with animals to save Corwin from being killed by nightdrakes, deadly flightless dragons that are supposed to only come out at night yet Corwin’s peacekeeping tour was attacked in broad daylight. As the nightdrake attacks become more vicious and more frequent, the two team up to uncover a conspiracy that threatens the kingdom.

 

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

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An adult historical fiction mystery novel, The Shadow Land is set in Sofia, Bulgaria, where American Alexandra Boyd goes on vacation to hopefully heal after the death of her brother. While helping an elderly couple into a taxi, she accidentally takes one of their bags and discovers an urn containing human ashes. To locate the family, she goes by the name on the urn—Stoyan Lazarov—who turns out to once have been a talented musician whose life was shattered by oppression and his secrets still carry over into the present day.

Elizabeth Kostova is best known for her novel The Historian, although I have not read it yet. A novel of hers that I have read, The Swan Thieves, was another historical mystery I loved for its beautiful writing and intricate storytelling. I expect the same from The Shadow Land.

 

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

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The Kiss Quotient is a cute, steamy adult contemporary that came out of nowhere on BookTube that I was instantly drawn to, for two reasons. The first is the Asperger’s representation, because my little brother is on the autism spectrum. The second is that the main character, Stella, who has Asperger’s, is a smart thirty-year-old with a good job but severely lacking in the dating department than most people her age…something I can relate to. To solve her problem, Stella hires male escort Michael Phan to teach her about intimacy, only she gets a little more than what she bargained for.

So far, the reviews I have seen regarding The Kiss Quotient say that it is a sweet romance with lots of sex positivity. And I’m here for it.

 

Which of these books have you read and what did you think of them?

Summer 2018 Book Haul Part One: May

At the beginning of 2018, I went a little crazy with the book buying after Christmas and my birthday in January. I promised myself I was going to cool it, especially once I received my acceptance letter to graduate school.

Since I am going for my Master’s in Library and Information Science, it seemed only fitting I make a point to utilize the library more. For a while, everything was OK. I was only buying books every two or three months, which helped me get my physical TBR under somewhat control. But at some point in May, I went from wanting to read all the books to buy all the books.

Eventually, I got it out of my system. I have added a lot of great books to my collection and, though my bookshelves are currently a little chaotic, I love it more than I thought I would. My bank account will be glad for the break, too….

My Summer 2018 book haul is divided into three parts—books bought between May and July. Part One, the books I bought in May, are pre-orders, sequels to books I read earlier this year, or books I previously checked out from the library but didn’t get to read them before their due date so I bought my own copies to read later on.

Now, on to part one of my enormous summer book haul!

 

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

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A Reaper at the Gates is likely my most anticipated release of 2018. The third book in one of my all-time favorite series, it was a pre-order from Amazon that arrived SIX DAYS BEFORE ITS RELEASE DATE!!!

 

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

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Smoke in the Sun is the sequel to Flame in the Mist as well as the conclusion to the duology. While I know an overwhelming amount of people were disappointed with Flame in the Mist because they expected a Mulan retelling, I still enjoyed it. And I’m enjoying the cover change, too, more than I thought I would.

 

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

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My Plain Jane is a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, with ghost hunters, the occult, and the author herself, Charlotte, is an actual character. I read the first book, My Lady Jane, earlier this year and adored it, so my expectations for this next novel are high.

 

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

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Since it came out in May, Furyborn blew up on YouTube. It follows two young women, 1,000 years apart, tied together by a prophecy of two queens, the Sun Queen and the Blood Queen. The first is Rielle, who reveals her affinity for all seven elements while protecting her best friend the Crown Prince and must undergo a series of trials to prove she is the Sun Queen or be executed as the Blood Queen. The second, 1,000 years later, bounty hunter Eliana is on a quest to find her mother, who has gone missing along with many other women in the kingdom, and learns the story of Queen Rielle might not be a simple fairy tale after all.

 

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

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In case you didn’t know, Leah on the Offbeat is the companion novel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It follows Simon’s friend Leah, a snarky plus-size girl that has not told her friends that she is bisexual and she so happens to be crushing on one of them. Unfortunately, the reviews of Leah on the Offbeat have been somewhat mixed since its release, but as long as it maintains the fluffiness Becky Albertalli is known for, that’s fine with me.

