The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) by Samantha Shannon

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1.) The Bone Season ★★★

Would me writing “I hate Jaxon Hall” over and over again be an acceptable review? Because that’s honestly how I’m feeling right about now.

“A boy who begged for books and pens as often as he did for coin. A boy with arms torn to ribbons by fingernails, plotting his escape from poverty.”

The Mime Order picks up right where the The Bone Season leaves off, and I mean exactly how it leaves off: our group is on the train, and their escape from Sheol I didn’t go quite as planned. I was filled with so much excitement; I couldn’t wait to see what would happen when Paige and the gang returned to London! Yet, to my remorseful surprise, after the action packed opener the book felt pretty stagnant for quite some time.

My biggest issue with this book: Warden didn’t show up until after 40% of the way through this book. Like, if a ton of exciting things were going on during that 40% to make up for Paige and Warden’s amazing dynamic being missing than I would have been fine, but the story only started getting good, in my opinion, once Warden showed up. The first 40% was dull and uneventful. Yeah, later those dull and uneventful moments became something great, but it was still a little bit of work to force myself to read on.

The best part of this book: The exploration of how this shady government group is deceiving everyone. They are spewing lies and hate, and making everyone afraid of each other, while trying to cover-up that they are working alongside an even worse evil.

“Hope is the lifeblood of revolution. Without it, we are nothing but ash, waiting for the wind to take us.”

The problems I had with information-dumping in The Bone Season subsided completely. These characters and this alternative London is starting to feel like home, and I really enjoyed that.

As far as new characters and locations, I loved reading about Jacob’s Island and the Jacobites. It felt just like Ketterdam from Six of Crows to me. I was so enthralled so fast, and I didn’t nearly get enough of it. Please, give me more Wynn Jacob and more of this island in book three!

I love the ragtag group that is known as The Seven Seals. Well, obviously I have issues with one of those Seals (and two others at the end), but I love their dynamic as a whole. The fourth scrimmage in the history of the London Syndicate gave me all the feels. Like, I reread that scene three times because I freaking loved it that much. The angst, the betrayal, the quick thinking, the cleaver mechanics, the waiting to see who chose what side, I loved it all!

The ending, for as much as it brought me rage, was amazing. It made me so thankful I received an ARC of the The Song Rising, and it made me want to ignore all of my scheduled February reading and start it immediately. So, that is pretty impressive and quite the hype I’m putting on it. Hopefully, it doesn’t let me down, because I have super high hopes for it and the Black Moth!

“Words are everything. Words give wings even to those who have been stamped upon, broken beyond all hope of repair.”

The Backstagers #1 by James Tynion IV & Rian Sygh

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I requested this because I thought it was the bind-up volume to be released in July. I normally do not review single issue comics, because it’s too difficult to get a good reading of them, especially the first volume in an entire series. That being said, I still really loved this, and I have even higher hopes for the actual first volume.

Basically, this is Lumberjanes with an all boy cast. And the best thing about this issue, like Lumberjanes, is the amazing representation in this very diverse cast of kids. I’m all for representation, and it is good to note that the writer, James Tynion IV, is openly Bisexual and the artist, Rian Sygh, is openly Trans.

And I very openly support Own Voices.

In this issue we are introduced to our main character, Jory, who has recently moved to a new city, which means he is now going to a new school. His new school is an all-boys school, and Jory isn’t the biggest fan of it so far. He feels like an outcast, isn’t making any friends, and just longs for a place to belong like many of us do when we are in high school. He thinks he will never find that place, until he stumbles upon the stage crew of the theater club!

These Backstagers make Jory feel like he finally has a home to escape to. Oh, and they also stumble upon some secret doorways to different places that look magical, so I’m all for reading more and exploring those.

Obviously the theme of being yourself and valuing your individuality is very present in this comic, but it also talks about finding others and creating healthy and lasting friendships of value, and that’s something really important to me. I for sure want to venture deeper into this world and see what else it has to offer. The art is beautiful, the characters are wonderful, and the representation is amazing. I really can’t recommend this enough.

