Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo // Review

I finally read it. After owning a copy of the book since release week (roughly a year ago from now), I finally picked up the book and read it!

And I’m so glad I did.

Ninth House was everything I was looking for. I know that it’s gotten many mixed reviews, and it’s definitely not a book for everyone, but I thought it was phenomenal.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

My Review:

Where do I even begin? First off, I went in with very few expectations for this book. I didn’t know much about it going into it, so it was really a pleasant surprise all the way through.

The book starts off very slow, and for the most part, it continued on with a slow pace for the majority of the story. That’s not to say that it was boring or lacking action, though. Quite the opposite actually. This book was full of mystery, murder, and morally grey characters. The entire time I was trying to figure out what was going to happen alongside our main character Galaxy “Alex” Stern.

Speaking of Alex, she is not a warm and kind character in the slightest. From the start, she is portrayed as cold and calculating, but I loved that about her. She had her guard up a lot, but once we found out why, you really start to feel for her.

Another character I loved was Pammie, or Dawes. We see her more towards the second half of the book, but she made a huge impression on me. She is quite the opposite of Alex, but the two made a great pair!

I also really loved learning more about Darlington. Although we do not see too much of him, he is central to the story.

The storyline was also so compelling. I didn’t want to put the book down, but at the same time, I needed to process certain scenes. Reading about the magic and the secret societies was really fascinating to me. I do wish we got to learn a little bit more about them and see more of the characters outside of Lethe. I’m hoping this gets fleshed out more in the next book!

The writing was also incredible. I loved the way we switched between timelines. It worked really well for this story, and it aided in many of the plot twists and shocking surprises we see.

Just a fair warning, this book is dark. Very dark. That is part of what drew me to it, but I know that not everyone is able to read books like this. It is gory and graphic, so proceed with caution.

TW: drug use, overdose, addiction, detailed rape (not romanticized, but pretty graphic), murder, gore, sexual assault, racism, and more that I may have forgotten.

All in all, I think this was a really solid adult debut from Bardugo. I am so excited to see where the second book goes!

I have now read all of Bardugo’s books (aside from her novella), and she is easily one of my favorite authors. The funny part is, it took me so long to finally pick up her books—it wasn’t until last year that I read Shadow and Bone, and I just finished SoC & CK this year!

That being said, she has pulled me in time and time again, and I will forever be reading her books.

If you’ve read this book, let me know what your thoughts were on it!

September Wrap Up 2020

Happy October! We are officially in ~spooky~ season and I could not be more excited about it.

Today I am here to share all of my reads from the last month with you! There are 7 books on this list, which is lower than my average for the second month in a row…but it doesn’t bother me at all! I have not been focusing on reading, so the fact that I read SEVEN whole books? Still incredible.

Just another reminder that it doesn’t matter how many books you read in a week, month, or year!

Let’s jump into the books now!

5 Stars

The Switch by Beth O’Leary: I wrote a whole review for this book, so check that out if you’re interested in my full thoughts! This was such a fun and entertaining story, though, and it made me super happy. I’d highly recommend it.

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole: This book is a complete opposite from the last one, but it was equally as amazing. I had no idea what turn this story would take, and it completely took me by surprise. It was absolutely thrilling.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson: I watched the movie Just Mercy a few months back, and I had the book on hold on Libby since. I finally got the book in September, and it was as incredible as I expected it to be. It is a non-fiction story about a lawyer that discusses mass incarceration, wrongful accusations, the death penalty, racism, and more. I learned so much and I think everyone would benefit from reading it.

4 Stars

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: This might be a shocker to a lot of you, but I actually didn’t give this book 5 stars. I think part of it was the hype. I was anticipating what was going to happen, and it ended up not being as overwhelming as I expected. Also, (and I may be in the minority here) I think it could have been about 200 pages shorter. But it was still an emotional and touching read!

All the Woods She Watches Over by Emily McCosh: This was a super fascinating short story collection! Emily is an authortuber and I saw that she was sending out ARCs of her book, so I requested one. It was very different from what I normally read (it was heavily sci-fi based), but I found it to be really interesting.