 

Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst

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Inkmistress is the supposed prequel to Of Fire and Stars, following a bisexual demigod named Asra, who can dictate the future by writing in her own blood. She has lived a happy, peaceful life with her girlfriend Ina, until bandits threaten the village and the king does nothing to help. Asra attempts to use her magic to help, but the spell goes wrong and the entire village is destroyed. Seeking revenge for the death of her family, Ina takes the form of a dragon and Asra chases after her.

While I did not love Of Fire and Stars as much as I thought I would, I still enjoyed it. Between the two, admittedly, the plot of Inkmistress interests me much more, so hopefully I will enjoy it, too.

 

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

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On the surface, Ash Princess sounds like another young adult high fantasy filled with all the usual tropes. As a child, Princess Theodosia witnesses her mother murdered before her eyes and, for the next ten years, she is a prisoner in the palace at the mercy of the kingdom’s new dictator, the Kaiser. When the Kaiser goes too far, she decides it is time to take back her throne. However, Theo of Ash Princess uses her brain rather than a sword to fight. Those are my favorite kinds of high fantasy heroines.

 

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

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Another Jane Eyre retelling, but in space on a haunted spaceship. Engineer Stella leaves her dead-end spaceship to work as a governess aboard the Rochester. The captain of the spaceship, Hugo Fairfax, is a broody drunk with everyone else and kind to Stella. However, she begins to suspect someone is after Hugo and he might be involved in a conspiracy threatening the ship.

I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but Brightly Burning is one I could get into.

 

Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen

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Reign the Earth was a novel Booksplosion read earlier this year and I watched their live show, so I was spoiled for most of the story. Only their conversations surrounding the book intrigued me. After reading The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, I am in love with magical desert worlds. In Reign the Earth, Shalia, a daughter of nomads, marries herself to the king of the Bonelands in hopes of protecting her people and, right before her wedding, she discovers that she has elemental power over earth—one of the very people her new husband is trying to exterminate. Plus, I have the cover of this novel facing forward on my bookshelves and it’s so freaking pretty.

 

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

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Like Ash Princess, The Queen’s Rising sounds like another young adult high fantasy trying to be unique. In this world, people have a talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—and at seventeen a patron selects them. The protagonist, Brienna, has yet to master a passion until she impulsively selects knowledge. Unfortunately, the only patron she gets is a disgraced lord with his own agenda that lures her into a plot to take down the monarch of a rival kingdom.

I was drawn to The Queen’s Rising for three reasons. The first being the reviews on Goodreads, which were higher than I thought. The second is the fact that the magic of this world is rooted in the arts. The last is Brienna is supposed to be another main character that uses her mind as a weapon.

 

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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The Wicked Deep has been compared to the movie Hocus Pocus, but I think it sounds much better than that super cheesy movie. Two hundred years ago, in the town of Sparrow, three sisters were accused of witchcraft and drowned. They take their revenge against the town every summer by possessing the bodies of three girls and luring boys to their death in the harbor. Everyone in Sparrow accepts the curse as fact, including protagonist Penny, until new boy Bo comes to town.

 

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

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When it first came out, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns turned me off because of the snake on the cover. In recent months, though, I’ve heard some positive reviews of it. I was mainly drawn in by the fact that it is a retelling of the origin story of the Evil Queen from Snow White inspired by East Asian mythology. The main character, Xifeng, is destined to be empress as told by her witch aunt, but to do that she must spurn the man who truly loves her and embrace the dark magic inside her. Plus, her magic involves eating the hearts of those recently killed to absorb their power as hers.

Oh yeah, this one sounds so cool!

 

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

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I have heard so many mixed things about Girls Made of Snow and Glass that I’m starting to wonder if it will be weirder than I thought. To the best of my knowledge, it is a retelling of Snow White with an element of Frozen thrown in. What drew me to it in the first place was that it is supposed to be more feminist, in which Mina, the stepmother character, and Lynet, the Snow White character, refuse to hate each other. Though made in the image of her dead mother, Lynet wants to be more like her stepmom Mina, whose real heart was replaced by a glass one by her magician father. Lately, I’m hearing it called more of a “ladies loving ladies” story rather than a friendship one.

