The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

“Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review!

“But you know, there’s an upside here. Because when you spend so much time just intensely wanting something, and then you actually get the thing? It’s magic.”

Stars (Out of 10): 9/10 Stars

Favorite Character: Reid

Spoiler Free: Someone could say I’m on a bit of a contemporary binge right now. That someone would be right. I’ve probably more than doubled my contemporaries read so far this year in the past few weeks. And so far I’m loving all of them!

Back in my Simon Vs. review, I said I most likely found another favorite contemporary author. The Upside of Unrequited has just further cemented that point! There is just something about the voice of the characters that I can’t help but love, and the fact that all of Albertalli’s books so far have had happy but meaningful endings is also a huge plus (not that I dislike sad endings, I just love some happiness sometimes!)

In comparison to Simon, this was still quite a different book. We had a female, straight narrator instead, where the insecurity rested in weight rather than sexuality. This led to quite a different tale, with a focus on self-love rather than overall acceptance. However, in both this book and Simon, I absolutely loved the romances + family relationships.

I was less into the plot of this one, as Simon had a whole mystery aspect tied to it that I just loved, but I devoured this book just the same. The narration was just so fantastic that no matter how boring the actual events had been, I still would have probably enjoyed the book thanks to Molly’s narration alone.

I also really loved the characters, and how tied together everything was (which is kinda how it is in real life!) They felt real, from their inner thoughts (for Molly), to their reaction to certain events/changes, to how their relationships developed and changed with one another. The only character I still cannot find myself liking is Cassie, but I’ve explained that more in the spoiler section. Also, can I just say that I audibly gasped when I found out how this book connected to Simon. Vs, I was so surprised! (Even though it was kind of obvious had I been actively looking for it.)

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I cannot wait for Leah on the Offbeat now!

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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The Martian by Andy Weir

“Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review!

“I guess you could call it a “failure”, but I prefer the term “learning experience”.”

Stars (Out of 10): 7/10 Stars

Spoiler Free: This was another one of those books that I’ve heard about for ages and just kept putting off because some part of it frightened me, and I did not want to be the only one that disliked it. For this book, it was probably the fact that it was adult sci-fi, and I honestly have mainly read YA sci-fi up until this point. However, after many recommendations from friends with the same taste, I finally picked it up!

While my expectations may have been, in the end, a bit too high, I did really enjoy this book. The thrilling dangers of sci-fi mixed with a bit of humor here and there from our wonderful narrator, Mark, made for an overall super fun to read sci-fi.

To begin with, I’m just going to get the main issue off my chest already. There was a lot of technical details, and while it overall added to the realness, it also made the book take quite long, and feel slow at points. Some passages even required me to read them twice, just so I could be sure I was understanding what was going on. It also led to some chapters/logs feeling dry and lacking personality, since some pieces of technical explanation did not have a lot of personal interjection from our narrator.

However, that really was it in terms of things I didn’t like. Yes there was less humor than I had believed, but it was still in amazing balance with the rest of the story. Sarcasm was used in much smaller amounts than I was used to (YA tends to overuse it quite a bit), but in the end it made the moments it was used even funnier.

The plot also was fantastic. Everything that went wrong did, and it was so cool seeing all the genius fixes to the problems that Mark and the world came up with. By the end, I was holding my breath, just hoping it would all go right this time!

Overall, I’m happy I finally read this book, and am super excited to watch the movie now!

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

“Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki?son of a giant?blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review!

Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Favorite Character: I loved the personality of Freya in this retelling!

Spoiler Free: Ever since I was a kid, I loved all sorts of mythology. A lot of this was due to just always growing up with the tales of Greek gods, whether it be in cool elementary school projects (my class hosted its own set of Olympic Games + learned a lot about Ancient Greece) combined with the constant presence of Rick Riordan stories (even now!) When I heard Neil Gaiman was coming out with his own retelling of Norse mythology, I was super interested. I hadn’t read any of his work before (only a short story in a college class a few weeks back), but I knew he was popular. I recently picked up this super pretty version of it in the States, and just now was in the mood for it!

First off, the main thing that surprised me was how much I already knew. I’m by far no expert on any sort of mythology, especially Norse, but I have read Riordan’s series set in it, and was surprised by how much that one series had taught me. Additionally, it was also just interesting to read Gaiman’s note in the beginning, and to learn that so much of this mythology has been lost over time.

Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this. It was really just a collection of stories loosely tied together by the overarching presence of Ragnarok to come, but I still really enjoyed each one. I think almost every single story held my attention, and while there were no characters there to really “bond” or connect with, I still found myself saddened when reading their final chapter, Ragnarok.