3 Stars

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson: This was a decent read. I think if you’re looking for a YA mystery, you’ll get that with this one! Personally, it just wasn’t as good as many other thrillers I’ve read (*cough* read Truly Devious *cough*), but I enjoyed it. I really liked the addition of some mixed media in it, and it was a fast read.

The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene: My last read of the month, and not my favorite, unfortunately. This was just too predictable for me, which is not something I want in a thriller. I want it to shock me, and this didn’t do that. But the characters & their backstories were really interesting, so I kept reading. It was just okay for me.

What did you think of my reads this month? How many of them have you read?

What was your favorite book you read in September?

The Switch by Beth O’Leary Review

I think I may have found a new favorite book of 2020…

I was approved for an ARC of The Switch by Beth O’Leary on Netgalley a few weeks ago, and I sort of requested it on a whim. Netgalley has just recently added audiobooks to its website, and I wanted to know how it would work. I saw that this one was available, so I got it.

I am so glad that I did.

Beth O’Leary is the author of The Flatshare, which you may have heard of. EVERYONE was gushing about it last year, though I still haven’t read it. Now, I definitely will.

Anyway, let’s talk about The Switch!

Goodreads Synopsis:

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?

My Review:

The first word that pops into my head when I think of this book is “fun.” It was just such an enjoyable experience. I loved the way this story was told: alternating points of view from our 20-something, work-obsessed main character Leena, and her newly divorced grandmother, Eileen, who is looking for some fun.

First off, Eileen was an amazing character. She was such a BADASS. After getting out of her long time marriage that she realized she was really unhappy in, she decides to give online dating a try with the help of her Leena and her friends. She was also super funny, and I was entertained by all of her chapters. It was interesting to read from the perspective of someone so much older than me, but definitely in a good way.

Leena, on the other hand, is someone who likes to occupy herself with work and doesn’t know how to slow down. Going away from the city and into the countryside allowed her a chance to reconnect with her mother and properly grieve the death of her sister. She had some ups and downs along the way (some of which made me a little frustrated), but I could understand where she was coming from. She felt really real to me, which is the most important aspect of characters to me in any novel.

The plot was also really joyous. There is a grumpy old neighbor, a funny neighborhood ‘watch’ group, a dog who I fell in love with, and more. The cast of characters were all really great, and the story was so light-hearted.

I know I keep saying that this book was really joyous, but there were certainly many heavier topics discussed in it as well (TW for death of a family member, grief, depression, and more). What I really liked about this book was that it had depth to it without being heavy. The story wasn’t about the sad parts, but more so about the characters getting passed these things.

This book definitely got me out of my slump, as it was a really fast-paced story. The audiobook narration was also so wonderful. I highly recommend picking this book up if you are looking for something happy and hopeful.

Have you read this book? Or have you read The Flatshare? Let me know in the comments!

August Wrap Up 2020

The biggest lesson I learned in August is that just because I am capable of reading 10+ books every month, that doesn’t mean I have to.

I have consistently been reading quite a lot of books each month, mainly because I had a lot more time this year with, you know, the pandemic happening. But I was starting to feel burned out, and I wasn’t enjoying my time reading. It felt more like a task to check off my to-do list every day instead of a hobby I enjoy.

In August, I only read 6 books, which is a GREAT amount of books to read. That was something I reminded myself of this month. Even if I had read less than that, I still would have been really happy with the number. The number of books you read each month does not make you more or less of a reader.

Anyway, let’s take a look at what I read and my thoughts!

5 stars

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo: This is my only 5 star book of the month but it is very well deserved! After reading this book, I realized that I definitely care more about the story, characters, and world of the Grisha trilogy and this duology opposed to the Six of Crows duology. Don’t get me wrong, the latter is really good, but it just doesn’t give me the same joy that Nikolai, Zoya, Nina, Genya, Tamar, Tolya, and the others do!

4.5 stars

The Black Madonna of Derby by Joanna Czechowska: I’ve already talked about this in a review post I published at the beginning of the month, but I really enjoyed this! It was one of the first times that I related to a character’s ethnicity in a book because I’ve never looked out for a book with Polish main characters before!