I haven’t even read Girls Made of Snow and Glass yet and I’m already a little confused….

 

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

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Surprisingly, I like stories featuring expeditions yet I hardly ever read them. Even the Darkest Stars follows Kamzin, who wants to both prove herself as an explorer and protect her sister, when a famous explorer selects her to join him on this important expedition on the most dangerous mountain. Her sister partners with a rival explorer, only that is the least of her problems once she encounters the dark secrets of the mountain. Unfortunately, most people don’t talk about Even the Darkest Stars much, but I have had better luck with under hyped books than overhyped ones over the years.

 

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

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Strange the Dreamer both fascinates me and frightens me a little bit. It is set in a fantastical world where the main character, a librarian named Laszlo Strange, is recruited by a group of scholars to investigate, and hopefully restore, the lost city of Weep. I like fantasy worlds a little on the weird side, which Strange the Dreamer is said to be. On the flip side, Laini Taylor’s writing is described as being very beautiful, but not for everyone. Hopefully, I will enjoy as much as the majority of everyone else who has read it seems to.

 

Which of these books have you read and what did you think?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Naked Hardcovers

Would you be surprised if I told you I actually had to think about this one?

The top five naked hardcovers on my bookshelves should be simple, right? Except I leave dust jackets on when I read them because they protect the book and I’m worried about losing them. Plus, most hardcovers naked are plain anyway.

Two of these books were no-brainers, but the others took some time to find. Hopefully, publishers will make an effort to make the naked hardcover of a book as pretty as they do the dust jacket.

My top five naked hardcovers are:

 

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

I received this edition of Heartless back when I was subscribed to Owlcrate and this was the first of their exclusive covers. Thankfully, the insides lived up to the beauty of its outside.

 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Probably the coolest cover on this list and one of the most hyped books of 2018 and I STILL have not read it yet. I need to get out of this weird slump first before it potentially ruins the experience for me.

 

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Don’t let the cute starry cover fool you: A List of Cages will reach into your chest, rip your heart out, and then gleefully tear it into teeny, tiny pieces while you watch.

 

The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

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This one was easy: it was already a naked hardcover. It has a creepy feel to it that draws the eye, plus cool sprayed red pages.

 

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

I almost forgot Exit, Pursued by a Bear had a pretty naked hardcover. It is periwinkle blue, with a tiny iconic quote from the book that the main character says to her best friend: “I love you.” “I know.”

 

What is your favorite naked hardcover?

My Pitiful June Wrap Up & Hopeful July TBR

Is it just me or was June emotionally draining?

I read only two books this entire month. I had more of an urge to buy books than read them (you will see the result of that in a week or two). I would not say the desire to read wasn’t there, but I really had to push myself to even pick a book up.

Then, the temp job I had left at the end of May asked if I could come back for another four weeks. Not that I am complaining—it was a nice state job I can put on my resume and my co-workers were awesome. Plus there was a swell restaurant across the street where I ate lunch every day run by funny Italian men. Still, I had to wake up at 4:30 every morning to catch a bus and the assignment itself could be mind numbing.

The best explanation I can come up with to appease myself is that what I was feeling was a combination of a reading slump, tiredness, the overwhelming desire to read all the books (TBR, library, and books I wanted to buy), and grief. It’s like I see, hear, or read something and I get into these terrible thought spirals where I am plunged back into memories of that last awful year of my mother’s life. Books helped a lot in the beginning. Lately, though, YouTube was a more engrossing distraction.

Fortunately, the bad days are few and far in between now. I’m trying to tell myself I cannot change the past and my life is now a wide, open, sea clear of my mother’s storms. I have great friends, an amazing dad and brother, a blog I enjoy, and graduate school and my future as a librarian to look forward to. And those bad days is just grief playing with my emotions. It will pass and it does.