Feversong (Fever, #9) by Karen Marie Moning

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1.) Darkfever ★★★★
*.) The Alpha Alternative: JZB Sex Scene
2.) Bloodfever ★★★
3.) Faefever ★★★
4.) Dreamfever ★★★
5.) Shadowfever ★★★★★
*.) Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha ★★★★★
6.) Iced ★★★★
7.) Burned
8.) Feverborn

“He kissed me like I was the empire he was sworn to protect and would die a thousand deaths to keep secure. He kissed me like I was a woman with a deep dark wildness that needed to be fed and he knew just how to do it. He kissed me like he was dying and this was the last kiss he would ever taste.”

God, I don’t even know how to rate this book. Part of me wants to give it five stars, and ignore all the problematic things, just because it actually felt like the Fever Series I knew and loved. Yet, another part of me is all riled up and wants to give this book another one star rating, like the past two books, because KMM should know better than to put all these problematic things in another book!

If I was just rating this book with my heart and soul, knowing how privileged my perspective is and ignoring how upsetting some of these themes are, I would give this book five stars, because I truly did love reading it, while pretending the rape culture wasn’t there. But, luckily for my reviews, I use my mind to rate books, and this had some pretty upsetting things in it, that I will get to later in my spoiler section.

I will also say that this book, especially the first part, is really dark. I was actually surprised by the brutality that KMM showed, and it actually shocked me so much I forgot about the mess that was Feverborn. Maybe it helped, because I felt like I went into this story with a clean slate from the shock value alone, but let’s just say that KMM wasn’t scared to kill anyone, and I truly mean anyone.

Feversong picks up right where Feverborn leaves off: Dublin, and all of Earth for that matter, are on the verge of being sucked into a black hole. Mac now is harboring a host that is pretty brutal and Dani is finally getting back to being Dani and learning to leave Jada behind, while accepting her time spent in the Silvers. Dani and Mac are finally back to being friends sisters, and that’s truly all I want from this series. I was living for them being all girl power, working together, and kicking ass.

Dublin still is home to not only humans, but both fae courts:
• Seelie – the “light” or “fairer” court of the Tuatha Dé Danaan governed by the Seelie Queen, Aoibheal, who was a mortal concubine, who was tricked into becoming Fae. She’s also the only one that can sing the Song of Making (which is pretty important in this story).
• Unseelie – the “dark” court of the Tuatha Dé Danaan. The Unseelie King is very mysterious, and communicates with mortals on Earth using a human form (sometimes a cute one). He also has the power to manipulate matter and create things, resulting in many people thinking he is God.

Obviously, Mac and Dani have their hands very full with trying to restore the Earth before it is too late, but they are also faced with ensuring everyone else’s safety. With this being the ninth book in the series, it is almost impossible to talk about anything else without spoiling everything, but I will say that Feversong did impress me much more than Burned and Feverborn, both of which got one star. KMM is definitely improving to make this series what it once was, but she still has some work to do.

If you’ve been unhappy about the last few books, too, you can read the first five chapters for free: Here!

WARNING: The next part of this review will have MAJOR SPOILERS! Please, do not continue on if you have not read Feversong in its entirety! Major, major, major spoilers from this point forward!

Okay, I’m going to try to group together my thoughts in the most non-fangirl way, but I apologize in advance for this gush. I just feel like I have a million thoughts and feelings in my head and I want to get them down on paper.

As I said above, I really enjoyed this book. I felt the same excitement I used to feel while flipping each page before the series was ruined! My favorite part of this story was probably the equal emphasis on Dani and Mac. Before, I felt so cheated when KMM switched the story direction back to Mac’s POV, but this book felt right. I loved seeing Barrons and Mac being Barrons and Mac. It wasn’t forced, or unbelievable, it was nice and made for a really great reading experience.