4 stars

Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott: Last month, I read Little Women and absolutely loved it! This month, I read the 2nd of four books, and it was also a really great read! I definitely preferred the first book (or the first half, if you have an edition that combines both), which is why I gave this one a bit of a lower rating. However, it was definitely a heartwarming story, and I love these characters so much!

The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington: Sleep is so so important to me, and when I listened to a podcast episode of Sakara life with Arianna Huffington where she talked about her story with sleep and hustle culture, I knew I wanted to read her book! This is a nonfiction book that really dives into the importance of sleep. It is packed with so much scientific information, as well as anecdotes from celebrities that show what lack of sleep can lead to. The one thing I wish this book did more of was talk about how to get better sleep and how to create a good sleep routine. However, I still really enjoyed learning more about the topic, and I think it is worth the read, especially if you are someone who consistently gets under 8 hours of sleep.

2 stars

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab: Okay, so I know I talked about this series before, and I gave it some high praise. But…the more I read this one, the more disinterested I was. I really did not care at all about any of the characters, so I kept zoning out of the story. I think I tried to give in to the hype when I read the first two books, but I realized that I actually didn’t like them as much as I thought. It’s not that the books are bad, I just don’t think they are for me. I really love Schwab’s writing, though, and I think that her other books may suit my tastes better. It’s unfortunate, but I had to be honest with myself!

1 star

Just Friends by Dyan Sheldon: I finished this one on the very last day of the month, and unfortunately it was my least favorite of all. The writing felt very juvenile, the characters were not well-developed, the story was just a repetitive cycle, and the ending was incredibly rushed. I don’t want to go on about it for too long, but I just really didn’t like it. Luckily, I finished it in just about 4 hours, so it was a really quick read. Otherwise I would have DNF’d it.

How many books did you read in August? Have you read any of the ones I talked about? Let me know!

Fall TBR 2020

Hello everyone! Today’s TBR post is a little different from the rest of the one’s I’ve done this year. I am making a TBR for the entire Autumnal season rather than a monthly post! Mostly, this is because I am going back to school in a week, and I don’t know how often I’ll be coming home and changing my books. This way, I can read whatever ones I have on hand without stressing out about my TBR. Plus, I’m going to be doing less reading while taking classes, so it just makes more sense to do this sort of post.

First, as you may know, each month I read a book picked from my e-book TBR jar, so I decided to pick three books now rather than one!

September’s pick: The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

First up we have this mystery/thriller that sounds super interesting to me. It’s told from alternating points of view, and it’s all about a family keeping secrets. I don’t want to say or know too much because for this genre I feel like that’s the best way to go into it. But, I am excited to read this!

October’s pick: Instructions for a Funeral by David Means

This book is actually a short story collection, so hopefully it’ll be a faster read for me! This one has some good ratings on Goodreads, so I am hoping to enjoy at least half of the stories in this. Again, I don’t know too much about this one, but I received it from Netgalley a while ago, so I would like to finally check it off my list!

November’s pick: The Museum of Us by Tara Wilson Redd

Finally, this book is a YA contemporary that deals with mental health. The synopsis is very short, so I don’t know too much about it. However, from the first few reviews, it looks like it is a really beautifully written story, and I am looking forward to reading it.

General Fall TBR:

As far as the rest of my TBR, here is a list of the books I want to read. There are 12 of them, so approximately 4 per month, plus my three e-books, making it 5 books per month total!

I’m not going to go into detail for these, as there are a lot, so you’ll have to come back for my wrap-ups to see how I feel about them!

Adult / New Adult

The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennett

The Switch by Beth O’Leary

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Young Adult

Something like Gravity by Amber Smith

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti

Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

The House by Christina Lauren

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Where Dreams Descend Blog Tour // Review

Hello and welcome to another review post! Today I am sharing my thoughts on the debut novel ‘Where Dreams Descend’ by Janella Angeles! Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for sending me an ARC of this to review!*

The book comes out TODAY, the day you are reading this, so check it out if you are interested!

*All opinions are my own!

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Review:

So to start off, I just want to say the aesthetics of this book? Phenomenal. The synopsis was SO intriguing to me as someone who loves stories about magicians/circuses (The Night Circus, Caraval- both favorites of mine). This book is supposed to be inspired by Moulin Rouge and Phantom of the Opera, both of which I know nothing about (oops 🙊). BUT, if those are things you are interested in, this book might be right up your alley!