I also really enjoyed the way Gaiman told the stories. It was fairly informational, and didn’t focus much on use of emotion or scenery, but I still found myself really liking it. In the end, it was a bit dry, but that’s also just the best way to present these sorts of stories!

In the end, I do not regret picking this book up at all, and really enjoyed the afternoon I spent reading it! It’s honestly exactly what you should expect from a book of myths!

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

“When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.

The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.

Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.

Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.

Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . . .”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review!

“With every line he teaches her, the world grows a little wider. She had never known before how words could sing, how a turn of phrase could unlock a window in her mind.”

Stars (Out of 10): 6/10 Stars

Favorite Character: Vai

Spoiler Free: This book is not your standard Romeo and Juliet retelling. It’s main focus isn’t even their romance, as their passionate and quick romance and their marriage has all taken place before this story is set to begin. All in all, romance barely even plays a part in this story.

What this book takes from Romeo and Juliet is the basics: it takes a city that houses two powerful and warring families, and it takes the original relations between characters. We have our Romeo and Juliet and Paris, whose names are taken directly from the text, as well as other characters from the tale, Runajo as Rosaline, Makari as Mercutio (though far from Mercutio’s original role).

Where it differs is a much longer list. Viyara is the only city that isn’t plagued by the walking dead, or revenants, and is officially ruled by the old royal line of Viyarans (though the Mahayani/Montague family is the house with true power.) It also features a sect of Sisters who are only accepted due to their ability to keep the city safe. On top of this, there is a large range of belief systems, as each clan/family within the city (and there are many) has their own set of beliefs. The Catresou/Capulets believe in afterlife and gods, while the Mahayani do not. The royal Viyarans only care about fun and the Sisters, once again, also carry a different set of belief. We even get introduced to a character that is almost the last of their own clan, with another set of beliefs. Overall, there is quite a lot going on in this book.

If I’m being honest, you cannot take this book as a whole and understand. The only way I was able to understand the story was to focus on certain pieces of it at certain times. For example, in the beginning of the story, I couldn’t even see the book as a Romeo and Juliet retelling, as then I was unable to understand and look at what was actually happening in the world. There was just too much.

Additionally, like I said above, there was also just no romance. As the synopsis suggests, Romeo and Paris end up working together/bound while Juliet becomes bound to Runajo/Rosaline. This means that the lovers of the story spend the entire book without each other, specifically presuming the other is dead and thus wishing to die themself.

The plot itself was also filled with almost too much. Both POVs of the story are set on their own paths of discovery, and therefore the reader is the one with all the pieces of the puzzle at the end. However, the way it is done is almost too frustrating, as by 50% of the book the reader has practically figured out what is going on, but the actual characters are still entirely confused.

Lastly, I’m just extremely frustrated by the ending. I’m of the mindset that a book, especially the first book, should solve some portion of the main conflict presented in said book, but leave enough unresolved for the series to continue off of. Unfortunately, this book leaves everything to be resolved later, and I’m left, as a reader, with no satisfaction in the ending, as if I only read 70% of the book and was then forced to stop. Additionally, with pacing that felt like the plot train had come off the tracks and was moving at an increasingly faster speed towards the end, the suddenness of the emergency brakes, stopping me from reaching that conclusion, just hurts my head. It just feels unfinished.

Overall, I will most likely read the sequel, as I did enjoy the world and plot and characters, but that can’t change my annoyance with how the first book was planned.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

“The Winter Solstice. In a week. I was still new enough to being High Lady that I had no idea what my formal role was to be. If we’d have a High Priestess do some odious ceremony, as lanthe had done the year before. A year. Gods, nearly a year since Rhys had called in his bargain, desperate to get me away from the poison of the Spring Court to save me from my despair. Had he been only a minute later, the Mother knew what would have happened. Where I’d now be. Snow swirled and eddied in the garden, catching in the brown fibers of the burlap covering the shrubs My mate who had worked so hard and so selflessly, all without hope that I would ever be with him We had both fought for that love, bled for it. Rhys had died for it.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review!

“Stars flickered around us, sweet darkness sweeping in. As if we were the only souls in a galaxy.”

Stars (Out of 10): 9.5/10 Stars

Favorite Character: Azriel

Spoiler Free: Picking up a new Maas book has started to feel like slipping back into my favorite pair of pajamas. It’s a comfy sort of feeling, a feeling of coming back home, being surrounded by familiar faces and places. ACOFAS has been no different.

While ACOFAS was different in the sense that it was a novella, and therefore really only introduced things that were detrimental for later books instead of actually solving any large problems, it still carried the same feel of the series that I’ve known and loved the past few years. And while it was super short (though longer than a normal novella), and I did feel like it was over way too fast, it was still just enough to hold me over until the next book, as well as get me excited for the continuation of the series again. Seeing an ending to the main trilogy in ACOWAR had somehow dulled the excitement for what comes after, leading my love to become more muted.

As I said above, this novella could have been considered an extended prologue for the next book, setting the scene for how the following books would come to fruition. In a sense, it also served as an extended epilogue to ACOWAR, both reinforcing its ending as well as revealing more hidden behind the ending, showing how the characters are left, broken and scarred, after the war. (It took quite a toll, and I love how real the characters felt due to it.)

There wasn’t much more to this novella, but overall I just want to say that I’m mostly happy with the direction Maas chose to go with both this novella and the rest of the story so far, as this book didn’t sugarcoat anything while still giving us cute and funny moments.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke

“The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review! I’ve been excitedly wanting to read this ever since I heard of it, and I recently was gifted it by my amazing friend!

“The past doesn’t exist. It’s just a story we tell ourselves. And stories change each time you tell them.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8.5/10 Stars

Favorite Character: The one and only Jane Sinner

Spoiler Free: Ughhhhhhhh I loved this book so much! It’s honestly everything I wish for from a contemporary!

How To Make A Good Contemporary

  1. Have a strong, and sometimes hilarious, narrative voice
  2. A good blend of struggle, humor, and love
  3. Add a cat

And then this book had to go and add a competition into the mix. It’s like this book is after my heart!

Now, to get a little more serious, I did seriously enjoy and love this book, and the main reason for this definitely had to be Jane. Her voice and her struggles felt so real and brutal and honest all while remaining absolutely hilarious. From her facade of having no care in the world to how hidden she keeps her true emotions reminded me of myself at points, but then Jane always came in with some funny quip to keep me from dwelling too much. Additionally, the way the emotions were written along made me feel them almost as strongly as I image Jane did, which also added to overall “realness” that the book held.

The plot itself was also pretty amazing. I didn’t guess any of the “twists,” as I was too wrapped up in Jane’s competitive strategy to really consider what the others were up to, and I preferred it that way. Additionally, the competitions were just really fun to read through, and getting to hear about everything after it happened (since this book was written in the form of a diary) allowed for Jane to add her afterthoughts to them. The pacing itself was also pretty great, spreading the action and emotions throughout the book in a fairly balanced way.

Unfortunately, the only reason I dropped this book a star was due to its ending. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the ending of the book itself, but I didn’t like how short it was compared to the rest of the book. For reasons I’ll explain a bit better in the spoiler section, it felt a bit rushed and unfinished, and I didn’t feel fully satisfied by the end of it, almost as if it needed a bit more words/pages to provide proper closure for the book. But I still absolutely loved what the ending contained, and what it meant for Jane and her future.

Overall, this book made me laugh a lot, cry a bit, and taught me something about myself along the way, and that’s all I can really ask from a book.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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Spell Speakers by Day Leitao

“14-year old Darian was raised in an isolated village, resisting the King and his army. When his life takes a tragic turn, he ends up in the castle, closer to his former enemies than he has ever imagined. His only solace is Cayla, a girl who helps him smile again, for whom he slowly falls in love. But the castle has more dangers than he imagined.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review!

First off, I would like to thank the publisher and author for providing me this ARC to review. Please note that the version I read was an advanced copy, and certain events/language may be changed in the published edition.

Stars (Out of 10): 3/10 Stars

Spoiler Free: This novella was meant to introduce the world and make readers more interested in the series, but I don’t really think this book did that at all. If I were to judge this novella purely on how well it accomplishes that task, it would’ve received 1 star. It barely bothered to explain the world at all, the one we were supposed to be growing interest in, and focused instead on a very oddly paced plot with characters that all read kind of the same.

Unfortunately, I found out pretty early on that I would most likely not be a fan of this novella. This revelation came purely from the writing style at first, as it felt super cut and dry, very simple and uninteresting. Instead of utilizing language to properly make readers feel and understand the world better, everything just felt stated. “Character A did this. Character B reacted like this.” It told more than it showed, which caused a major disconnect between me and the characters.

Additionally, the plot itself was fairly simple to guess, yet wasn’t aware of this. It not so subtly dropped many clues before every twist, so every reader would have actually picked up on it before it was revealed, but somehow our MC, Darian, was entirely clueless to everything going on around him. The pacing of the overall plot was also fairly weird. We had a very quick-moving start, almost as if we were dropped into the middle of a story, and then we get a lull in the middle, followed by a final chapter in Darian’s POV that suddenly dumps a bunch more information on the reader. When combined with the simple writing, it almost felt as if I was reading a very detailed outline of what the book was going to contain, instead of the book itself.

The world itself, as I mentioned above, is also just poorly explained. We learn nothing of the magic system (which is part of why I requested this novella, it sounded interesting), and almost nothing on the tension between the smaller villages and the kingdom, just that magic is the cause of it. It leaves readers in a limbo of who to believe, as we aren’t given a sympathetic outlook on either side. All we know is that the king is burning villages in search of a witch that is probably dead (but how do only the villages know this? Why doesn’t the king?) It’s all really confusing, so I’m trying not to dwell on it.

Lastly, I wasn’t able to get a grasp on almost any of the characters. While I overall did find Sian interesting, and the interplay of motives running through him, this same level of depth did not come through well in the other characters, and instead made them feel incontinuous. For example, with our main hero Darian, we don’t actually get to learn about life back in the village, or anything that makes us sympathetic to the cause Darian’s mother was fighting for. Furthermore, this makes his constant longing for his old life hard to empathize with, since we have no understanding of that life. His inner voice also seems to shift dramatically within the story, from a focus on home/hatred of the evil king, to a focus on love interest only, and then back to a focus on revenge/hatred without regard of said love interest. This imbalance actually comes through in that love interest as well, and I have a hard time gauging what her inner thoughts actually are, even after having read a POV chapter from her.

However, I was still intrigued. Even with everything above, I still want to learn more. Some might say that this want for more stems from the lack of content that the book provided me with in the first place, but I also didn’t expect much coming into this in terms of content (it is only 100 pages!)

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

“The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review!

“Dying’s a boring side effect.”

Stars (Out of 10): 9/10 Stars

Favorite Character: You literally cannot make me choose

Spoiler Free: Someone go back to the girl in 2017 and punch her for putting this down, please? She was an idiot.

That girl could’ve given you quite a few reasons for putting down this book. The frustrating romance, the semi-confusing plot, the beautiful writing style that made the entire story takes twice as long.

The me that read this book now would count those reasons among why I loved this book as much as I did. I think somewhere between then and now something clicked within me, something that made me appreciate Maggie’s writing much more. Maybe it was my reading of All The Crooked Saints, a book so heartbreakingly beautiful that I cried even in the happy moments. Maybe it’s my growing appreciation for those stories that take time to read, thanks to books like Strange The Dreamer and Nevernight. Maybe it’s something else. But I love this book now.

I’ve already mentioned the writing style, and I think this is where Maggie truly shines. She has such a wonderful way of controlling language, and the simplest of lines can seize your heart. She embeds humor wonderfully within the story as well, in a way that feels natural and sudden. She has a way of making you smile at how ridiculous her characters are in some moments, and how amazing they are in others. If I had a list of authors who I’d read purely for the way they craft stories, Maggie would be on it.

In addition, the characters are also fantastic. They all feel extremely unique, even when being written from a third POV. Additionally, she gives you reasons to love and understand each one, to root for them in their highs and cry for them in their lows. Her creation of this friendship that exists between the main cast is also amazing, and I love how deep and unrivaled it feels, how full of love. I’d read a story of them doing absolutely nothing and still love it.

Additionally, we have the romance and the plot. It almost seems that these take a back seat to the characters and writing at points, but it doesn’t feel wrong. The book, even in the lulls, still always feels like it’s going somewhere, that each line is woven through with clues and secrets. Additionally, while the romance is fair from the main focus, it still adds another layer to this already full story, and I loved it, and am really really curious to see how this continues sooner.

I don’t know how soon I’ll be able to read Blue Lily, Lily Blue (lots of ARCs and little time), but I certainly will read it as soon as my schedule allows, as I am completely ensnared in one of Maggie’s worlds once again.

A Mark Unwilling by Candace Wondrak

“Lexa Blue thought she had her life figured out. She’d go to college, maybe get a job, and wait until the Demon whose Mark she bears comes to collect her soul. No real concrete plans since it wouldn’t matter in the end. What she did not expect was the end of the world.

Conquest. War. Pestilence. Death.

Even with her trusted Warlock friend, David, Lexa is clueless about how to stop the apocalypse—but she’ll still try; because of her Mark, she can’t die. Who better to fight the Horsemen?

It’s not that simple. With a prophetic girl as a new sidekick, a group of Vampires who’re suspect, and an FBI Agent who somehow knows her connection to the biblical figures, Lexa’s life is going to get a heck of a lot worse before it gets better.

When her Demon finally comes to claim her, will she be ready?

…Probably not.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review!

First off, I would like to thank the author for providing me this ARC to review. Please note that the version I read was an advanced copy, and certain events/language may be changed in the published edition.

Stars (Out of 10): 5/10 Stars

Spoiler Free: The author actually reached out herself to me in regards to reading this book, and I was quite excited at the prospect of reading another book about the four horsemen after recently reading Laura Thalassa’s interpretation of them. Needless to say, this book differs greatly from that one!

For starters, not only does this book use biblical characters as the powerful entities in this book, but she uses greek ones as well, such as Hades. While at some points it got kinda overbearing, and it was never actually explained how everything works together, that didn’t end up being too much of a problem, and I think I would prefer this no explanation over a poor one that confused things even more.

The plot itself was fairly interesting, the narrator had her soul sold before she was even born by her parents, and has spent most of her life waiting for that debt to be collected. It involves a bunch of other supernatural and spiritual figures, such as the devil, demons, Hades, seraphs, warlocks, and vampires, and is ultra packed in terms of content. Not that much happened in this book besides the beginning of the end of the world though, and I still don’t have much of a clue about the grander scope of the plot as a whole, and where it’s actually going to.

In terms of characters, I was a bit less happy. In the end I don’t know if I actually connected/liked any of them as people, or would choose to befriend any of them, but I did like how most of them stuck to the “truth” of themselves. For example, our narrator can really come off like a bitch sometimes, but I get it, her life has never been her own so she’s kinda constantly pissed at the world. But this core of anger and frustration is what drives her, from the confusing and sometimes inconsistent relationship with her parents to how mean she can get with some people, especially her friends. While I wouldn’t wanna be on the other end of her tongue, I do like her fire.

I think the thing that most got to me was the writing style. There were in general quite a few small mistakes here and there, some typos, but I also get that this is an indie and there isn’t a whole team behind this work, which actually makes the existence of only a few of these mistakes quite impressive. The main issue though was the short sentences that the author favored. There were a lot of moments where one thought or phrase was split up into many short sentences for emphasis, or repeated many times in short sentences for emphasis, and it kinda made nothing actually emphasized. It ended up just making some of the portions pretty choppy, and took me out of parts of the work. Additionally, there were moments where the narrator would latch on to a small detail and go on a small rant about something completely unrelated to the current moment at hand, which also brought me out at points.

Overall, I am still extremely intrigued to see what happens next! This book ends on quite the cliffhanger!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

“Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review!

“I teach you to be warriors in the garden so you will never be gardeners in the war.

Stars (Out of 10): 8.5/10 Stars

Favorite Character: At first it was Zelie, but by the end I loved Amari!

Spoiler Free: Ahhh this book lived up to the hype! Fully and completely!

I really really enjoyed my time spent reading this book, and it unfortunately went by way too quickly! (I read this 500+ page book faster than I’ve read from 300 page books… it was just paced so well and constantly held my attention!)

There were things I liked and loved about all of this book I think, from the characters to the plot to the world! For a debut, it was overall super well developed and well written, and I cannot wait for the next few books.

In terms of world, I thought it was super well done. I was never confused by how it worked/the magic system, and I really loved the variety in magic and spells (especially since our MC had a pretty unique power, and we didn’t just see the standard elemental magic.) Additionally, even the small details overall added to the strength of the world and it’s realism. For example, all the animals had slightly altered names, like a lionaire and a gorillon. With this tactic, Adeyemi was both able to add a magical and mystical feel to the world and separate it from our own while still ensuring the readers were able to understand and recognize the animals, and making sure we didn’t have to memorize a million extra words just for animals either.

In terms of plot, I won’t say it was the most imaginative or twisty one ever, but it was definitely action-packed and exciting. It was able to weave build up and action very well, in a way that made neither overbearing and kept the book well balanced. There were never times I ached for the book to speed up or slow down, and the entire course of the plot felt really natural!

Additionally, the characters were all just as amazing. They had their motivations, their traits, their weaknesses, and they stuck with them. One of the worst things a book can do is give a character a desire and then make them wishy-washy on it, or make them change back and forth between different personalities. Adeyemi did not do this at all, and stuck with the characters she created while still giving them chances to learn and grow (some did, some didn’t, and some are still on their way!)

Unfortunately, the only reason this book is not a 5 star read for me is because it just didn’t click with me on the same level as books like Graceling and The Last Namsara did recently, and I think this has to do with the romances. While I loved the main ones, they sometimes felt as if they progressed weirdly or too quickly, and this didn’t always line up with the characters involved in the romances. While I cheered for them, I didn’t absolutely love how they were handled either.
However!! The romance is far from the focus of this book, with the parts that are important being the best parts as well. Definitely pick this book up if you’ve been considering it (or even if you haven’t!)