Author: Jessica S. Olson
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

Myra Whitlock has a gift. One many would kill for.

She’s an artist whose portraits alter people’s real-life bodies, a talent she must hide from those who would kidnap, blackmail, and worse in order to control it. Guarding that secret is the only way to keep her younger sister safe now that their parents are gone.

But one frigid night, the governor’s wife discovers the truth and threatens to expose Myra if she does not complete a special portrait that would resurrect the governor’s dead son. Desperate, Myra ventures to his legendary stone mansion.

Once she arrives, however, it becomes clear the boy’s death was no accident. Someone dangerous lurks within these glittering halls. Someone harboring a disturbing obsession with portrait magic.

Myra cannot do the painting until she knows what really happened, so she turns to the governor’s older son, a captivating redheaded poet. Together, they delve into the family’s most shadowed affairs, racing to uncover the truth before the secret Myra spent her life concealing makes her the killer’s next victim.


Review

When I guessed what Owlcrate’s March pick would be, I was excited. I was very much looking forward to this book. Let me preface this by saying I think the book was good, but it wasn’t blow me away good. This is a book that was a solid three stars; neither bad nor super good. If I’d read this before buying it, it wouldn’t have been a book I bought. Checked out from the library, for sure! So…where did this book go wrong? 

The inspiration for this book was clearly Dorian Gray. I mean magic portraits that fix people? But I did love the interpretation of that into magic for this book. What I would have liked more of is worldbuilding. My mind bounced between this being a real world with magic, or a fantasy world. I would have liked a better setting to set the tone and to understand the world a bit better. 

I liked Lucy and Myra’s relationship throughout the book, I thought it was one of the more powerful components of the book. I also felt August’s anxiety intensely, and when they were talking about Lucy’s chronic illness, I understood that too. So there was some excellent representation in this book. (I really kind of want to know what Lucy’s illness actually was – it sounds a lot like my Crohn’s Disease). 

What I didn’t love was the romance in this book. It felt underdeveloped to me compared to the sisterly and family relationships. I could have lived without it, as I didn’t feel that August and Myra had any chemistry whatsoever. And that weird love triangle? Messy! And definitely did not enjoy that part of the book. 

Maybe it’s because I’m an adult, I had pretty much figured out what was going on from the start. Which isn’t always a bad thing; however in this case there wasn’t enough depth to the other parts of the book to make me think that it was a great book. 

Finally, I found the writing clunky. It did not flow smoothly to me, and I felt that we were ricocheted around. The writing was stilted to me. Overall, I just felt that the writing didn’t work. 

This book was not a bad book, but it also isn’t one I’d be desperate to read again. This book will be enjoyed by people who are fond of gothic mysteries, as well as fantasy.  

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Author: Alice Oseman
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: romance, LGBTQ+
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

This is the funny, honest, messy, completely relatable story of Georgia, who doesn’t understand why she can’t crush and kiss and make out like her friends do. She’s surrounded by the narrative that dating + sex = love. It’s not until she gets to college that she discovers the A range of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum — coming to understand herself as asexual/aromantic. Disrupting the narrative that she’s been told since birth isn’t easy — there are many mistakes along the way to inviting people into a newly found articulation of an always-known part of your identity. But Georgia’s determined to get her life right, with the help of (and despite the major drama of) her friends. 


Review

First off, this is the first novel by Alice Oseman I’ve read. I’ve been reading her Heartstopper for years now. This book called to me because it had ace rep, and I’ve yet to find a book that does ace rep right. Or the learning about themselves right. Especially since so many of them are set in high school, and I didn’t find that relatable at all. This one did.

I’m ace – and I used to say biromantic. But after this book it has me questioning my own identity – am I actually aro too? 