I definitely think a lot of people are going to absolutely adore this book. From the minute I saw the cover art, I knew the story was going to be dreamy.

I think the best way for me to share my thoughts of this book are through pros and cons, so it’s easier to understand! Let’s start off with the good.

Things I LOVED:

  • The atmosphere: The beginning of this book is very ominous. The reader is filled with tons of questions right off the bat. A few chapters in, we are transported to a new location and it was really well described. I was so curious the entire time about what this place was, and I was itching to learn more!
  • The feminism: Our main character, Kallia, is strong and fierce. Female magicians are not welcomed in the world she lives in, so Kallia is put at a disadvantage right from the start of the magic competition. BUT, she does not get intimidated by the men who are clearly trying to sabotage her performances, and she does not quit. She stands up to them the entire time, which I admired a lot.
  • The plot twists: There were quite a few plot twists in this story that I did not see coming (maybe if you are familiar with PotO or MR you wouldn’t be as surprised), and it really added to my enjoyment. I adore plot twists in books- without them, I feel like stories are much too bland.
  • The ending: My favorite part of this story, and what probably ended up saving the book for me, was the ending. It leaves off at just the right part- I want to know what happens next and I can’t wait to read the second book now. This is a duology, and the second installment will be released next year!

Things I DIDN’T LOVE:

  • The writing: This story felt quite choppy in a few places, and it didn’t always make sense to me. I was getting lost by it. It felt like it was strung together a little awkwardly, especially at parts where the POV changed. I don’t know if this was due to the e-ARC formatting, or if it was done purposefully, but it threw me off a bit. I think it needed a few more editing passes to feel completely finished.
  • The middle: This book was very slow-paced, and I think it could have been shortened quite a bit. This is saying a lot, coming from me, a person who loves slow-paced books with lots of description. This one was just too slow. I feel like the book focused a little too much on having beautiful prose instead of explaining the plot. There needs to be a good balance of the two!
  • The character and story development: On top of that, the characters didn’t feel fully developed to me, either. Also, I feel like too many things were left unexplained. The magic system could have been so interesting, but instead, I was left really confused by it- especially the mirrors (you’ll understand after reading it). I’m hoping that all will be explained in the next book, which is what I’m really holding out hope for.
  • The romance: There is a love triangle in this story, though I don’t fully understand it, either. It felt a little forced, in my opinion, and again, I feel as though it needed some more development. I think in book two it will be explored more, and if Kallia ends up with who I hope she does, then this could turn into something I like!

All in all, I think this duology has a lot of potential, and many others have adored this story, so it is worth checking out if the synopsis interests you!

My rating: 3/5 stars

Have you read this book? Are you planning to? Let me know all of your thoughts in the comments!

Again, thank you so much to Wednesday books for providing me with an ARC.

*New* Five Star Predictions + Update! (#4)

I can’t believe I’m already doing my fourth ‘five star predictions post.’ I might finally be getting better at this, but I don’t want to jinx myself with this next set!

Anyway, I’m going to quickly go over the books from my last predictions post, and then share 5 more predictions!

Previous Predictions:

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power: This was absolutely without a doubt a 5 star read for me. I have an entire review post up for this one if you want to check it out, but it really did exceed my expectations. Beautiful. Phenomenal. Amazing.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: Another 5 star read! Woohoo! I’m already doing better than my first predictions post (oops). I really knew I would love this one because Six of Crows was such a great read, and the only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was because I wanted to better know the characters. I definitely got that from this second book!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: The first one I got wrong. I gave this book 3 stars only. I just wasn’t a big fan of it, and it was a huge disappointment to me because I know so many people loved it.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan: Another loss here. This one was just not a good book to me at all. I was so bored by it, and I did not enjoy the story. I gave it 2 stars, and I don’t want to talk more about it, but it just wasn’t for me!

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: Luckily, we’re ending on a positive note! I gave this one five stars, which doesn’t surprise me at all. I absolutely loved Little Fires Everywhere, and I knew that Celeste Ng would not disappoint with this one.

I got 3/5! Not too bad, if I say so myself. Should I aim for 4/5 in the next round?

