The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon / Review

You may not remember, but I read Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon a few months ago, and I absolutely adored it. I was so excited to get an early copy of her debut adult book, The Ex Talk!

Luckily, I loved it just as much.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. But lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it’s this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.

My Thoughts:

This was such a fun book because it took two common tropes—enemies to lovers + fake dating—but turned them upside down! In this case, it was actually an enemies to lovers + fake exes story, which isn’t something I’d ever read before.

It was fresh and funny, and I was so entertained the entire time by it.

The characters were each so witty and had their own distinct personalities, which is why I enjoyed the book so much. I think characters are the most important pieces to any type of story because it’s what makes the audience care about the rest of the elements (like plot, world, magic, etc.). And Rachel does a phenomenal job of creating realistic characters that are fun to read about!

I also really enjoyed the radio/podcasting element to this story! As a communication student, I’ve learned about the world of radio before, but this really brought it to life for me. I think a writer is great at what they do if they can make you interested in something you’ve never really care about before. For example, the directors, producers, and writers behind The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix made millions of people watch an entire show about the game of chess. It made me so excited by it that I even began teaching myself chess!

The Ex Talk did that for me with radio. I think the behind-the-scenes of it all was so fascinating, and it was useful to read about since I just started my own podcast as well!

Finally, the plot was great. There were some parts that I think could have been slowed down a little bit, but overall I had such a great time with this book.

If you are an adult romance fan, this is a great book to pick up! Even if you’re not much of an adult reader, I think this is a good book to help you get into the world of adult books because it’s light and not too hardcore.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

This book comes out on January 26th, so be sure to add it to your TBR if you’re interested or preorder it now!

Have you read this or any of Rachel Lynn Solomon’s other books?

Winter TBR 2021

Happy New Year! I can’t say what the new year will bring. None of us really can, can we? But I do know that I am going to take every opportunity that comes my way, and I want to embrace as many new experiences as I can.

This year, I’m going to set seasonal TBRs because I want to have more flexibility with my reading!

I’m only going to be picking 5 books for each season, too, even though I know I will read much more than that in total! I just want to have room to pick up anything else I want.

The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab

I asked you all to vote on my Instagram for which book should be my first read of 2021, and the winner was The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab! I have had this on my TBR for about 2 years now, so I am excited to finally get to it!

This is V.E. Schwab’s debut book that follows a mysterious town where children begin disappearing from their beds. A new boy to town becomes a suspect, but he and the protagonist Lexi work together to find them. It sounds right up my alley.

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay

This is one of my most recent purchases, and I am really excited to read this book. It’s about three women who describe themselves as witches, who work at a tea shop together. It’s a historical fantasy, which isn’t something I would normally gravitate towards, but 2021 is all about trying new things and stepping outside of my comfort zone! I also think I’m really going to like it, just based off of the reviews I’ve seen.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily Danforth

I have always been a horror fan (gothic lit was always my favorite subject in my english classes), but I never actually read all that much of it. I have been slowly working my way through more horror in 2020, but I want to continue that trend this year, too. It is a book that takes place at a boarding school in England. That’s all I know about it, but that’s all I want to know—I want to go into it without any expectations. It’s also one of my 5 star predictions for 2021, so fingers crossed!

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Another genre I want to read more of in 2021 is memoirs! Barack Obama’s book has been a very popular read since its release a couple of months ago, and I finally secured an audiobook of it. I’m excited because it’s narrated by him, so I just know it’ll be a great time.

I adored listening to Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, which was also narrated by her, so I really think this will be a 5 star read for me!

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I really enjoy classic literature, but again, it’s a genre I don’t often pick up. I want to include at least one classic in all of my TBRs this month, but I hope I’ll read even more than that! Wuthering Heights has been on my radar for a really long time, and now that I finally own a copy of it, I need to pick it up!

If you’ve read any of these before, please feel free to share your thoughts on them! What are some books you’ll be reading this month or this quarter?

December Wrap Up 2020 + ANNOUNCEMENT!

Welcome to my final wrap up (and post) of 2020! What a year it’s been. It has definitely had its ups and its many, many downs, but I think we all learned a lot this year, and for that I’m really grateful. My outlook on life has changed a lot, and I think I’ve really learned that life is short and you have to take advantage of every opportunity given to you!