Georgia was a relatable character for me. Like her, I was into the idea of romance/love/sex – but not necessarily featuring me. It was interesting that that was incorporated into the book because I felt that in my bones. I was like yes, this is me. Then the aspects of “friends” or family questioning if just because you haven’t experienced something yet, how do you know if you don’t want it? Georgia says she feels it, which I do too. For me, her realization that there was a sexuality beyond LGBT was important. I didn’t discover ace until college. It wasn’t even on my radar. But once I learned about it and researched it, like Georgia, I couldn’t believe it was true…that I could be this. Wasn’t there something wrong with me? I loved that Sunil was there to support Georgia; I loved that he helped her and wasn’t condescending. 

This book also brings up the important topic of denying ace and aro people space in queer spaces. Sunil’s passion about it was important to me. The thought of never belonging is terrifying. 

I also appreciated how Oseman worked in friendship. Because friendships are so important, and I loved that Georgia realized her friendships could be just as satisfying as romance. For anyone that should be important. 

I enjoyed Oseman’s relatable writing and the book flowed well for me. The chapters were short and self-contained which made the pace of the book go by quickly. 

I loved all the characters in this book. I wanted to cuddle them all and tell them I loved them. I wish more books depicted being ace like this. 

And as I mentioned in the beginning of the review, it’s made me rethink who I am now…and how variable being ace/aro is. 

Loveless was a wonderful book and I would absolutely recommend it to everyone. 

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Author: Jennifer Saint
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: fantasy, mythology
Age Group: adult
ARC?: yes

The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods.

Clytemnestra
The sister of Helen, wife of Agamemnon – her hopes of averting the curse are dashed when her sister is taken to Troy by the feckless Paris. Her husband raises a great army against them, and determines to win, whatever the cost.

Cassandra
Princess of Troy, and cursed by Apollo to see the future but never to be believed when she speaks of it. She is powerless in her knowledge that the city will fall.

Elektra
The youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, Elektra is horrified by the bloodletting of her kin. But, can she escape the curse, or is her own destiny also bound by violence?


BLOG TOUR!

I’m so delighted to bring you my review of Elektra by Jennifer Saint! Thank you so much to Flatiron Books for inviting me on the tour! Ariadne was one of my favorite retellings — so I was beyond delighted to be offered this chance. As some of you may know I got my undergrad degree in Classics and History. I focused a lot on women in history as well as queerness. This book was such a perfect rendition of taking a new perspective on the classic myths that we all know (and may or may not love). Without further ado, I bring to you my review of Elektra.


Review

Elektra is the stunning story of three women – Clytemnestra, Elektra and Cassandra. Saint takes the stories and myths about these women and brings them to life. She gives them agency in a way that the myths never did. They become real to the imagination, and you can feel for them. It is an intense book in many ways. 

If you’re familiar with Greek mythology you know about the Trojan War, and you know about Agamemnon. You know what happens to all the characters in the book. Still, reading it from a different perspective, of what was happening while the men were away was amazing. 

Saint infused her characters with so much life and personality they come off the page. In the Greek stories they often depict the women as one of two ways: traitorous or the perfect woman. There is no inbetween. And more often than not, even if the woman is perfect there is still some issue; that she is betrayed by the men. 

Notably, both Helen (who is in this book) and Clytemnestra who are sisters are perceived as betrayers in Greek myth. Which is interesting when you compare it to what Agamemnon and Menelaus did. 

This book had so much heart in it. There is one part that absolutely shredded me; I had to go get a tissue and take a deep breath before I continued reading the book. It was impactful in a way I think it wasn’t in the original myth. 

Just for some background in this book Elektra is devoted to her father. Clytemnestra hates Agamemnon for what he did. Had started hating him even before. And Cassandra is just doing her own thing. The relationship between Clytemnestra and Elektra is fascinating. I felt that Elektra was supposed to stand for how people were supposed to perceive Agamemnon, and Clytemnestra was supposed to be how he really was. Cassandra is seeing the war firsthand, and we get her perspective, a woman’s perspective on the war. 

Saint’s writing is amazing. I was lulled into this story, and it reads with such a cadence. There is no wasted part of the story. I felt every piece included was intentional. Saint deftly weaves in the relationships and family relationships with the myths they come from. She manages to explain how Helen and Clytemnestra are related to Penelope, Odysseus’ wife. She does this with other characters throughout the book. 