Dani’s chapters were much harder to read, but I don’t mean that in a negative way, it just made for more tears. Dani’s past was utterly heartbreaking to read about. I found myself sobbing at the end of each chapter. I am so excited that the next two books will fully focus on her, and I hope KMM actually stays true to it. Also, Shazam, Dani’s Hel-Cat, is going to cause so much havoc – I can’t wait!

Even though Dani was all like:

But like, no one is questioning whether or not KMM can write a good sex scene, because… she can.

And people can say what they want about Ryodan, but he was awesome to let Dani experience different things, and not being a selfish prick. I know he gets so much hate for Iced, but he was a standup guy in this book.

Even though I did enjoy Mac’s chapters, while loving the ones involving Barrons, the Sinsar Dubh’s chapters were a little insane. I mean, it made for a quick read and all, but it had a really weird fascination with having sex with Barrons. Like, I’m not holding that against it or anything, but it kept pulling me out of the story.

Barrons was Barrons, so all was perfect. Barrons was my first ever book crush, so he gets away with shit I wouldn’t let other male protagonists get away with. He’s still so dreamy in my eyes and I’m not sure what could ruin that immersion. I like how he trusted Mac, even when he had reason not to trust her, in this book. BB&B is still one of the bookish places I wish I could visit, and I think I always will, especially with this new mysterious mural. Like, if Barrons becomes a Fae King I will seriously lose my shit, and I’m not sure how I could possibly fangirl harder.

Mac being the Queen of the Court of Light was pretty unexpected, but in a good way. I liked this twist, and the scene in BB&B with the little faeries made me giggle like an idiot. The cliffhanger of Cruce not dying and remaking the Court of Darkness makes me feel a lot of negative things! Please, let this love-triangle die in Hell where it belongs. I’ll write more on Cruce being a disgusting rapist later.

Christian is still my favorite side character. Be still, my heart. I love this poor, brooding Unseelie Prince. I was so happy the Song of Making didn’t unmake him. And, also, it’s very obvious that he’s going to end up with Enyo, so maybe KMM is setting up a spin-off for them or something? I was picking up that vibe, at least.

Inspector Jayne turning into a Seelie Prince is like everything I never knew I wanted in this series! I was so freaking happy, and it was so unexpected! Like, seriously, I’m here for him working with Mac again, because their friendship is so great to read about.

Okay, now that I’m done gushing, I’m just going to list the biggest problem with this book and why I am tempted to really drop my rating: The rape culture in this book is fucking strong! As we learned from the original Fever Series, Mac was gang raped by Cruce and three other Unseelie Princes that Barrons and Dani later killed. Cruce was imprisoned, Mac didn’t think it was important enough to tell Barrons that the fourth rapist was Cruce *gags*, but everyone still saw Cruce for the gross, evil villain he truly was/is.

Alright, now let’s flash forward to this book, where Mac not only states numerous times that Cruce isn’t evil, because there are people/books that want to destroy the world, so since that’s worse than rape, then that is what is truly evil, not a little rapist. Plus, she did orgasm and enjoy herself while being gang raped and out of her mind, so, that really emphasizes that Cruce just made a mistake. *Sets fire to everything around me!*

This is not okay. Rape is never okay. I will never condone a book that makes excuses for rape. Rape apologists are fucking disgusting, and this book would have been an easy five stars if Mac, and everyone else, told Cruce that, instead of making excuses or putting him on a “lesser evil” scale. Rape is inexcusable, period, and there is nothing else to say on the topic.

Instead, KMM makes Mac kiss Cruce passionately, while telling him she could have fallen in love with him, instead of Barrons, if she would have only met him first, because that’s the only way to save the whole entire world. Like, how is that supposed to sit okay with me? It feels like daggers in my heart, because I loved the rest of this book, but how am I supposed to ignore that problematic theme and inexcusable action? I can’t, I just can’t.