With that being said, I have decided to start a podcast! You can listen to the trailer now on Anchor.fm, and in a few days, it should be available on many more podcasting platforms (including Apple Podcasts and Spotify)!

If you want to hear me chat about reading, writing, and the creative podcast, definitely be sure to check it out.

I have also decided to go back to posting once a week on here in 2021 in order to increase the quality of my posts. I want to be happy with everything I share, and I don’t want to feel rushed or burnt out.

I hope this change will be a positive one for you all as well because you’ll be able to get more value out of my posts! I am excited for all that the new year will bring, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Now, let’s look at my reading for the month of December! I read 12 books, which I’m so happy about, and I enjoyed all of them—that’s pretty rare!

5 stars

  • How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi: This is a very well written and informative read! I think it’s a book that everyone should read.
  • Shine Your Icy Crown by Amanda Lovelace: We all know how much I love Amanda Lovelace! This collection is all about sisterhood, and as I have a younger sister, I related to it so much. It was beautiful as always.
  • Writers & Lovers by Lily King: This was one of my most anticipated reads, and I am so pleased that it was a good one. I love reading about other writers, so I knew this one would be a 5 star!
  • The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon: I read my first book by Rachel Lynn Solomon this year & it is one of my favorite reads of 2020! I loved this one just as much, and I can’t wait for the rest of the world to be able to read it.
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: The Hill House show is one of my absolute favorites, and I have been wanting to read the book for a really long time. It surprised me a lot because it’s so different from the show, but I loved it in its own way! Shirley Jackson is an amazing writer.

4 stars

  • Please Pick Me by Reina Regina: This is a poetry collection I reviewed earlier this month, so be sure to check that out for my in-depth thoughts!
  • My Sister’s Grave by Robert Dugoni: I have been loving thrillers recently, and this one was really interesting! I may even continue the rest of the series because I enjoyed the story a lot.
  • Genius and Ink by Virginia Woolf: Virginia Woolf is a writer I want to explore a lot more in the new year! This was a great introduction to her work for those who are new to her because it is her reviews of other writers.
  • After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott: Another thriller that I really enjoyed! This one was a longer one, but it was full of action and twists. I highly recommend it!

3.5 stars

  • Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham: I really like reading about social media and influencers, so this was an enjoyable read! Some of it felt a little unrealistic, but I had a good time reading it.

3 stars

  • Essential Bukowski by Charles Bukowski: Charles Bukowski writes really…interesting poetry. There were a few good pieces, but a lot of it was very misogynistic, which I was not fond of. I know that he is considered a really good poet, but he is not someone I will probably read more of.
  • You Have a Match by Emma Lord: In December of last year, I read Emma Lord’s debut book Tweet Cute and absolutely adored it! I enjoyed You Have a Match, but unfortunately not as much as her first novel. It just felt a little too rushed because there was so much going on. It wasn’t bad, just not one of my favorites!

Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know what your thoughts were!

And please share what your favorite reads of the year were, I’d love to know!

The Netflix Book Tag

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a good holiday season this year, given the circumstances.

Since I’ve been home from school, all I’ve been doing is catching up on movies and shows that have been on my Netflix list for ages, so I thought it was appropriate to do this tag now!

I’m not sure who the original creator is, but I saw it on Kristin’s blog a really long time ago (yes, that’s how long I save tags for), so check it out!

Recently Watched: The last book you finished reading

Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham: I will talk more about this book in my wrap up, but it was an enjoyable read! It’s also my last read of 2020!

Top Picks: A book/books that have been recommended to you based on books you have previously read.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson: I’ve only read 2 other short stories and novels by Shirley Jackson, but I absolutely loved them. This one has been recommended to me quite a few times after I read The Haunting of Hill House! I also have the movie adaptation of this on my Netflix list, so I need to get on it ASAP!

Recently Added: The last book you bought

The Lord of the Rings box set by J.R.R. Tolkien: I have had this specific box set on my mind for years. I almost bought it so many times, but then I kept holding off. I finally decided to purchase it for myself as a Christmas gift, and I am so happy that I did. I’ve only read The Hobbit (2 years ago for a children’s literature class), but I really enjoyed it. That’s what inspired me to purchase this set!