Placed together, it is visually stunning to read. It is feminist, as it takes myths written and retold by men and gives women their agency and their strength back. It gives them their own stories beyond just being the “betrayer” or the “woman waiting”. This book was about family, about grief and about love. 

I absolutely loved this book, even if it tore my heart out. 

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Author: Lexi Ryan
Series: These Hollow Vows
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: young adult/new adult
ARC?: yes

Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.

Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.

Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.


Review

How does one rate this book? Honestly, I am struggling with it. This book was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Between the gorgeous cover and the description I thought it was going to be a shoo in for a top five book of the year. I should know better though – and I’m going to write this review a bit differently because I feel that I can’t divide it up into the sections I normally do. Instead I’m going to divide it up by beginning, middle and end for this review. And I had opinions on all three parts. To sum it up: each part had a different rating for me.

The beginning, or I should say, the part I had the issue with.

Yeah, so in short. The beginning. I feel like parts of the beginning were totally unnecessary to the story overall. I don’t mind a slow start, and it wasn’t even that slow. We find Brie in the middle of a heist. All well and good, but then something else happens and I feel the pace got thrown off. I know the beginning is setting up the rest of the book for what happens next, but I felt it should have been much more concise. Her sister, Jas, being stolen. I know Ryan was trying to set up the sister’s relationship and their friendship with Sebastian, but I felt those parts were drawn out. Honestly, the beginning was an unfortunate two stars for me. I almost gave up, but I decided to push through to the middle. I told myself if I didn’t like the middle then I would DNF and just be disappointed. Honestly, I have almost nothing to say about the beginning because it felt…irrelevant to the whole story. So, moving on to the middle part.

the middle part in which it does get better…sort of.

So, yes, it did get better in the middle. We find out who the two love interests are. And me, I always go for the bad boy. So Finn it is. Or…is it Bash? Honestly, I don’t know who the truly bad boy is here. Both? Neither? Well, we get the Seelie and Unseelie courts and how Brie must find three lost artifacts to free her sister from the clutches of the evil Unseelie king. Yep – find the three artifacts and overcome the challenge of learning her new magic. Like I said, my interest and the pace picked up in this part. In a way, parts of the plot were “eh” to me. Again, I felt bored at times. Like, Bash’s parts…I wasn’t interested! I found him boring. Which I know I’m not supposed to, but all I wanted to do were skip those parts.

Also the whole marriage thing…interesting. And the bond…interesting. I kept wondering where that was going.

Suffice to say, it held my interest enough that I wanted to continue the book and find out what happened. A solid three star middle. It redeemed itself!

part, the end of the book

Or, in other words, the last fifty pages is where it got really good. I’m a sucker for Finn. I’m Team Finn. Bash can jump off a cliff.

ANYWAYS, like the end was where I was like OH I see why it was said to be like The Cruel Prince. I get it, I get it. Those last pages were what made me LOVE the book. It was a stunning turn of events and had me with my mouth open. (I will admit, I had sort of guessed it, but still…the run up and reveal of secrets was great).

Thus, the last part got four or five stars. I can’t math, so I just said I’m giving it four stars. Close to 3.5, but four because the ending knocked it out of the park.

In case you were wondering as well, I didn’t realize it was a fairytale retelling, but it had moments of what I felt like were a combination of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast woven in.

All in all, I am excited for the sequel.

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I clearly jinxed myself last month when I said I “ONLY” read 17 books. 😑Because you know how many I read this month?

Yeah, it wasn’t 17.

It was 12. Whyyyyyyyy? I bemoan. I have SO MANY books I need to read, and I will never be able to read everything unless I keep up my pace. Urgh. I can’t even explain why my reading habits have fallen off. I think it was just another slumpy month. I’m planning on reading some different things to see if I can get myself out of this slump.

Plus, I’ve got The Jasmine Throne to read for my book club this month. Don’t forget, you can always click the link in the navigation bar to head to the book club! 😁 I am excited to read this with a great group of people. It’ll be fun!

So let’s get down to what I read this month:


Read Books

AuthorTitlePublish DateRating
Alice OsemanLoveless20214
Jessica S OlsonA Forgery of Roses20223
Roshani ChokshiThe Bronzed Beasts20213.5
Stacy WillinghamA Flicker in the Dark20224
Maggie StiefvaterThe Raven Boys20125

Read ARCs

AuthorTitlePublish DateRating
Ava WilderHow To Fake It In HollywoodJune 14, 20223
Kelly deVosGo Hunt MeJune 14, 20223
Tiffany MeuretLittle BirdJune 7, 20224
A.C. WiseHookedJuly 12, 20223
Catherine DoyleTwin CrownsMay 17, 20225
Jennifer SaintElektraMay 7, 20225
Lana HarperFrom Bad to CursedMay 17, 20224
Wendii McIverRelic and RuinJune 7, 2022DNF

ARCs Recieved

  • Little Bird by Tiffany Meuret
  • Relic and Ruin by Wendii McIver
  • Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos
  • These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall
  • Hooked by A.C. Wise
  • A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows

Reading Stats

I decided to work on my sheets skills and have started tracking my reading. So here are some stats pulled from my spreadsheet.

Total ReadBooks BoughtCost
1213$282. 93
Yeah…that is definitely not my $80 book budget.

Format

Rating

Audience

Genre

In an unsurprising turn of events, fantasy was my most read genre. Although my horror quota was in second place with paranormal/supernatural! So that was really cool to see! Everything else is about the same! Once again, no big surprise, I was evenly matched in Adult vs YA reads, and 3 stars is my favorite rating. This month I read mostly ARCs. I wasn’t behind, but I did want to get ahead so I could get the reviews posted when they need to go up.


On the Blog

What, oh what, did I post this month? I started a new blog series entitled “Throwback Thursdays”. Never said I was catchy! This new series features old books that I’ve read as well as user suggestions! I feature some of my old instagram posts as well! It’s a little look back! You never know, you might find some great “new” books in these posts!


Around and About

Whew! That was a bit, and if you’ve stuck around this long, thank you! 💟 I finished my grad school semester, and my FINAL semester starts in about a week. Lots to unpack there. I didn’t get the job I applied for, but I know there will be other opportunities. I’ve started to try and get myself on a more regular schedule. Sometimes it is so difficult though!


May Hopefuls

What am I going to read in May? Here are the list of books that I’m hoping to get to this month!

  • The Jasmine Throne (Book Club)
  • Ten Thousand Doors of January
  • The Secret Bridesmaid
  • Gallant
  • A Strange and Stubborn Endurance
  • Any ARC that’s due 😅
  • Probably some KU books

Honestly, if you know me, I am a total mood reader.


Well! It was certainly an exciting month — even with a lack of books!

How did your April go?

Let me know in the comments!

Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Gilded Wolves
Series #: 3
Genre: historical, fantasy
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

In love they breathed. In destiny they believed. In the end, will divinity be their demise?

After Séverin’s seeming betrayal, the crew is fractured. Armed with only a handful of hints, Enrique, Laila, Hypnos and Zofia must find their way through the snarled, haunted waterways of Venice, Italy to locate Séverin.

Meanwhile, Séverin must balance the deranged whims of the Patriarch of the Fallen House and discover the location of a temple beneath a plague island where the Divine Lyre can be played and all that he desires will come to pass.

With only ten days until Laila expires, the crew will face plague pits and deadly masquerades, unearthly songs and the shining steps of a temple whose powers might offer divinity itself… but at a price they may not be willing to pay.


Review

No one is more devastated than me – because I gave the first two books five stars. I LOVED this series. I’m a little upset that I am only giving this book 3.5 stars. If you want to know why, please read on! 

I want to cover what I enjoyed about the book first. Because there were aspects of the book that were enjoyable. Chokshi is a talented writer. I’ve loved everything that she has written, and the writing in this is no exception. I thought it was fabulous. Chokshi has a way with words and they melt into your brain as you are reading. 

Another aspect I liked is that this is historical fantasy, and I found it well done. Much like the first two books there were lots of puzzles and action in this book. 

The characters are another facet that Chokshi is a master at. She is able to craft characters that are so wonderful and feel as if they can step off the page. I did enjoy the overall character arcs in this book for the most part. 

The major thing that brought this book down was I felt that this was just a repeat of events in a slightly different way from the first two books. It felt rather repetitive. And while I do think the characters had depth, I didn’t feel that they were as well done as in the previous books. I also would have liked more from Hypnos character. He was a side character, but he also was a main character? Honestly, that was a little confusing. 

To be honest I was going, plot, what plot? Throughout this entire book. I felt that this book drifted around a lot, with no true purpose. It didn’t feel as if it was for character development either. I’m not sure what happened here, but it was not nearly as good as the first book was. The pacing was awkward for me too, and I felt that I was bored – and I was SO SAD because I wasn’t bored in the previous two books. I’m really not sure what happened with this book. It just didn’t work as well. 

I did however, love the ending. I was pretty happy with it. I knew it was going to be bittersweet, and it was in multiple ways. But I loved where all the characters ended up, especially my faves, Zofia, Enrique and Hypnos. 

Overall, the book was good, it just wasn’t as good as the first two books. I am excited to read whatever Chokshi writes next!

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Author: Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber
Series: Twin Crowns
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy
Age Group: YA
ARC?: Yes

A high-stakes fantasy rom-com about twin princesses separated at birth—one raised as the crown princess, and the other taken as an infant and raised to kidnap her sister, steal the crown, and avenge the parents’ murders.

Wren Greenrock has always known that one day she would steal her sister’s place in the palace. Trained from birth to return to the place of her parents’ murder and usurp the only survivor, she will do anything to rise to power and protect the community of witches she loves. Or she would, if only a certain palace guard wasn’t quite so distractingly attractive, and if her reckless magic didn’t have a habit of causing trouble…

Princess Rose Valhart knows that with power comes responsibility. Marriage into a brutal kingdom awaits, and she will not let a small matter like waking up in the middle of the desert in the company of an extremely impertinent (and handsome) kidnapper get in the way of her royal duty. But life outside the palace walls is wilder and more beautiful than she ever imagined, and the witches she has long feared might turn out to be the family she never knew she was missing.

Two sisters separated at birth and raised into entirely different worlds are about to get to know each other’s lives a whole lot better. But as coronation day looms closer and they each strive to claim their birthright, the sinister Kingsbreath, Willem Rathborne, becomes increasingly determined that neither will succeed. Who will ultimately rise to power and wear the crown?


Review

What can I say but WOW? Because this book was *chef’s kiss* amazing. At first I was a bit nervous on how this plot was going to go, but I LOVED it. I loved every inch of this book. And THAT ENDING. I need book two in my hands ASAP. I’m not going to survive until I know what happens next. 

This book is full of action, suspense and drama. The POV alternates between Wren and Rose, two sisters who are separated at birth. I have several characters in this book I really loved. Actually, most of them I liked. (Except the villains. I don’t like them.) 

One thing that this book did well was it had layered plots. Sometimes the different plots can make a book difficult or hard to read; but in this case, the book did it very well. We have Rose’s plot, Wren’s plot and then the two romance subplots along with two larger plots. Juggling all those plots was no doubt difficult. Then, we get a third subplot at the very end. I am CONVINCED that this is not going to go my way. 

Anyways, this book has witches and it is GREAT. I love witch-y reads and this one is high fantasy. In some ways I think it is similar to Serpent & Dove. Not to say it’s exactly like it, but that’s the feeling I get from it. 

The romance subplots were so fun. Tor is my favorite of them all. I love Wren and Rose equally, and I love how they have such different personalities. It made reading the book a joy. I also love Shen and his humor because it made me laugh out loud. 

This book was so full of action and suspenseful that I literally could not put it down. I had to know what was going to happen to these characters next. And the DRAMA.

That cliffhanger was so brutal, especially for me. I was all NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Anyways, I can’t say too much without spoiling all of the book. It’s best read with as little knowledge as possible so you get to enjoy all aspects of the book. 

I am eagerly awaiting book two, and I can’t wait to get myself a copy of this book! 

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Author: Riley Sager
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: horror, mystery, thriller
Age Group: adult
ARC?: no

It’s November 1991. George H. W. Bush is in the White House, Nirvana’s in the tape deck, and movie-obsessed college student Charlie Jordan is in a car with a man who might be a serial killer.

Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk. As they travel an empty highway in the dead of night, an increasingly worried Charlie begins to think she’s sharing a car with the Campus Killer. Is Josh truly dangerous? Or is Charlie’s suspicion merely a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse played out on night-shrouded roads and in neon-lit parking lots, during an age when the only call for help can be made on a pay phone and in a place where there’s nowhere to run. In order to win, Charlie must do one thing–survive the night.


Review

Survive the Night isn’t my first Riley Sager book. In fact, I read a lot of his other ones as well. I enjoyed Home Before Dark but found Final Girls lacking on so many levels. So going into this one I was a bit nervous. I didn’t know if it was going to be more like the one I liked or more like the one that I didn’t. The concept of the book seemed interesting to me – it sounded like something that would catch my attention and hold it for a period of time. Usually, I can finish Sager’s books quickly. This is because they are often fast paced and don’t take much “critical thinking” to read.

This doesn’t mean they’re bad – they’re not. But I don’t have to sit there are parse through things. I can read and guess at the mystery or what’s happening which is enjoyable for me to do. I’m usually wrong about everything, which is quite amusing to me. I’ve never been a terribly good guesser at these mystery books. Maybe that’s why I like them so much. In the end this book ended up being more like Home Before Dark for me, especially with the twists in this one.

I 100% did not guess the twists right AT ALL in this book. I said I was bad at it, I was really bad at it. But the twists were interesting, because Charlie and her mental health issues made her a very unreliable narrator so you wondered how much was true and how much was in her imagination in this book. Most of this  book is told from Charlie’s perspective but at about halfway through we switch to Josh’s POV. Adding in his POV made the book become a lot more spooky, because you’re wondering about his motivations. Is he the serial killer or not? He’s clearly lying about something…and Charlie struggles to figure out the truth on this long car ride.

What makes the book more eerie for me is the fact that it takes place in 1991 – which means, yes, there are no mobile phones for regular use – only payphones. I think this book evoked a fear in me – of being without a phone and with a (maybe) serial killer. But that made the book a lot more atmospheric. Just the whole tone of the book as well really added to the feelings the book gave me. It was certainly really interesting.

The ending was VERY surprising. It was a twist within a twist, and it was that second twist that I didn’t guess, but I guess I should have with all the hints that were dropped. Or maybe there weren’t and it was out of the blue. This book also took place in a very short span of time, just over the course of a night.

At the same time I was really annoyed with Charlie – because girl, some of your decision making skills are seriously lacking. I mean SERIOUSLY. I guess that the whole premise of this is based on Charlie just not making the greatest choices. In the end though, that’s the premise of the story and what makes the story good is Charlie’s lack of thinking skills. Or ability to tell the truth from a lie.

Overall, I liked this book. It was a firm 3 star read for me. It was an enjoyable few hours that I spent reading it. It isn’t a book that I would reread though, as I think that it was best read once, and after that it lacks the same “shock” value.

As another reviewer said, going into this book blind is the best.

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Well, well, well. I haven’t done a wrap up since March. Oops. But promise, I had a good reason. I’ve been just so busy with life! And reading. Also I sometimes forget I have a blog. I’ll try and be better. I’m sure you’re curious about how my month was, right?

It was a good month overall. I’ve found myself gravitating to more adult fiction, especially my KU subscription. I’ve also apparently been giving out less five stars and more three stars…weird.

Anyways, the books I read were:

books I read in July 2021

  • The Burning God
  • Curse of the Specter Queen
  • The Traitor Queen
  • Daughter of Sparta
  • Tithe
  • Valiant
  • Ironside
  • For the Wolf
  • Any Way the Wind Blows
  • Zodiac Academy 1-6
  • Gild
  • Glint
  • Gleam
  • House of Hollow
  • Of Wolves and Wardens
  • Fire with Fire
  • Gods & Monsters
  • Birthday
  • Girl
  • Six Crimson Cranes

my top reads

My top reads of the month include Any Way the Wind Blows, Daughter of Sparta, Gild, Glint, Gleam, Curse of the Specter Queen, The Crown of Gilded Bones, Gods & Monsters.

I enjoyed most of the rest. Really, I had a good month with enjoyable books which is SUCH a nice change. Sometimes I get a lot of bad books and I don’t really enjoy them which is unfortunate.

the bad

Really, the only one I really didn’t enjoy was Of Wolves and Wardens.

Although The Modern Faerie Tales were okay, I gave them three stars, but that was on the bottom. I didn’t love them as much as I wish I did. And Zodiac Academy was decent. I don’t know whether I’ll continue reading that series or not.

overall

Overall, I think I had a good month. Not sure what I will be reading next month, however!

Author: Casey McQuiston
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: romance, LGBTQ+
Age Group: adult
ARC?: yers

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.


Review

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

It took me some time to evaluate how I felt about this book. When I read Red, White and Royal Blue it was at the right time, right place. I can’t articulate what resonated about it with me. I had hoped that One Last Stop would follow in those footsteps. This book also encompassed things I liked – more so than RWRB, so why did I like this one less than RWRB? My only conclusion is that I felt RWRB had more heart than OLS did. For me, personally at least. I really wanted to be like 10000/5 stars, but unfortunately, for me, that isn’t the case.

Let me make it very clear this book is still fabulous and a lot of people will love it but I think overall it had some issues because I feel RWRB was a lot to beat. Now that I’ve said that, there are some things that this book does that RWRB did as well, and did splendidly. As always, there is a lot of diversity in this series. It feels like McQuiston is really trying to reach the largest audience and most diverse one. So points for that. I think that they accomplish this very well. We’ve got Asian characters, Black characters, trans characters, queer characters and I do believe August is fat, so fat characters as well.

Pacing

I think my biggest issue with this book is the pacing. The pacing was driving me up the wall. I love a good slow paced character driven book. And this I think was supposed to be that. Unfortunately, some of it was a bit repetitive and boring at points. Usually you’re supposed to see character progression and we don’t really get that until the very end. I really think the pacing of this book is what made me love it a little bit less.

Characters

I did enjoy the characters. I like that August feels real. She was relatable to me in many ways, and I think she was the perfect character for the story to focus on and around. We get to see her POV more than anyone else’s and it is her story that drives the book. But as I said previously, at times it feels like the pacing doesn’t work and we’re not getting any progression which doesn’t help August’s character at all. I know August is supposed to be bi, and as a bi person and fat, I love her for it. I just wish…I’m not sure what else I wanted from her. But I feel that it is missing something for me.

The side characters were lovely too. I like how they all interacted and their stories that we get briefly. I especially liked how it all came together in the end. I’m not sure I could pick a favorite side character.

I very much enjoyed the relationship between Jane and August. I think the romance was well developed and absolutely adorable. As a note for people, this book does have explicit steamy scenes. So…yes. 😏

Moving on…

Plot

The plot. Granted, I only half read the description. Saw the author the cover, heard f/f meet cute essentially and was sold. I did not realize how much of a supernatural or paranormal element there was going to be in here. That was a lovely surprise because I love those elements in any story. I like how it was introduced too. I think that was so well done, that if you hadn’t know it had a supernatural element your jaw would drop. Mine did.

I think the only downside also is that it feels like there was so much going on in this book. Lots of little subplots supposed to be connecting to the next, and while I generally felt it was well done, I did feel that at points it was almost too much trying to juggle.

Last Thoughts

But overall, I think this book was absolutely amazing, and people are going to LOVE it. This is a sweet paranormal rom-com meet cute book, and it is going to appeal to a lot of people.

CW: mentions of death, anxiety, homophobia, racism, and blood.

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