New Predictions:

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti: I have been wanting to read this book for far too long, and I’m very embarrassed that I have not yet read it (especially since I have an ARC 😭). I have heard nothing but amazing things about this one, though, and it is supposed to be about a heavier topic. If you know me, you know that I love hard-hitting contemporaries, so I am looking forward to it.

Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith: Full disclosure- this book is on here solely because of the cover. In all honesty, I don’t know what it’s about at all. BUT, I have heard some great things about it, and every time I see it on my bookshelf, I feel drawn to it. I’ve been scared to pick it up because of this reason, though, so this is my way of forcing myself to finally pick it up.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo: I have now read all of Leigh’s published works (not including her novellas) except for this book! I am SO excited for it, especially considering that I have given all of her books high ratings. Plus, dark academia is totally my vibe, and I’ve been wanting to read more of it.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green: This book has such a high rating on Goodreads, and everyone I know who’s read it has LOVED it. I am very excited to pick it up, especially because I know it has to do with social media. That is a topic I have been increasingly interested in reading because I have really been seeing how social media affects me personally. I think it will be both an enjoyable and thought-provoking read!

You Have a Match by Emma Lord: Last year, I read Emma Lord’s ‘Tweet Cute,’ and I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of her next release! I absolutely loved her debut book, and I have such a good feeling about this one. I just know it will be such a cute, swoon-worthy read, and sometimes you just need one of those!

Please let me know if you’ve read any of these and what your thoughts were! I’m really hoping that at least 3 of these are 5-star reads, but obviously I hope all 5 of them are.

I can not wait to get into these soon, and hopefully give you all another update in a couple of months!

What are some of your 5 star predictions?

Folklore Book Tag

I have not stopped listening to Folklore since it came out. And listen. I was never a huge TS fan. I’ve always enjoyed her music, but I wouldn’t consider myself part of the fandom or anything. Then, Lover came out, and so many people on my Twitter timeline were talking about it. Naturally, I listened to it, and I fell in love with so many of the songs.

But, folklore??? This is a whole new level of perfection, and I think it may be one of my favorite albums of all time (and definitely Taylor’s best). I’m in it now. I’m part of the fandom, okay? Y’all converted me.

I know this post is a little late, but I had other posts to get up first, so I apologize. But it’s never too late to gush about these songs, so it’s fine.

I was tagged by Ruby, who is such a light! Thank you so much for the tag 🥰 And thank you to Isla, who created it!! I am in love with it and all of the questions!

The Rules:

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

The Questions:

*I tried picking books that I don’t talk about too often for this tag, too!

the 1 // a book with an ending that left you speechless

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid: Wow, this book was phenomenal! I just talked about it in my July wrap-up, but it truly was amazing. The entire book left me speechless, to be quite honest. I had no idea where the story was going, and it really took me by surprise in the best way possible. I’m not going to go into details because you absolutely should pick it up for yourself! And you can read it along with the Unfriendly Black Hotties Book Club because it’s their August pick!

cardigan // a book that makes you feel happy and sad all at once

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid: This book is definitely a favorite of mine, and I will be re-visiting it soon. It tells lots of great stories and is filled with adventure.

But the entire book is really sad throughout, which is why this is the perfect answer to this question! I’m sure you’ve heard lots about this book before, but if you haven’t read it yet, you definitely should!

the last great american dynasty // a book with a fascinating and well-told story

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson: I don’t talk about this series enough to be honest! But it was so interesting, and the whole thing left me wanting more. It is crafted really well, and I think it is one of the best YA mysteries out there.

The entire series was great, too, which is hard to find in books! I usually end up really disliking at least one book, but that was not the case at all here. Each one really added to the story and it wrapped up nicely.

exile // a book you wish you hadn’t read

Sociable by Rebecca Harrington: There are a lot of books I could have chosen for this one, so I’m just going with my latest 1 star read.

This was an ARC I received quite a while ago, but I just finally read it last month (oops). I could have saved some time by not reading it, I can say that for sure.

my tears ricochet // a book that made you cry uncontrollably 

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman: This is a book about a girl dealing with the grief of losing her sister, and if that isn’t enough to make you cry, I don’t know what will.

I was honestly in tears for the majority of the book. The writing was also so beautiful, and I really love this author.

mirrorball // a book that feels like it was written just for you

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: I know I said I was trying to pick books that I don’t talk about a lot for this tag, but I just couldn’t not mention this book! The entire time I was reading this book, I really felt like I was in a trance. I adored every single thing about it, and the whole book is really an ode to storytelling. It made me fall in love with writing even more.

seven // a childhood book that makes you feel nostalgic

Judy Moody Books by Megan McDonald: I thought about my answer to this one for a while because I have a lot of childhood favorites (The Magic Treehouse, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Junie B. Jones, A Series of Unfortunate Events, etc.).

But my official pick is the Judy Moody series! I loved so many of these books, and I can picture a few of them on my shelves so clearly. It just warms my heart when I think about these books (and yes, I’ve seen the movie). The two pictured above are definitely my favorites!

august // a book that reminds you of summer

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood: I read this book a few years ago, and I adored it! It has ‘summer’ in the title, so obviously it is the perfect choice!

It was fun to follow the lives of four siblings because not many books do that. I need to pick up more by Jessica Spotswood because this book was a really great read!

this is me trying // a book that deals with loneliness & sadness 

How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow: This book was so heartbreaking but beautiful. I listened to the audiobook, and the whole time I was so immersed in this story.

It is definitely a book about loneliness and grief and friendship and pain. Also, the cover is really stunning.

Illicit affairs // a book that gave you a book hangover

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas: This book was just SO. GOOD. I think I might have even loved it more than THUG, which is hard to believe! I read it fairly soon after it came out I believe, and I still think about it to this day!

I don’t know how Angie will top either of her two books, but I know she will, which is incredible to me.

invisible string // a book that came into your life at the exact right time

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone: I read this book when I was about 14 I think, and it really changed my world. It was the first time I saw myself represented in a book (OCD), and I related to the main character so much. I also think it’s what got me into poetry, and I will forever be thankful for that because poetry changed my life for the better. This book holds such a special place in my heart!

mad woman // a book with a female character you adore

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson: I LOVE LIZ LIGHTY SO MUCH AND I ALWAYS WILL. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

epiphany// a book that was haunting

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware: This was a phenomenal read and it really had a haunting vibe to it! It takes place in a smart house, and the twists and turns make it a super chilling read- which is one of my favorite types of stories! It was a really well done retelling of a classic, too!

betty // a book couple that fills you with yearning

The Diviners by Libba Bray: There were many couples in this series that I adored, but I’m going to point out one specifically that made my heart soar!

Mini spoiler- Proceed at your own risk!I completely loved Memphis and Theta together!! They made me so happy, and it was just so wholesome. I was so glad that Theta had found someone who cared for her so much, especially after the toxic/abusive relationship she had left.

peace // a book character you’d die for because you love them so much

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett: The main characters in this book, Theodora & Huck, completely stole my heart! They were both such amazing characters. I say this every time I talk about Jenn Bennett, but she really does write the best characters. They are so well fleshed out, and I feel like I really know them!

hoax // a book that you thought you were going to love but didn’t

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman: This book was a huge disappointment for me because I was expecting to love it, but it fell so flat 😭 I was hoping for a relatable main character plus a fun romance, and this was just…not that at all. There was no character development, and the romance was lacking completely.

I tag anyone who loves Folklore and wants to do this tag! It was such a fun one :)

Let me know what you thought of my answers & tell me what your favorite song (or songs, I know it’s hard to choose) is from the album!

August TBR 2020

Welcome to another TBR post! This month, just like last month, my TBR is going to be quite short. That is for a couple of reasons. First, I plan on reading some of my longer books this month, which means that I won’t be able to read as many books. Second, I want to slow down my reading a bit to focus on some other things, especially since I’m going back to school in a month. I’ve already read around 80 books this year, which is really great, but there’s no need for me to read so fast, so I want to take it slow for now!

Anyway, let’s just get into the books!

Just Friends by Dyan Sheldon

This is my e-book pick from my TBR jar for the month! I honestly don’t know what to expect from it, and I have no idea what it’s about, but it’s been on my TBR for a long time now. I’m looking forward to finally knocking it off of my list.

If I’m being real truthful, though, I don’t really have too much interest in reading this one, and I have a feeling I won’t like it. I want to at least give it a try, though.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

I got this book on libby finally- which means I absolutely must read it this month! It’ll probably be one of the first books I read, actually. I’m really excited about it, and I’ve heard some great things.

I’ve really missed reading about Nikolai, even though I didn’t really love him as much as everyone else seems to. Maybe this book will make me care for him a bit more?? I don’t know, we’ll see!

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Yes, I’ve decided to make this month the one that I conquer this book. I realized that I’m going back to school in September, and I don’t want to read this book there, surrounded by my housemates, because they’ll then witness me sobbing for hours straight (which I’m expecting to do from this book). So, to avoid that, I figured I should probably get to it now!

That way, I can cry from the comfort of my own home. I am worried about this book because of it’s size, too. It’s so long and intimidating, but apparently I’m forcing myself to get over that fear this month.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Everyone has been yelling at me to read this book and finish the trilogy! I hear ya, and I’m going to do just that!! I was able to get the audiobook of this one, which means it should hopefully be a decently fast read. I honestly can’t remember how the last book ended, so I’m going to have to read an online recap before then, but I really have loved the first two books. Maybe this one will be my favorite!

What books are on your TBR for the month? Have you read any of the ones I’m planning to? Tell me all of your thoughts in the comments, I want to know!

The Black Madonna of Derby Review // Blog Tour

Hello and welcome to my surprise bonus post for the week! Today I am so excited to be doing a blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources for The Black Madonna of Derby by Joanna Czechowska*. Thank you so much to Rachel for having me on :)

*All opinions are my own!

Synopsis:

During and after the Second World War, 200,000 Poles were given leave to remain in the UK as thanks for their help during the conflict-this book is a fictional account of just one of those families.Set during the 1960s and1970s,The Black Madonna of Derby traces the story of the Baran family living in a provincial town in England. Their seemingly ordinary existence hides secrets of past betrayal, madness, and tragedy.

The story focuses on three generations: the elderly grandmother whose proud Polish patriotism hides dark events from the past that affect the present, the mother whose tries to meld her past life in war-torn Poland and Germany with her new life in England and the granddaughter who lives a double life culturally and linguistically-Polish at home and English outside.

The swinging sixties in London is vividly recreated, as is the hardship of life under communism in thePoland of that time. This book is unique in that there are no other novels dealing with the story of second generation Poles in the UK. It is a story that deserves to be told, a story of a group of people who have had little attention in the literature. Listen to what they have to say.

Review:

I don’t usually gravitate toward historical works, but when I saw that this one was about a Polish family, I knew I had to check it out! As someone whose entire family was born in Poland, and who attended Polish school for 12 or so years, I definitely wanted to read about that perspective because I actually haven’t read any fiction books with Polish main characters (that I know of).

Immediately, there was so much that I recognized. From the food, to the Polish words, to the kids attending Polish school, among other things! I also loved that it was a multigenerational story, and so we got to see a bit of everyone’s history. It was so fascinating to learn!

One fault that I had with the book was that it took me a little while to get into. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, and I was getting a bit confused here and there. However, about an hour into the audiobook, I finally felt comfortable with everyone, and could differentiate the storylines.

Once I was fully immersed in this story, I did not want to put it down. I related to each of the characters in different ways, and it almost felt like I was a part of their family myself. This book was filled with tons of twists and turns- there were a lot of things that I didn’t see coming. This story was so layered and filled with history and pain and hurt.

It was honestly one of the most emotional reads of the year for me, and I will be thinking about it for a really long time, I can already tell!

My only other issue was with the narrator- I felt like she didn’t really do the book justice, as it felt a little too bland at times that should have been read with more enthusiasm. Also, some of her pronunciation of the Polish words or names wasn’t too great, so I wish that a Polish narrator had been chosen.

Final Thoughts:

This book truly deserves a piece of my heart and will be living in my mind rent free. I loved it.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

If you want to purchase the book for yourself, you can do so here!

What is your nationality or ethnicity? Have you ever read any books with characters with the same background as you?