Popular on Netflix: Books that everyone knows about (2 you’ve read and 2 you have read or have no interest in reading)

Read:

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: This book has been super hyped this year, and for good reason! This is a beautiful historical fiction about two Black twins who split up and live very different lives—one passes as white, while the other escapes an abusive marriage.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: Everyone has heard of this book, and everyone has heard of how heartbreaking it is. I just had to include this one here!

Unread:

Circe by Madeline Miller: This book was one that I had on my TBR for a while, but the longer I thought about it, the less interested I was in it. I’m sure it is a really good book, like everyone says! But personally, I know I wouldn’t really enjoy it.

Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas: I feel like everyone is going to hate me for this one, but I just have no desire to read this series (or any of SJM’s other books). I tried ACOTAR and didn’t really like it, and I’m also not really a YA fantasy person—especially a series.

Comedies: A funny book

Shit, Actually by Lindy West: This was a really fun book where a woman gives commentary about various films. Her reading this was just so entertaining, and I highly recommend it if you like to watch movies!

Dramas: A character who is a drama queen/king

Cardan from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: I have the worst book memory possible, so it’s hard for me to think of things like this right away, but I had The Cruel Prince lying next to me, so I thought of Cardan. Not only is he a legitimate king, but he is very dramatic, too.

Animated: A book with cartoons on the cover

The Switch by Beth O’Leary: Illustrated novels are all the rage right now, but it was surprisingly difficult for me to choose a book for this! I decided to go with The Switch because I think the cover with the doors is absolutely adorable. Plus, it was a phenomenal read!

Watch it again: A book/book series that you want to re-read

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy by Jenny Han: I absolutely must do a re-read of this series soon. It is definitely one of my favorite series of all time, but I have never re-read it!

Documentaries: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone

Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton: This is a book that needs to be read by everyone. It’s a story about a women who was raped who then accused the wrong man of the crime. He went to prison for years until it was finally proven that he was innocent. It made me sob, but it was so beautiful.

Action and Adventure: An action packed book

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: For some reason, this was the first book to come to mind. It definitely has a lot of action (the whole series does), and I think it’s just a really fun read!

New Releases: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab: This is probably going to be one of my first reads of 2021, and I am so excited! It has been out for a little while now, but I wanted to include it here!

This was such a fun tag! I hope you enjoyed reading my answers as much as I enjoyed writing them :)

I can’t believe I have just one more post going up in 2020. There are going to be some changes and new things coming in 2021 that I’m really excited to be sharing soon, so be on the lookout for that!

For now, I’ll see you on Thursday :)

Baby It’s Cold Outside Tag

Back in November, I was tagged by the lovely Erin to do the Baby It’s Cold Outside tag that she created. I’m a little late, but it’s actually snowing as I write this, so I think it’s a fitting time to post it!

Snow Day – What’s your “comfort” book? 🌨

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: Admittedly, I haven’t re-read this book since my first read back when I was 14. But this book just brings back the best memories for me, as does the entire trilogy. Plus, I’ve watched the movies a ton of times, too, so it’s just become one big ball of comfort for me.

Snow Angels – What’s a book that you love so much you would want to be buried with it (a little morid, but…)? 👼🏼

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: Look, I don’t know if I’ll be buried with this book. But I do plan on getting a tattoo inspired by it, so close enough, right? This book is everything to me, if I’m being completely honest. I love it so much.

Warm Socks – What’s a book that makes you feel warm inside? (The fluffiest, cutest romance you’ve ever read?) 🔥

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert: The angst and the feelings in this book. Ugh, impeccable. I still need to read book #2, and I’m just desperately waiting to get my hands on a copy from the library!!

Hot Cocoa – What winter-themed novels have you previously read? 🍫

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: Is now the time I have to admit that I haven’t read any Holiday books in years??? I’ve read quite a few books set in Winter but they just don’t give off the Holiday vibes. I did read this Dickens novel back in elementary school and it was the first one that came to mind, so Im putting it on here.

Sledding – What’s a book with the best plot twists? Who’s an author that always keeps you on your toes? 🛷

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: One of my favorite books of the year for sure and the ending? Shocking for sure! If you haven’t yet read it, I highly recommend picking it up.

Ugly Sweaters – What’s a book with the ugliest cover? 🧥

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer: I hate this cover. So much. And the book wasn’t that great either (🙈).