“Yes, he’d raped me. I’d survived, and the nearly incoherent anger I’d felt for so long was simply gone. What remained was a chaotic world with complex politics and few with power enough to lead the various factions. My experience with the Sinsar Dubh had forever changed me. I’d encountered true evil. Up close and personal. I knew what it was. Cruce was not evil. As a Fae, he was a fine one. Exemplary even. A Fae that sometimes did very bad things to humans.”

The other thing that is a little gross, too, is Dancer’s death. Okay, hear me out; I ship Dani and Ryodan. I ship them, because I feel like KMM has set them up together from the start. I completely understand people who shipped Dani with Dancer, and even the amazing Christian, but, for me, this story has always been told in a point of view that has Dani and Ryodan be end game.

Obviously, there was no easy way for Dani to pick, even though she sort of tried to pick Ryodan, so KMM made the choice easy for her, while also giving a little bit of fan service to the Dancer and Dani shippers. Dani went back and forth, constantly comparing the two guys, but once I read about Dancer’s condition I knew KMM was going to pull the trigger. Yes, KMM took the easy way out and it did feel a little bad, even as a Ryodan shipper, I’m not going to lie.

Dancer’s death impacted me unexpectedly hard. I’m totally going to understand the fans that will be upset and all of their feelings are completely valid, but I kind of liked the emphasis on how precious life is, especially in an apocalyptic world. We are all truly on borrowed time, and I enjoyed the message of how important it is to spend time doing what you love with the people you love.

Besides those two things, which I know the one is freakin’ huge and I definitely do not want to ever gloss it over as a minor mistake, I really did enjoy reading this. If you could eliminate that kiss with Cruce, this would be an easy five star book, which is pretty insane when I’ve given the last two in this series one star. Hopefully, KMM can only learn and grow and the next Dani book can blow me and my expectations out of the water, too.

Assassin’s Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb

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What unexpected, and much needed, joy this book brought me! I know this is a fantasy favorite among so many people I trust, but I never expected it to be as perfect as it was! Fitz and his journey was an absolute joy to read about, and I cannot wait to continue on with this world. Like, I need the next book now.

This story is a slow burn, that’s for sure, but learning about the main protagonist, Fitz, and his back story made the slow pace still really enjoyable. Fitz is a bastard of the king in waiting, Chivalry. When he is only six-years old, his grandfather on his mother’s side takes him to his father. Obviously he is a blemish on the royal Farseer family’s appearance, but his Uncle Verity orders that he be given to the King’s stableman, Burrich*, instead. Fitz’s father, however, felt so much shame with having a bastard; he goes into exile, giving up his right to the throne

*Also, besides Fitz, Burrich was the MVP of this story. I love that man. His cameos kept warming my heart to no end.

Yeah, Fitz’s Uncle Verity is awesome. Unfortunately, his other uncle, Regal, is a major ass and likes to make Fitz’s life extremely hard. See, Fitz has something that the book refers to as “the Wit”, which basically means that Fitz is able to speak telepathically to animals. Also, for as much as people rave about this series, I was so surprised with Fitz’s gift with animals! I had never heard anyone talk about it before, so it was such an amazing surprise and truly made this reading experience even better.

Fitz’s connection to animals really meant a lot to me. I’m a huge animal lover, and I’ve read a lot of fantasy in my days, and this was such a unique and meaningful concept, I was in awe with how perfectly Robin Hobb executed this element.

Using Wit isn’t the only magic in this book; we are also introduced to Skilling, which the royal family seems to do with ease. Like using Wit, Skilling is also done telepathically, but instead of animals it is between humans, but we soon learn that using this ability in mass quantities taxes a person very much.

Anyways, once Fitz is a little older, his grandpa on his father’s side, you know, the King, gets Fitz to become a “King’s Man”, which is basically an assassin. He is then given to a man named Chade to become *wait for it* an assassin’s apprentice!

Oh, and all the Six Duchies are being attacked by Red-Ship Raiders, who steal people and bring them back with no memory and as shells of their former selves. So, that’s a pretty big problem that I’m sure will be addressed even more in the continuation of this series.

I really don’t have much to complain about, except that this story is a little slow. Yet, with that slow build, I felt so much empathy for Fitz and the poor hand he got dealt in life. This story truly was on the sadder side of stories, and I want nothing more than for Fitz to get a happy ending, filled with all the cute puppers in the world.

This is for sure a story about love and loyalty, and where people should put their trust. Is the importance on blood truly so great? Does blood really connect us in an explained way that makes it more important than other qualities? How much trust can we put into people just because of their blood, while ignoring everything else that person holds inside of them?

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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There is so much hype surrounding this book, but after seeing Gemina make so many of my friends’ “Favorite Books Published in 2016” lists, I couldn’t ignore this series any longer. I also knew that it was told in a multimedia format, filled with interviews and IM conversations, and that made me a little apprehensive. This book was so unexpectedly addictive.

This story starts off in a much further progressed world, in both years and technology, than ours, on a hidden and secluded planet far, far away. Our two main protagonists, Kady and Ezra, have just broken up, and despite the awkwardness they are forced to be in class with one another. That is, until their hidden and secluded planet comes under attack, and they have to rely on each other to reach the evacuation ships.

Once safe, they are forced to board different ships, Kady on Hypatia, and Ezra on Alexander, and there is also a third ship in their fleet, Copernicus. These three ships are literally running for their lives and being pursued by an enemy battleship, the Lincoln, but they soon realize that the enemy catching up to them isn’t the only thing that is putting them in danger.

This story will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat, while you constantly tell yourself “just one more page” until you look at the clock and see it is 3AM. It is action packed, and the format is so easy to read, that these 600 pages will feel like 300 pages.

You won’t only fall in love with Kady and Ezra, but you will also fall in love with the whole ensemble of side characters. You’ll laugh and you’ll cry. You’ll be surprised and oh so anxious. You will feel like an absolute fool for not reading it sooner.

So why did I give this four stars? Because I couldn’t help but be constantly reminded of Dead Space. Don’t get me wrong, this book is still completely unique in its formatting and execution, but once the very climatic parts on Alexander started happening, I kept picturing myself playing that damn video game franchise.

AIDAN was my favorite, hands down. Kudos to both of these very talent authors for making that AI seem so scary, heartbreaking, and real. His points of view made this book for me, and once we got to those points of view, I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

“THE UNIVERSE OWES YOU NOTHING, KADY. IT HAS ALREADY GIVEN YOU EVERYTHING, AFTER ALL. IT WAS HERE LONG BEFORE YOU, AND IT WILL GO ON LONG AFTER YOU. THE ONLY WAY IT WILL REMEMBER YOU IS IF YOU DO SOMETHING WORTHY OF REMEMBRANCE.”

I was also surprised by all the twists and turns. Like, one of them was a little predictable, but the rest honestly did blindside me, especially that ending. How could you not want to immediately pick up Gemina after that ending?

I also feel like this book would be pretty universally liked, if you don’t mind the format. Like, I would totally recommend this to everyone; Sci-Fi lover or not. My only regret is not reading it sooner, because I was scared of the hype train, but now I have Goodreads and my amazing friends to thank for another beloved book in my collection.

Sunstone, Vol. 2 by Stjepan Šejić

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Sunstone is a lesbian BDSM love story. If that’s not your cup of tea, nothing I can say in this review will sway you to pick this amazing graphic novel series up. Luckily for me, this is very much my cup of tea and Sunstone will always have a very special place in my heart, even though this volume wasn’t my favorite.

This volume heavily talks about the importance of communication with your partner. Some people view BDSM as a getaway or a fantasy from their real life, but others want to make BDSM a lifestyle. Obviously I’m not judging either path people choose to take, but, personally, I am much more interested in the fantasy aspect rather than the lifestyle choice. So, I think that is why this volume didn’t speak to me as much as Vol. 1, even though I will say this volume is very, very important and this topic is a needed one.

Self-bondage is heavily discussed in this issue, with an even heavier emphasis on the importance of safe rope play. Again, having communication and compatibility with your partner is a must, because safety will always be the greatest priority in a BDSM relationship of any kind or level.

This volume also talks about fetish models and S&M performers. We are introduced to the BDSM club, the Crimson, that Alan custom makes the sets for. I absolutely loved seeing this club, and seeing Ally and Lisa interact with other people. I cannot wait to continue on with Vol. 3.

Frostblood (Frostblood Saga #1) by Elly Blake

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Frostblood was nothing special per se, but that doesn’t make this a bad book. If you enjoyed Throne of Glass, The Queen of the Tearling, and/or Snow Like Ashes then you will probably really enjoy this book. And you know what star rating I gave all of those books I just listed? Three stars, too. Strong, young female protagonist, who got dealt a bad hand in their early life, is now fighting for their rightful place on the throne. This story-line isn’t bad, but it is not anything new or groundbreaking that is going to change YA fantasy as we know it. And there isn’t anything wrong with that, either, but it also isn’t going to get five stars or make any best of 2017 lists, for me.

The magic in this world is separated from people that wield frost, Frostbloods, and people that wield fire, Firebloods. Which, by the way, the book for sure emphasizes a Fireblood, and how needed she was, so I feel like this book should have been titled Fireblood, and perhaps the next be Frostblood. But I don’t work in the publishing world, so who am I? Anyways, Frostbloods show extreme prejudice towards Firebloods, to the point that they seem pretty much extinct. The kingdom in this world is ruled by the Frost King, and his whole arsenal is frost users. When they discover Firebloods, they capture them, treat them horribly, and then force them to compete for their lives in an arena versus a Frostblood Champion, which the Fireblood will always die. That is, until the most powerful Fireblood ever to be born is found. *dun dun duuun*

Ruby, said powerful Fireblood, is only seventeen, and dealing with the very new loss of her mother. After escaping prison, she finds herself at the mercy of some Frostblood monks, who are trying to teach her the full potential of her power. One of those monks is name Arcus, and I was actually a fan of him. Both of his “plot-twists” were incredibly predictable, but I actually did like him as a character. He was probably the shining light of this story for me. Hell, maybe I’m happy the book was called Frostblood, because he was my favorite.

I do fear for his story-line, though, because (not to get into spoiler territory) he has a disfigurement, and I feel like the author walked that line of sympathy and “I wish he was normal” and I was scared that I was going to have to give this book one star on quite a few occasions, but she never crossed that line. I loved that Arcus wasn’t perfect, and I loved his imperfection; I just hope Ruby keeps loving it, too.

There is a good discussion in this book about how we perceive others, and marginalize the group in which they are in, off of what other people say about them/the group. Obviously this is something pretty important and relevant in 2017, and anything that is able to start a discussion and have others start to think about this important topic is absolutely amazing.

This is Elly Blake’s debut novel, and I think she does have potential to develop this story into something that I will think is above average. Like I said, I didn’t dislike this book by any stretch of the imagination; I just wanted more than what I received. I will for sure continue on with book two, and I will definitely give this world and these characters another chance.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

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I gifted this book to many of my loved ones for Christmas, because this book instills so much hope in the reader, and let’s be honest, after 2016 we could all use a little more hope inside of us. While writing little notes to all my friends and family about the magic of this book, I couldn’t help but feel compelled to reread it myself.

I was born and raised in Michigan, so this book hits me and my feels so very much. Even though I lived in Flint for the majority of my life, all of the Michigan cities that I have visited so many times make this book even more important to me. And the airport Clark is in? I couldn’t help but picture this as the airport I’ve flown out of over 100 times in my life. This story hits so close to home for me, literally, and it makes Station Eleven always a favorite for me to read. I will always carry this book and its message in my heart.

This book is another post-apocalyptic book, but it is truly a tier above the rest. Twenty years after the pandemic starts in this book, we follow a traveling symphony reenacting Shakespeare. They travel from civilization to civilization, trying to bring joy and happiness into this world that is just trying to survive.

Our main protagonist in the symphony is Kirsten, and she was very young when the flu that killed all but 1% of the population, and started the apocalypse, broke out. We are able to see her journey through it all and all of the threads that tie so many different people in her past, present, and future together.

Kirsten isn’t the only point of view, there are actually very many. You will see relationships form before your eyes, and be in shock when you see how some of these people have connecting roots from their pasts. The reader will be constantly taken back and forth between post and pre apocalypse, but Emily St. John Mandel’s transitions are so smooth, and she weaves together the time frames so well, that you will be completely captivated.

Saying this book is addicting is an understatement of the very word. The lyrical prose of this novel is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read and the characters and their actions constantly left me speechless. And so many of the reveals in this book shook me to my very core.

This book is truly haunting, and will stick with the reader for some time. For me, this book helped me be more thankful for everything I have, and it reminded me that nothing is ever promised. The message of what can happen when certain paths, which are beyond all of our control, cross is unforgettable. But in its bones, this book is all about hope and the importance of instilling that hope in future generations.

No matter what happens in 2017, try to have hope. Try to believe that we can come together and do amazing things that are filled with love instead of hate. Believe that you and your voice matter, and you are always worth being heard. Stand strong and be extra loud for the less privileged individuals, because their voices need to be heard even more so. Never give up, and always hold on to that hope, because sometimes it might feel like it is the only thing we have left.

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1) by Samantha Shannon

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This book was so addicting, yet so unnecessarily long for me! Which is even more absurd to say, because so much of this world building was difficult to comprehend; you’d think that the extra length would be helpful, but it wasn’t. Like, this chart saved my life:

You see this chart before chapter one, but you don’t realize how much you actually need this chart until all these different clairvoyant names start getting thrown at you, and it is the only reference you have to help you not feel completely ignorant. Maybe it was just me, maybe you’ll go into this feeling confident about all the different umbrella terms, but it was actually difficult for me, and would sometimes make me feel like I was studying, rather than reading for enjoyment.

But everything else? Everything else was amazing:

•I loved the strong female lead and I love her empathetic and understanding love interest that completely diverted away from the masters and slave trope that it could have very easily became.

“He was the single most beautiful and terrible thing I’d ever laid eyes on.”

•I loved how Samantha Shannon proved very easily that she is not scared to kill off her characters, and continued to prove it throughout the book

•I loved the surprise of one of the characters being gay, and the amazing and normal reaction from the other characters. There was no shock value or inappropriate questions, it was just accepted, and I loved it.

•I absolutely loved the tie-in with Greek mythology surrounding Adonis, Aphrodite, and Ares! It is probably the thing I’m looking most forward to in The Mime Order.

•I loved the social hierarchy and, as always, seeing privileged people in power doing what is right alongside the people who are lacking strong voices.

•And overall, I just loved how engaging and addicting this book was. I know I was complaining about it being too long, but I still devoured all these pages with a smile on my face, unnecessary information or not.

“I didn’t believe in hearts. I believed in dreamscapes and spirits. Those were what mattered. Those made money. But my heart had hurt that day. For the first time in my life I’d been forced to acknowledge my heart, and acknowledge its fragility. It could be bruised. It could humiliate me.”

This world is set in the future of our very own. The year is 2059, and the story is set in England, where clairvoyants of any kind are scared to have people learn of their gifts, because the world has outlawed them. Most, because of the fear of being discovered, have put themselves into mafia-like groups in the different districts, where they use their talents not necessarily for bad, but not for good, either.

Our main character, Paige, has a very unique gift, and her leader, a mime-lord named Jaxon, knows how very unique her gift is. One night, while Paige is trying to visit her last remaining relative, her dad, she ends up having a confrontation on the train. After the confrontation she is on the run, but she is sure that she will be caught and put to death.

And yes, she does get caught, but death is the furthest thing that happens to her. Instead, she is introduced to a whole underground network, inhabited by humans without powers, humans that are clairvoyant, clairvoyants that are not from our world, and beast like creatures that only want to destroy. The dynamic of this social hierarchy is cruel and unfair, and Paige will be pushed to her limits.

This secret society is set in Oxford, which is a city everyone believes to be long destroyed. And once Paige enters this world, she finds out that people have been keeping secrets for over two-hundred years.

“Once you know something, you can’t get rid of it. You have to carry it. Always.”

Overall, I did enjoy this, even with the tedious clairvoyant research it made me do. I also think it is important to note that this book was a debut novel by a very young author, and that in and of itself is impressive. I for sure think that this could be something great, and I am looking forward to continuing on with The Mime Order.

Bad Mommy by Tarryn Fisher

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Bad Mommy is a story that is broken down in three parts, each told by a different unreliable narrator, and will make you question everything, including how you perceive others. It is no secret that Tarryn Fisher is one of my favorite authors, and that Mud Vein is my favorite book of all time (minus Harry Potter, because, you know, it is Harry Potter). Yet, even though I’ve read her entire works, I don’t think she ever comes as close as to the perfection that is Mud Vein, but Bad Mommy is for sure my new second favorite.

“You couldn’t put three crazy people into a story and not have their worlds teeter-totter.”

Also, I just have to state that I started 2016 with F*ck Love, and now 2017 with Bad Mommy. If you haven’t tried anything by Tarryn Fisher, please rectify that in 2017, please. She is honestly in a league of her own.

In true Tarryn fashion, this story surrounds two girls and one guy protagonist. One is a psychopath, one is a sociopath, and one is Tarryn a writer. The book is broken down in those three parts, yet the twists and turns are, as always, a roller coaster ride. Like, reading Darius’ chapters felt like I was being punched in the gut over and over. I felt so much surprise, heartbreak, and betrayal. No other author invokes these raw feelings from me.

Besides that, you should go into it blind because that’s just how Tarryn Fisher masterpieces are read best.

“We were products of our earliest experiences, replicating the ways we were taught to love, and fuck, and interact with humanity. Some of us broke free of our pasts; some of us weren’t that clever.”

As a warning, I will say: If you do not like incredibly flawed characters do not attempt to read this book. There is homophobia, slut shaming, cheating, lying, stalking, and more. Obviously, Tarryn is an amazing human being who would never condone or justify these things, but she’s also the master at writing really fucked up characters and stories, so I felt obliged to put a warning out there; especially with infidelity, because there is a lot of it. Tarryn writes very morally grey and black characters, and she does so unapologetically.

Another important trigger warning is that the topic of miscarriages and infertility are touched upon a lot. We, as a society, put such an emphasis on a woman’s worth being tied to her ability to bear (and want to have) children. This is something one of our main protagonists will never be able to do, and she doesn’t shy away from her feelings on the matter. In fact, it is the reason she does some pretty scary and horrible things.

“It wouldn’t matter to me if she’d known he was married and thrown herself at him. It was his job to tell her NO, to protect our relationship and keep his dick in his pants”

I can’t speak for the mental illnesses that are very prevalent in this book; but I can speak for the actions of the mentally ill characters: it feels incredibly real. I’m sure most of us have someone in our life that doesn’t have our best intentions at heart, or someone who will always make the situation about them, no matter what, or someone who will never love anyone as much as they love themselves. These traits were so real to me, and I couldn’t help but be very impacted by them and their heartbreaking realness.

“Any good therapist would tell you that sociopaths and psychopaths can fool almost anyone, even them.”

Tarryn weaves a story with the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read in my entire life. The word addicting doesn’t even do her justice. Her books always leave me feeling haunted, and I think about them for days and weeks after completion. She is truly a master at her craft, and I will always read and support her. How is she still an independent author, though? How are the big five not having a battle to the death to sign her?

All of Tarryn’s stories and characters feel real, but this one feels a little too real. Like, I was 99% sure Jolene was Tarryn before the last sentence of this book. I know the beauty is that we will never truly know, but I’m going to believe this was true until the last of my days.