But now enough of Debbie downing and onto the reader shaming! The two books I completed in June were:

 

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler (library book)

4 stars

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Virginia Shreves is a sweet but insecure plus size girl and the youngest daughter in a family of slim overachievers. She puts her family on pedestals, especially her big brother Byron, and goes out of her way to please her parents. But when Byron is suspended from school for date rape, the Shreves family unravels, leading Virginia down the road to self-discovery.

I really wish I had read The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things when I was younger. Most of the books I read back then did not feature plus-size main characters. Virginia has some of the best character development I’ve seen in young adult literature, though the novel was too short and everything seemed to be resolved too fast. For my full thoughts on The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, go check out my spoiler-free review.

 

And When She was Good by Laura Lippman

3 stars

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This is the first and only book I completed of the Backlist Book Challenge I barely attempted in June. While I was excited to try it, I quickly learned that I am a control freak that prefers to arrange my TBR in a specific order I want to read my books. It is fair to say I overwhelmed myself.

Anyway, And When She was Good is an adult fiction novel about Heloise, a high-price madam posing as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. She gets swept up in a murder investigation when another madam in a neighboring county dies under suspicious circumstances and fears for her life at the prospect that Val, a murderer and her former pimp, could be released from prison on a technicality.

In my head, I compared And When She was Good to a less cheesy Lifetime suspense film. Heloise is a strong and self-assured but morally gray protagonist that makes many selfish mistakes out of self-preservation and has no scruples against using her sexuality to get what she wants. Val, the “villain” of the novel, was fascinating in that he was psychotic and unpredictable, yet he was the only man in Heloise’s life to respect her intellect. On the flip side to that, the pacing of the novel was off and the plot fell flat, as it took forever for anything to happen. If you are interested, go check out my spoiler-free review of And When She was Good for more of my thoughts.

 

Since my June wrap-up was so short, I figured I would combine it with my July 2018 TBR, just to fill up all the empty space….

When last month began, I realized I had almost forgotten about my Harry Potter reread. I read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban towards the end of last year, then got wrapped up in all the shiny new books I had sitting on my shelves. I made it about 170 pages into Goblet of Fire before I set it aside a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed myself when I reread the first three books and shared my adultish thoughts with you all, so I want to keep moving forward with the Harry Potter series.

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The Heroes of Olympus was one of the series I hoped to read in 2018, though not as badly as some others, to be honest. Then, I reached a certain point in June where I needed something fun to read. I picked up The Lost Hero, the first book, on a whim. I had as much fun as I did when I read the original Percy Jackson books. Right now, I like the new characters Jason, Piper, and Leo. At the time I am writing this, I have about 100 or so pages left in The Lost Hero and I plan on reading the rest of the novels in July, which include:

The Son of Neptune

            The Mark of Athena

            The House of Hades

            The Blood of Olympus

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Lastly, being on brand, I went to the library.

I currently have three books checked out and another eight on hold (I never learn from my mistakes). The three I have in my possession at the moment are:

 

The Address by Fiona Davis

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The Address is a historical mystery set in dual time periods, following two women 100 years apart and their connection to the Dakota building in New York City. The first perspective is Sara, a young woman in 1884 who is offered the chance of a lifetime by famed architect Theodore Camden to work as a female manager in the Dakota. Then, years later, for reasons no one fully understands, Sara stabs Theodore to death.

The other perspective is Bailey, a recovering drug addict, interior designer, and granddaughter of the boy adopted by Theodore Camden. However, because she is not biologically related to Theodore, Bailey will not see a penny of his money. Then, Melinda, Theodore’s actual great-granddaughter, offers her a chance to redesign the Camden’s lavish apartment within the Dakota and, in doing so, Bailey uncovers secrets about Theodore’s murder and the truth about the acclaimed madwoman Sara.

 

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

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Tess lives in a medieval world where men and women are expected to live by certain rules, and dragons can do whatever they want. She is a magnet for trouble, but when she does something so disgraceful she can’t even think about it, instead of going to a nunnery, she disguises herself as a boy and, literally, walks away from it all. From my understanding, it is a novel about redemption and healing, following the younger sister of the main character in Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina series. I was more interested in Tess of the Road and, thankfully, I was told I didn’t need to read the original books to get into this one.

 

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West

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What is summer without a fun, lighthearted young adult contemporary? While I have not heard some not so great things about the first books she published, Kasie West’s newest novels since P.S. I Like You are said to be up to par. Love, Life, and the List is one I’m most interested in. It follows Abby Turner, a seventeen-year-old dealing with an unrequited crush on her best friend Cooper and her mom’s growing anxiety about Abby’s dad being overseas, who tries to submit her art work into a show. But when the gallery owner tells her that her work lacks heart, she sets out to complete a list of goals within the next thirty days in hope to get some real inspiration for her art.

In case you were wondering, the books I currently have on hold are:

 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Circe by Madeline Miller

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

The English Wife by Lauren Willig

My Name is Venus Black by Heather Lloyd

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

 

Will I read all these books? More? We shall find out!

Review of And When She was Good by Laura Lippman (Spoiler Free)

The moment I started reading And When She was Good by Laura Lippman, I knew I had to do a review on it, for the themes and questions it presented. The story follows Heloise Lewis, a high-price madam in Washington, D.C., who gets swept up in a murder investigation after another suburban madam dies under suspicious circumstances and Val, her former pimp and a murderer, could get out of prison.

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The novel goes between the present, as Heloise encounters a variety of problems as a madam midst the murder investigation, and the past, when she was Helen Lewis, a book-smart girl that turns to prostitution after fleeing an abusive family situation. The writing was very good, but I enjoyed the Helen chapters more than the Heloise chapters. While the concept was interesting, the plot ultimately fell flat for me. It took forever for things to happen in the Heloise chapters, while the Helen chapters, everything seemed to happen all at once. I think it is because of the inconsistent pacing is why it took me so long to read And When She was Good, despite it being barely over 300 pages long.

The reason that pushed me to keep reading And When she was Good was the characters, particularly Heloise and Val. Heloise is a strong female lead that survived on her instincts, using what limited resources she had, including her body. Having never finished high school, she read books to help cope with her situation as well as to educate herself and she just loves to learn new things in general. She is also a good mother, wanting only the best for her son Scott. But despite coming off as self-assured, Heloise makes many mistakes, both past and present, out of self-preservation.

Another element I enjoyed in the novel was the dynamic between Heloise and Val. If there is a “villain” in this story, you could pick Val. He was psychotic and unpredictable. He emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically abused Heloise. He was a pimp and a killer, the scum of society. And yet, unlike most of the other men in Heloise’s life, including her long-time protector, a detective named Tom, Val respects Heloise’s intellect. She continues to visit him in prison in the present day, and their conversations are about things such as books and business techniques. You would never have guessed Val was once her pimp.

As for the rest of the characters, most were not as fleshed-out as Heloise. In fact, some of the male side characters, like Tom, were more like stereotypes of men often portrayed in media. Some of the female side characters, like two of Heloise’s escorts, are two-dimensional, which was disappointing because both of those girls, Sophie and Anna Marie, were scheming in different ways to make changes to laws around prostitution. (Side note: trigger warning for sexual assault)

Lastly, I enjoyed the questions And When She was Good presented about prostitution and its insights on the female gender. Who is prostitution hurting, so long as both parties are consenting adults? Does a woman’s life lose value if she used her body to make money?

Overall, I give And When She was Good by Laura Lippman 3 stars. It had a morally gray female lead and a fascinating “villain,” as well as presented some interesting questions about a very big societal issue. But ultimately the story fell flat for me and it took forever for anything major to happen. I would say that, if you enjoy Lifetime suspense movies, or just Lifetime movies in general, I highly recommend you check out And When She was Good.

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag 2018

I know it’s June and we are halfway done through 2018 and my TBR at home is getting a little bit out of hand and I am this close to going on a book shopping splurge again with so many new books I want to read but…I really love the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag.

I look forward to doing this tag. I get to reflect on the books I’ve read so far this year and light a fire under my butt to read certain ones before the end of the year. It just makes me excited for the rest of my reading for the year, no matter how good or bad or mediocre the previous six months were.

On to the tag!

 

The best book you’ve read so far in 2018.

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Without a doubt, The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace. Every time I bring this book up, I say it came to me at the right time, which is absolutely true. I love Amanda’s free style poetry. Her voice is strong and unapologetic. The Princess Saves Herself in This One helped me feel empowered during a time I really needed it.

 

The best sequel you’ve read so far in 2018.

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Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco, the second book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and the first book I read in 2018. I loved it even more than Stalking Jack the Ripper, with the setting in a Romanian castle and all the Vlad the Impaler references. Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell are my Feysand, too.

 

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

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A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir, which I received six days before its release date! It is the third book in one of my all-time favorite series and I’m pretty sure it is going to destroy me.

 

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, the first book being My Lady Jane. My Plain Jane is a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte featuring ghost hunting and the occult, as well as I’m sure what is to be amazing, funny storytelling. Given how much I enjoyed My Lady Jane and that I love Jane Eyre, I already know I will love My Plain Jane.

 

Biggest disappointment.

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That would have to be Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read it earlier this year, too excited to put it off because I thought it would be a thriller type novel in Fitzgerald’s writing style. Only what I did not know prior to picking it up was that it was published after he had gone dormant in the book world for nine years, and it showed. The book still had his social commentary and unlikeable characters, but the writing was dense, leaning towards over-explaining and over-foreshadowing, taking too long to get to the point. Plus, the characters in this novel were just plain boring for unlikeable characters. So, yeah, Tender is the Night really let me down.

 

Biggest surprise.

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When I picked up This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter last month from the library, I went into it with low expectations. It appeared as though the author was trying to mesh too many genres—contemporary, thriller, and magical realism—and I was nervous as to how she could possibly make that all work. Somehow, she figured it out.

 

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

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Though I own most of her published works, I only started reading Marissa Meyer this year. I read Heartless, her stand-alone young adult retelling about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, this spring and loved it. Reading that got me excited to read her claim to fame, the Lunar Chronicles, one of the most hyped young adult series.

 

Newest fictional crush

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Wallace Wartland from Eliza and Her Monsters from Francesca Zappia, one of the first books I read this year. Though he looks like the stereotypical big, handsome, blue-eyed football player, he is mostly a sweet, shy nerd that I adore.

 

Newest favorite fictional character

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That would have to be Virginia Shreves, from my most recent read, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. I related to her so much. It was the first time, in a long time, I truly saw myself, specifically my younger self, in a young adult novel. Virginia is a good person, and she comes into her own by herself. That is something I think we need more of in young adult literature these days.

 

A book that made you cry

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I wouldn’t say this book made me cry full-on tears—other books in previous years have brought on waterfalls—but a book that definitely made me feel emotional, especially in the beginning portion, was The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan. A teenaged girl learns to cope and tries to find answers to family secrets in the wake of her mother’s suicide. This book had its moments where it hit close to home, in certain aspects of the main character’s grieving process and her memories of her mother.

 

A book that made you happy

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Definitely My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows made me happy. The authors took what was a serious, unhappy, and certainly not funny time in history and turned it all on its head, with hilarious storytelling and comedic situations.

 

Favorite book to film adaption you saw this year.

Comic books count right? A movie I watched based on a comic book is Doctor Strange. I personally have not read anything from Marvel or DC, though admittedly I prefer the latter’s movies and superheroes. Doctor Strange was the only Marvel movie I was interested in watching, primarily because it had more of a magic element than the others did. I watched it on Netflix a few months ago and I still think about it—I absolutely adored this film more than I thought I would. And Benedict Cumberbatch…..swoons.

Doctor Strange Marvel GIF

 

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The favorite review you’ve written this year.

If I have to say a favorite review I’ve written this year, it’s a tie between reviews I did for Speak the graphic novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace. Those were more about the reasons why young women should be reading them and I go into some spoiler detail.

 

The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received so far this year.

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Autoboyography by Christina Lauren, one of the books I bought at the very beginning of 2018 for my birthday. The cover catches my eye all the time when I’m looking at my shelves.

 

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas, Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Furyborn by Claire Legrand, Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli…just to name a few. There are a lot more that I want/need to read before the end of 2018. It is a matter of if I will get to them and not beat myself up if I do not.

 

What are the books you want to read before the end of 2018?