Movie Marathon – What’s the last book you marathoned? 🎬

After The Eclipse by Fran Dorricott: I just finished this one last night but I read the majority of it in 2 days (and it’s over 400 pages, so that was FAST for me). I really enjoyed all of the twists and turns in this thriller.

Letter to Santa – What’s a book that’s on your wishlist this year? 🎅

I didn’t ask for any books for Christmas this year because I just don’t need any at the moment! But, on my ARC wishlist right now are The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin, She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard, and We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon!

That’s it for the tag! If you want to do it, consider yourself tagged by me!

And let me know if you agree with any of my answers, or tell me what books you would pick! And thank you so much to the lovely Erin for tagging me :)

Authors I Discovered This Year & Fell in Love With

Every year, I obviously read new books and with that comes many new authors! I thought that in today’s post, I would share a few of the ones that I hadn’t heard about prior to this year or haven’t ever read anything by them before, but now they are new favorite authors.

Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng is a fairly popular novel, so she may not be new to you! But, I read both Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You this year—and I really loved both! I think I liked Little Fires Everywhere just a little bit more, but both books were such phenomenal reads. And, the Hulu show for LFE was amazing, too.

Rachel Lynn Solomon

I was gifted an ARC of Rachel’s 2020 release Today Tonight Tomorrow by Simon & Schuster, which I am so grateful for. Because of that ARC, I read one of my favorite books of the year, and I found a new incredible author. You can read my review for it here! I have now put her other books on my TBR, and I even got an ARC of her adult debut, The Ex Talk.

Brit Bennett

I will for sure be reading more from Brit Bennett in the new year. The Vanishing Half really took my breath away, and I have heard more just as many amazing things about The Mothers. The writing was just so up my alley. On top of that, it covered so many important topics surrounding race. I am really excited for more from this author.

R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War was such a great read. It was really striking and beautiful, and I am excited to read the rest of the trilogy! It is incredible to me that she wrote this book at 19, which I talked about in my ‘favorite debut books’ post. I am definitely a contemporary reader, so the fact that I included a fantasy writer in this post says a lot. I hope that convinces you to pick up the books!

Christina Lauren

I honestly can’t believe this year was my first year reading from Christina Lauren. My first book was The Unhoneymooners, and it was such a treat! My second book of theirs I read wasn’t a favorite of mine, but it was one of their earlier releases in a different genre (YA horror—The House), so I think it’s going to be an outlier. These two ladies know how to write a romance, and I do have plans to read more of their books. If you have any favorites, let me know!

Who are some authors you discovered this year for the first time? Do you have any of the same ones as me?

Please Pick Me Blog Tour / Poetry Review

Hello everyone! I hope you are having an amazing week so far!

Today I am exciting to be taking part in a blog tour for Please Pick Me by Reina Regina with Caffeine Book Tours! Thank you so much to Shealea for allowing me to take part!

Goodreads Synopsis

In a garden of a thousand other volumes, my little yellow book with its earnest plea and hopeful flowers on the cover sits waiting for you to pick it up. It’s got a heart it wants to give away.

These haikus, poems, and prose pieces are about

the miracle of being wanted back by someone we want,
the desperation of hoping they’ll fight harder when they waver,
the rawness of seeking reassurance that we are loved as we are, and
the tenderness we feel when we’re sending love out to others

—all those moments when we are making our need to be accepted plain and praying, please pick me.

This book was born after twenty-six years of learning that it’s okay to want to be wanted, that vulnerability is merely throwing open the gateway to honest connections, and that fighting to be loved the way you deserve is bravery and not weakness.

I hope you open it. I hope it invites you to be open too.

My Review

This poetry collection had me from the foreword. Reading those words from the author made me feel so connected to the poems before I even read them because I understood where the words were coming from. I knew I would be able to relate, and I did.

I really loved the longer poems in this collection. They were full of metaphors and vivid imagery, and I felt like the outside world didn’t exist when I was reading this. Some of my favorites are “date a boy who draws,” “sepsis,” and “care instructions.”

The parts that I couldn’t necessarily relate to in a literal sense, I still felt deeply connected to. I think that really shows that the author has a way with words!

Unfortunately, a few of the shorter poems didn’t resonate with me as much and they felt a bit more cliche.

That one fault aside, this was exactly the poetry collection I needed. It hit home in ways I never knew a book could, and it felt like some part that I’ve kept hidden inside me was finally able to come out.

if you are saying
“don’t ask me to choose
between you and her”
and you are notsaying
“I will choose you
no matter what”
then isit not quite clear
what your answer will be?

{ logically, not me}

Reina Regina

Also, the illustrations in this were so so beautiful. They really completed the collection.

Overall, this is a story for people who want to be chosen. About people who feel like they give so much love but do not get it in return. It’s for the people who just want to feel special and seen and appreciated. It was raw, honest, and beautifully written.

This short book is perfect for anyone looking to read a quick poetry collection that’s emotional and will hit you hard!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Do you read poetry? What are some of your favorite collections?

Don’t forget to check out this book if you’re interested in purchasing it—It’s out now!

5 Star Predictions for 2021 (#5)

Hello! This is my fifth installment of 5 star predictions! I’m almost done with reading the books from the last batch, but I thought I would do a post with my predictions for the new year!

This is also another way to get myself to read books I’ve been putting off reading, so I’m going to try to get to these early on in 2021. This is how I’m holing myself accountable. Anyway, let’s get right into it!

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

Boarding school horror story. What else is more me than this? I’ve also seen some pretty good reviews of this, so I’m really looking forward to reading it! I have an audiobook courtesy of Libro.fm, so I think this is going to be a great book to dive into soon!

Anxious People by Fredrik Bachman

I have had multiple books by Bachman on my TBR over the years, but I’ve never picked one up yet. I have heard phenomenal things about the author, and I’m expecting the book to be very poignant and beautifully written. All I know is that it is about a robber who holds a group of people hostage at an apartment open house! It sounds super intriguing, and I’m curious to know how the story will unfold!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

My sister got me this book for my birthday last month, and it has taken a lot of willpower not to have started it right away. I held myself back because I was still working through quite a few other books, and I don’t think I’ll have time to get through it this month either. BUT, that means it is a perfect read to start the new year off with, and I think that is exactly what I’m going to do! In case you don’t know, this is a story about a girl who makes a bargain with the devil to live forever in exchange for being forgotten by everyone she meets. Until she meets someone who remembers her…

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

I love a good YA mystery. And this is a Sherlock Holmes spinoff about the great-great-great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes. I’ve had this book on my TBR for a really long time, and it’s imperative that I get to it in 2021. I want to even finish the whole series, though I’m not sure when that will happen!

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

This is a book about a mysterious illness that causes people to fall asleep and not wake up. I don’t know much else besides that, but I have heard some very good things about it. I think it will be a strange and atmospheric novel, if the cover is any judge. My lovely friend Olivia gifted it to me, and I can not wait to pick it up!

Have you read any of these? What did you think? I would love to hear any opinions on them you have!

November 2020 Wrap Up

November was a good month. I somehow managed to read more books than I have since July, and I enjoyed pretty much all of them! I am back on a big reading kick, which is a really nice feeling.

In total, I read 11 books this month! Let’s take a look at what they were.

5 Stars

  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: The first book I read in November was also one of the best I read. It is a breathtaking story about twin sisters who run away from their small town to a big city and eventually split up. They are both “passing” as white, but one marries a darker skinned Black man, while the other pretends to be white. The story was so brilliantly weaved together, and I was so drawn in the entire time I was reading it. It truly left me speechless.
  • A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti: I was not expecting to actually get to this book this month, but once I started it, I finished it in a matter of hours. It is a story about a girl who decides to run across the world after experiencing an incredibly traumatic event a year ago. I was in awe of this story, and it was just so inspiring.
  • Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman: I have been a long time fan of Akemi Dawn Bowman’s books (Summer Bird Blue is one of my all-time favorites), so I was so happy to find this audiobook on Scribd. There is something so lyrical and beautiful about her writing, and this story was no different. It is about a girl who wants to be a trapeze artist, but her parents won’t allow it (despite owning their own circus). She runs away and joins a rivaling traveling circus instead. I ate this story up.

4 Stars

  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee: This was a multi-generational story about a family in Korea. It was really well written, and I feel like I learned so much about Korean and Japanese history by reading it. I did get a little lost at some points because there were a lot of characters to keep up with, but overall it was a phenomenal read.
  • Shit, Actually by Lindy West: I picked this book up on a whim from Libro.fm, and I was not at all expecting to love it as much as I did. I think I was just reading a lot of heavy books, and this provided me some relief from that. It’s basically just a commentary on popular films, and even though I haven’t even read half of them, hearing the author talk about them was so fun. It was wildly entertaining and made me laugh out loud a few times.
  • An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard: I wrote a review for this book, so I’m going to link it if you are interested in reading! I really enjoyed it, though, especially as someone who is not big on fantasy!

3 Stars

  • Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport: I am very interested in the idea of minimalism as a whole, and have recently been trying to live a simpler digital life as well. This book was good, but as someone who has been watching a lot of documentaries, Youtube videos, and listening to podcasts about this topic, it felt very basic. A lot of the Youtube videos and podcasts referred to this book, so I thought it would be more groundbreaking than it was.
  • Broken Things by Lauren Oliver: This was an enjoyable read. I have been putting this one off for a while, so I am glad that I finally got around to reading it. It’s a story about the murder of a young girl, and it was DARK and quite morbid. I didn’t really love the ending of it, which is what knocked it down a bit for me, but it was a good read!
  • The Museum of Us by Tara Wilson Redd: This was an interesting story that deals with mental illness in an interesting way. I was interested enough to continue reading it, but it felt a little off to me. I think it needed to be refined and edited a bit more in order for the story to flow better.

2.5 Stars

  • The House by Christina Lauren: The concept for this book was great- a house that’s alive? It was basically a romance version of Monster House. Except, the romance was bad, in my opinion, which is the most shocking part considering Christina Lauren are known for their romance books now! I just wish the overall execution of this were a bit better.

2 Stars

  • Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith: This is a book about a trans boy who goes to live with his aunt for the summer, and a girl who recently lost her sister. Unfortunately, the representation in this book is not done very well at all, according to own voice reviewers, and there were many parts of this story that did not sit well with me.

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts on them? Let me know down in the comments!

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard / Review

Many of you know that I am not a huge fantasy reader. I tend to stick to contemporaries anywhere from romances to thrillers to literary fiction.

However, I do enjoy a fantasy every now and then to break up my reading. I first heard of An Unkindness of Magicians a couple of years ago from Merphy Napier, who is a booktuber I really like! She mentioned that it was an adult standalone fantasy, and that peaked my interest for sure.

I’ve had it on my TBR for a while now, so I’m so happy that I finally got to it!

Goodreads Synopsis

There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.

Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.

Review

The Good:
  • The magic- I really enjoyed the magic system in this book. It was a lot darker than I had expected, but that made me love it even more. It was just really intricate in the way that it worked, especially once one of the twists was revealed.
  • Plot- As I mentioned, this book was a lot darker than I originally thought it would be, but it was oh so good. I really like any books with magical competitions, and this reminded me a bit of The Night Circus. I liked that there were a lot of hidden agendas for everything, and each chapter gave us a little bit more. And that ending? It absolutely destroyed me. Take that as you will.
  • The writing- I also liked the writing style of this book. It was easy to follow, but filled with very beautiful prose. There were quite a few quotes that really stood out to me from it, which is part of how I judge a book’s writing.

“Magic, at its heart, starts with sacrifice. You have to give up something to get something, and because magic is big, with all that it allows you access to, what you give up has to be big. It has to be meaningful.”

The Bad:
  • Character- I felt like the characters were lacking complexity for me. I love character driven novels, but this one was not the best at making me connect to the cast. There are a lot of characters introduced in the beginning, and I felt like they did not distinguish themselves enough. I got a bit lost and actually started the audiobook over when I was 3 chapters in because of that. However, once you got to know who each person was, I started to enjoy the story more.
  • Action- This was a slower moving story, which is something I tend to prefer. With this one, though, I wish that some of the challenges were described with more detail. I feel like they really could have been fleshed out to be more intense and action-packed. Those scenes were really underwhelming for me, which is unfortunate because I really liked the magic system and would have wanted to see more of it.
Overall:

This was a really solid, enjoyable read. I would definitely pick up more from this author in the future, and I’m really happy I read this one!

Rating: 4 stars

I would love to know if you’ve read this one and what your thoughts were! I don’t see nearly enough people talking about this book (or the author in general).

I’m also in need of more recs similar to this one, so if you have any, send them may way!

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon.