October 2017 Reading Wrap Up

Happy Halloween, everyone! 🍂🎃💛

I hope you all have a safe and spooky time out tonight! October was an amazing reading month for me! I was able to read fourteen books, and even though I had a few duds, I also had a few of the best books I’ll read all year!


Like always, you can click the links in each of the titles if you would like to read a more in depth review of each book and see the individual trigger warnings.

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson – ★★★★★
Epic fantasy at its finest. I read this in preparation for Oathbringer! I loved this series so very much, and I’m currently reading the next book and feel just as in love with it.

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover – ★★★★★
This book has recently hurt some people, so I don’t want to spend too much time talking about it, but I will say that the depression and pansexual representation meant a lot to me. And again, if you feel like you could be suffering with depression, I am always here to talk.

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre – DNF @ 56%
I just couldn’t do this, which is so weird because I’ve loved so many of Alessandra’s other works. Many of my friends also really enjoyed this, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. This story is about an author who is dying, but before she passes away she wants to write one final story. And this final story will be about the truth of what happened to her husband, which no one else knows but her. Unfortunately, her illness is coming quicker than expected, so she is forced to hire a ghostwriter to help her. And dark secrets and mystery ensue.

27 Hours (The Nightside Saga #1) by Tristina Wright – ★★★
In my opinion, 27 Hours had so much good, yet so much disappointment, too. This book falls completely down the middle for me. The representation is beautiful and important, but a lot of the romance was too unbelievable for me, which I feel like the twenty-seven-hour time frame really did this book a disservice. Then there is the issue with the colonization that’s very hard to unsee once you’ve seen it, and finally, the only two white main characters in the book do most of the explaining to the main characters of color about what is right. It feels bad, like, really bad. Yet, I love that any marginalized teen could pick this book up and see themselves. That, is something I can’t even put a rating on, and I cannot emphasize how important that statement is to me. This book honestly has me feeling very torn.

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (The Grisha) by Leigh Bardugo – ★★★★★
Perfection in every single way. This story collection changed my life, and will without a doubt be in my best books of 2017 list. The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic is a bind up of six fairy tales that take place in the Grishaverse, which is the same world that her Shadow and Bone series and her Six of Crows series take place! All of these are expertly crafted. All of these are so very lyrical and beautiful. All of these feel powerful and impactful. All of these are absolutely haunting.

A Discovery Of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness – ★
Nothing offended me or anything like that, this book was just ungodly boring. I mean, there is a very alpha vampire in here that marks his territory and claims what he thinks is his, but, I mean, that’s just sort of expected in paranormal romance books about vampires, so it wasn’t anything that bothered me. A Discovery of Witches is pretty much just an adult Twilight.

The Bloodprint (The Khorasan Archives #1) by Ausma Zehanat Khan – ★★★
This is the first in a series and a debut adult fantasy novel that is very diverse and truly celebrates the importance of words, and what happens when we take away basic human rights from people that are deemed lesser. This book is a good blend of magic and religion and everything in-between. This book has a very unforgiving learning curve, and a few of the aspects just didn’t sit well with me, but overall I did enjoy this one.

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3) by Seanan McGuire – ★★★★★
This is another amazing installment in the Wayward Children series and it starts out right back at Eleanor West’s magical boarding school. And this book heavily centers around one of my favorite characters from Every Heart a Doorway, Sumi! From race, to sexuality, to mental illnesses, to body representation, to physical disabilities, to religious representation, this series has it all. And it’s seamlessly woven and never feels exploitative.

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff – ★★★★★
Yes, I finally read it! And you guys were right, I loved it. This story reads like a dark version of Harry Potter, to me. From the boarding school aspect, to the magic, to how they travel through the world, to the professors and their different classes, so much of this book reminds me of the wizarding world. I can’t wait to read Godsgrave next month!

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1) by Libba Bray – ★
This was, hands down, the worst book I’ve read maybe all year. This book is extremely racist, homophobic, misogynistic, and loves to fat and slut shame constantly. This book, like Nevernight, is also set in a spooky boarding school setting, but nothing happens until the last 100 pages, and by that point I was too offended and bored to even care.

The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones – ★★★
This is a story about a girl named Dee that is struggling with abuse and anxiety from her family. She lives in a boarding school and she can see demons. One day, she decides to make a deal with one. This was a super important read that talks heavily on parental abuse, and how it can be so much more than just physical. Abuse takes many forms, and even though physical abuse is shown here, too, this book also shows a very realistic depiction of having parents who are alcoholics. There are so many parents out there that truly pick the contents of a bottle over their families, and it’s something that’s not depicted much in YA, but this book puts it on display.

Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt – ★★★
I needed something that would be a fast, fluffy, and immersive read that would make me happy, so I picked up Paper Princess and it totally did the trick! I really enjoyed it, even though there are a lot of problematic things that I listed in my review. This is a rags to riches story, about a girl who wants nothing more than to be safe and stable, who grew up on the streets and is now thrust in the limelight of money. Also, this book has a few pretty good steamy scenes. I totally recommend this if you’re looking for a sexy new NA read.

Broken Prince (The Royals, #2) by Erin Watt – ★★
And I immediately jumped right into the next book, which wasn’t as good as Paper Princess! Plus, all of the problematic content and the glorifying of bullying and violence in general was at the forefront, so it really was just a much less enjoyable read. The series also derailed a little bit, into a territory that felt very much like I was watching a soap opera with my grandmother, but it was still an enjoyable ride!

Twisted Palace (The Royals, #3) by Erin Watt – ★★
And then I just decided to binge the whole series, because why not? I mean, who has strict reading lists and TBR timelines for all your ARCs? Oh, wait, I do. But this series was such a mindless, but addicting, read that brought me so much happiness. I’m not even mad. And I know that a two star rating doesn’t seem that great, but I did enjoy this series and truly couldn’t put any of them down.

October was also a special month for me, because I was able to attend the Goodreads Power User Summit! I got to connect with so many readers, reviewers, and just book lovers in general and it was such an amazing experience. Plus, it was my very first time in San Francisco, and I hope that I am able to return very soon!


I’m not sure if November will be able to beat this month for me, but I’m going to try! I also have a special trip planned for November that I can’t wait to share with you guys! I hope you all had an amazing October, and I hope you’re all having amazing celebrations tonight for Halloween! Happy reading, loves. 🍂🎃💛

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A Monstrous Love: Two Halloween Romances by Magen Cubed


Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you all have a fun and safe time tonight! 👻🎃🍂

And what better way to celebrate Halloween than to review two short stories about monstrous girls in love that is FREE right now!

And by short stories, I truly mean short stories. Like, you can finish both of these tales in fifteen minutes tops! But they will both completely get you into the Halloween mood, so I totally recommend reading before you guys go out tonight!

The HAUNTING OF DIVINIA – This story stars a girl who recently moved into a new home, but a ghost has seemed to follow her. This story unexpectedly hit me pretty hard and I think has a beautiful message about grief and carrying pain that is more than words can express. Also, spooky haunted new house and a ghost!

TASTE – This story feels much more in the horror vein, and has to do with two girlfriends enjoying a lovely meal. This is the much more creepy story, and it might have been a little predictable for me, but I still really enjoyed it!

Again, these are both very short stories, but they both feel so very eerie and were exactly what I was looking to read today on Halloween! And like, I always want to read about queer monster girls, let’s be real. Happy Halloween, guys! Stay safe and spooky!

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Buddy read with my favorites beautiful queer spooky girls: Elise & Destiny! ❤

Twisted Palace (The Royals, #3) by Erin Watt

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1.) Paper Princess ★★★
2.) Broken Prince ★★

Man, oh, man! That was quite the ride! And, I know that you guys are probably thinking I’m going to be negative because of the two star rating, but I honestly got so much enjoyment from this series.

Twisted Palace is the third book and concluding arc for Reed and Ella’s storyline! At least, I think, because a few of my friends have notified me that Fallen Heir is all about Easton (my favorite Royal, hands down)! So, you guys are safe on putting bets down that I will binge that book immediately after Halloween!

And this book immediately picks up where Broken Prince’s cliffhanger left off! Ella and Reed’s relationship is definitely put to the test, and the soap opera twists never cease to continue! Drama ensues, and never stops ensuing if I’m being honest, but I am very much satisfied with the ending of this book, even if there were a few convenient loose ends.

I’ve stated in both of my reviews for Paper Princess and Broken Prince that this series has a lot of problematic elements that I know many of my bookish friends wouldn’t enjoy. And trigger warnings: losing a parent, underage sexual content (17), physical abuse, sexual assault, attempted rape, underage drinking, drug use, addiction, a lot of slut shaming, and a lot of toxic male masculinity. So please use caution before going into this book.

And even though the main protagonists in this series are in high school, this is not a YA book in the slightest! This is NA and has a lot of sexual and erotic scenes that should only be read by mature audiences. So please use caution when starting any of these books.

Overall, I really enjoyed these three books, even with giving the last two only two stars each. These are the perfect fluffy, addicting reads and at this point I truly will auto buy everything that Elle Kennedy has a part in, because her stories are always magic. Maybe magic with a little toxic male masculinity with some problematic content, but addicting magic none the less!

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October 2017 Book Haul

Okay, so I went a little overboard in October! For one, Tor was super kind (like always) and sent me an amazing package with four very anticipated titles! Then, I went to the Goodreads Power User Summit and they were constantly trying to get you to take their books, so a few ended up in my hands and have now set up home in my library! And then the special editions of my favorites books keep coming out! And how can I say no to anniversary editions of my favorite books? Answer: I can’t! I simply can’t! So, I hope you all enjoy this October book haul and don’t judge me too much! 🍂🎃💛

PHYSICAL ARCS:


The Lucky Ones | The Hazel Wood | Ruin of Angels | The Red Threads of Fortune
| The Armored Saint | Beneath the Sugar Sky

…AND (IT CAME LATE):

Into the Drowning Deep

NETGALLEY ARCS:


The Girl in the Tower | Weaver’s Lament

EDELWEISS ARCS:


Everless | The Queen’s Rising | Inkmistress | Sinless

PURCHASED EBOOKS:


Hideaway | A Love Letter to Whiskey

PURCHASED PHYSICAL BOOKS:


Harry Potter and the Prisoner and Azkaban | Monstress, Vol. 2 | ODY-C, Vol. 1 | Snotgirl, Vol. 1 | The Language of Thorns | Shadowblack | The Name of the Wind | Hunting Prince Dracula | Stalking Jack the Ripper | All the Crooked Saints | The Secret History

BOOK SUBSCRIPTION BOXES:


Wild Beauty

GOODREADS POWER USER SUMMIT:


The Bear and the Nightingale | The Collapsing Empire | Spellbook of the Lost and Found | Without Merit

Okay, I think that’s everything! Yeah, I went overboard, but what’s new, I guess? I hope you guys have an amazing and safe Halloween tomorrow! And I hope your October was filled with just as many good books as mine was! Happy reading, loves! 🍂🎃💛

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Broken Prince (The Royals, #2) by Erin Watt

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1.) Paper Princess ★★★

Broken Prince is much worse than Paper Princess in every way, but it was still an addictive read that I couldn’t put down. Again, I was having a rough couple of days and just wanted to read a really fast story that I didn’t really have to think about, and this series totally fits that bill.

This book starts off right where Paper Princess left off, and I mean right off, so thank the Lord for not having to wait for explanation to that terrible cliffhanger, but Reed’s reaction was just so lame, I’m sorry. We get to see the angst ensue for over fifty percent of this book, while also seeing Reed beg for Ella to forgive him for his gross actions, and then the real story gets started. It’s too bad that the real story is improbable that I felt like I was watching The Bold and The Beautiful with my Grandma back in Flint, Michigan.

Plus, this book is hella problematic and not only condones violence, but constantly reinforces that violence will solve your problems and you’ll get away with doing shitty things. The topic of bullying is never really challenged, and it made this installment in this series much less enjoyably for me. Also, trigger warnings for losing a parent, underage sexual content (17), physical abuse, sexual assault, attempted rape, underage drinking, drug use, addiction, a lot of slut shaming, and a lot of toxic male masculinity. So please use caution before going into this book.

And most importantly: This series is NOT YA! This story definitely deals with seventeen and eighteen year-olds that are still in high school, but I would still consider this NA, because of the very mature themes and because of all the sexual content. So, again, please use caution.

Also, because I know most of you follow me for my fantasy reviews, I always feel it necessary to state that I rate erotic books differently than other books! I know many of the relationships are toxic and problematic and I completely understand that they wouldn’t be the healthiest and/or most ideal of starts for people in real life, but I love steamy reads and I rate them purely off my enjoyment, yet this still got only two stars from me, because it became the equivalent to a soap opera in every way.

Like, the twists were just too damn unbelievable that I had to laugh out loud numerous times. And I mean, like, I was witch cackling at the absurdity. And even though Paper Princess had a heart wrenching cliffhanger from hell, Broken Prince had the most annoying and outlandish cliffhanger of all time.

Overall, I still recommend this series if you’re looking for a quick and easy series that is honestly enjoyable. Unfortunately, I just enjoyed this one more for the laughs than for the sexy time. I obviously don’t hate this series, or I wouldn’t be happily binging the entire thing, but there is a lot of uncontested problematic content, on top of some of the plot being downright unbelievable.

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The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

This was in the August 2017 OwlCrate box!

“A demon as knitting outside the hospital.”

This has so much good, I really enjoyed reading it, and I wish I could put this in the hands of a lot of teens that I know need it.

The Hearts We Sold is a story about a girl named Dee that is struggling with abuse and anxiety from her family. She lives in a boarding school that keeps her in a much healthier situation, but the fear never leaves her and it impacts her day to day life constantly.

This story is set in Portland, Oregon, but in this world everyone is aware that demons exist. People in this world make deals with them, and in exchange for some body part, they will grant them something in return. And the demons only show themselves to the people who need them. Dee has been seeing demons for a long time. And you guys can read the title of the book, you can probably guess what hijinks ensue!

Half way through I thought this was going to be a five star read, but then one of the side characters did something pretty shitty, and no one ever talks about it, and it sort of ruined the story for me. Also, this story took a very unexpected turn in general that I’m not sure if I liked. I did, however, really enjoy the conclusion. So, what I’m long windedly trying to say is that the start of this book is amazing, and the end of this book is oh so beautiful, but the middle lost me a bit.

This book talks heavily on parental abuse, and how it can be so much more than just physical. Abuse takes many forms, and even though physical abuse is shown here, too, this book also shows a very realistic depiction of having parents who are alcoholics. There are so many parents out there that truly pick the contents of a bottle over their families, and it’s something that’s not depicted much in YA, but The Hearts We Sold puts it on display.

It also talks about how your parents’ problems are not yours, and how important it is to get away from the situation. I know not everyone can get away, but you can’t be stuck because you must take care of your abusers, even though that’s a very real reality for so many. But go into this book knowing that some of the scenes involving Dee interacting with her family aren’t the easiest. This book made me ugly cry quite a few times.

“This must be why the demon took their hearts. Because it was the only way a human might survive this—by hollowing themselves out.”

Not only does this book handle a very tough topic very well, it also has some great representation. There is a main side character who is a lesbian and was my absolute favorite. I really appreciated how she had a happy coming out story, because that’s something that I was so very blessed enough to have, also, and all I want in this world is to see more happier coming out stories that aren’t always tragedies. Then, a bit later in the story, we get a trans side character who I also fell in love with. And I touched on this before, but this book has such great anxiety representation, too.

This book is also an ode to found families and how important it is to find people that unconditionally love you. Blood is just that, blood, but choosing to spend your days with people who unconditionally love and support you is the true meaning of family, and Dee beautifully learns this.

Overall, this book is important, and even though I didn’t personally love the story as much as I hoped I would, I would still recommend this with every bone in my body.

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Buddy Read with Destiny & Elise! ❤

Paper Princess (The Royals, #1) by Erin Watt (Elle Kennedy & Jen Frederick)

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I was having a rough two days mental health wise, so I just wanted to drop everything on my TBR and read something I didn’t really have to think about, but I knew I’d probably enjoy. I wanted something fast paced, with an addicting story, and maybe some sexy times, and Paper Princess was the perfect pick for me.

By looking at some of my friends’ reviews I feel like I really need to say that this is not a YA book in the slightest! This is NA and has a lot of sexual scenes that should only be read by mature audiences! This has many erotic scenes and for sure should have a sexual content warning.

As for trigger warnings: losing a parent, underage sexual content (17), physical abuse, sexual assault, attempted rape, underage drinking, drug use, addiction, a lot of slut shaming, and a lot of toxic male masculinity. So please use caution before going into this book.

And there are a lot of weird gender role expectations in this book, too. Like, the main female protagonist has to cook spaghetti because they boys can’t figure it out. And then, later, she can’t figure out the football teams, but she brings up the lion on the helmet. There are more of these instances sprinkled throughout the book, and I wasn’t offended, it just feels… not so great reading.

Also, because I know most of you follow me for my fantasy reviews, I always feel it necessary to state that I rate erotic books differently than other books! I know many of the relationships are toxic and problematic and I completely understand that they wouldn’t be the healthiest and/or most ideal of starts for people in real life, but I love steamy reads and I rate them purely off my enjoyment, and I truly did enjoy Paper Princess.

Paper Princess is cowritten by Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick under the pseudonym Erin Watt. And Elle Kennedy has written one of my favorite NA series of all time, the Off-Campus series, so I knew I had to eventually try out this series, too. And I’m so happy that I finally did.

And Paper Princess stars a young girl named Ella, who has only known a life of jumping from new city to new city where her and her mom can barely make ends meet. But after her mother’s death, Ella is trying to survive on her own. And all she wants to do is get a high school diploma, so she can go to college and eventually give herself a stable life.

Then, a man appears out of nowhere, claiming to be her mystery father’s best friend and business partner. He promises to give Ella a better life, because her father, too, has tragically just passed away.

Ella is then thrown into the Royal family, where the man that is trying to help her also has five sons himself. And let’s just say that they are not the most open to the idea of their father taking in a random girl. And they all basically just think the absolute worst of Ella, right off the bat.

“You may have lost your family, but you’re not alone anymore, Ella. You’re a Royal now.”

Ella is quickly thrown into the world of prep schools and old money, while she is dealing with the grief of losing her mother, and the hope of starting a better life.

I’m not going to say this book is perfect, it’s far from it, but I read this in one sitting because I truly just couldn’t put it down. The romance is amazing, the angst is out of this world, and I’m just a sucker for a good hate to love relationship and this one doesn’t disappoint.

Also, I need to start Broken Prince immediately, because Paper Princess ends on maybe the worst cliffhanger I’ve ever read in my entire life.

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Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

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“The last thing you will ever be in this world, girl, is someone’s hero. But you will be a girl heroes fear.”

I feel like this book is extremely polarizing but if you love it, you will love it completely and whole heartedly. If you love it, you won’t be able to put it down. If you love it, you will probably consider it one of the best book you’ll read all year. And I loved it. I loved it so much. Even though, when I look through my friends’ reviews, I feel like I’m in the minority. But for me, Nevernight is worth all of the hype.

I will say that I personally feel like this is an adult fantasy novel, not a YA fantasy novel, despite the characters age. There is sex, a lot of sex, and violence, a whole lot of violence, and gore, don’t forget all of the gore! So please go into this book knowing this, and knowing that this is a very mature book in general.

Also, before I get into my review, I want to address the problematic, hurtful, and harmful representation of the Māori people (the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand) that Jay Kristoff was inspired to base the Dweymeri race in this book from. Jay has stated, “the tatts aren’t based off Māori designs” but it still feels a little bad while you’re reading this story, even if the Dweymeri are not direct representatives of the Māori. I just think it’s important to bring this discussion up and I want everyone to know about this controversy surrounding the portrayal of this culture. I, also, do not want anyone to think that I’m making excuses for it, because I am definitely not even though I did love this book. Cultural appropriation and reinforcing stereotypes will never be okay and I truly wish this element was not a part of this book, but it is, and I’m not going to not bring it to your attention whether you believe it is or not.

Nevernight is a story about a sixteen-year-old girl named Mia Corvere, who is on a mission for vengeance and to right the wrong that has been done to her family in the only way she knows how: killing everyone. Mia find her way into the Red Church, who worship the Goddess of murder, where she is training to become one of the deadliest assassins of all time. Also, Mia has an affinity for the shadows, which not only grants her the only companion she has ever known, but also sends her on a quest to discover more about her powers and who she really is.

“The brighter the light, the deeper the shadows”

This story reads like a dark version of Harry Potter, to me. From the boarding school aspect, to the magic, to how they travel through the world, to the professors and their different classes, so much of this book reminds me of the wizarding world.

And even though this is a series, there is no real cliffhanger (even though you will be left wanting more), this is a full standing book that has an amazing story and that you could just read on its own. I’m not sure the last time I read a book in a fantasy series that did that.

This book is so sex positive, and the opening chapter of this book was so beautifully done. It is one of my favorite first chapters of all time, and I think Jay Kristoff is nothing short of a genius to have been able to write a juxtaposition that well. I mean, Jay’s writing is lyrical and beautiful, too, but it’s so damn smart that I can’t help but be in awe of this story he has crafted.

And Mia’s bisexuality is so beautifully on display. Like, all I want in my reading life is girl assassins loving each other and saving the world, and this book doesn’t disappoint, even though the main “love” story is hetero. We need more stories with queer main protagonists that are normalized and just having their adventures and story told without a coming out story or an explanation on why they feel the way they do. Again, Jay Kristoff gets all the kudos and credit.

I always pride myself in being able to see the twists coming, and I was completely blindsided by the end reveal of Nevernight! Also, for those of you who have finished, I will go down with that hate to love ship. I. WILL. GO. DOWN. WITH. THAT. SHIP.

And finally, if you find yourself loving this series and wanting more, I can’t recommend Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister enough! It’s a very reminiscent story, with perhaps more violence, but with definitely less sex, and both star queer assassin nun-like characters who study at a church.

Nevernight was everything that I never knew I wanted, and it is totally just as amazing as some of the most popular and highly acclaimed adult fantasy series out there. This novel meant so very much to me, and I cannot wait to start Godsgrave as soon as humanly possible! Happy reading, everyone!

“The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us. I can see it in you, sure as I see it in me. You’re a daughter of words. A girl with a story to tell.”

 


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Buddy read with Katherine, Jules, & Paloma! ❤

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) by Libba Bray

 Buddy Read with some amazing ladies and a traveling book, hosted by Julie over at Pages and Pens! ❤

A Great and Terrible Beauty is exactly why I am scared to read earlier decade(s) published novels that I remember were super hyped and popular. This also reads just like an early 2000s novel, with all the problematic content being there.

The basic premise of this book is a young girl named Gemma Doyle, is whisked away to a London boarding school after the death of her mother. Before her mother’s death, she is given a necklace and she is forced to realize that she is way more important and special than she ever thought! She’s the hero that can heal the realms and save the world!

Then, at the boarding school that is meant to turn these girls into desirable young ladies to be married off, Gemma falls into a group with three other girls. Basically, the four girls start out like the cast of Mean Girls (Gemma = Cady, Felicity = Regina, Pippa = Gretchen, Ann = Karen) and events quickly escalate to them becoming the cast of The Craft (Gemma = Sarah, Felicity = Nancy, Pippa = Rochelle, Ann = Bonnie). Also, let the record state that I absolutely love Mean Girls and The Craft and this book is lesser in every single aspect, but the parallels are there.

This book is extremely racist and homophobic, but it’s painted in a way that says, “This is just how it was back in 1895!” and it feels extremely bad to read. And even though this is supposed to be a book about four friends coming together and forming a secret order, I feel like the term friends should be used very loosely. There is so much catty girl hate in this book, that I truly believe my younger self would have hated this just as much in 2005 if I read it.

And the fat shaming is constant. It actually grosses me out to think about how many people read this book, read all these terrible and hurtful passages vilifying girls because they aren’t stick thin, and thought this book was okay. And how this book handles self-harm is always disgusting.

Also, to touch upon the racism more, the male love interest is from India and is constantly fetishized for being not white. His exoticness is constantly brought up and Gemma is shamed by herself and her peers for liking him. Also, the word G*psy is used constantly, and the Romani people in general are one big stereotype that is painful to read.

There are also a ton of misogynistic comments, but the book tries to battle those a bit. I’ve had many people tell me that Libba Bray is a feminist writer, but this is the perfect example of what white feminism looks like. Like, this was a fucking mess. And a late 1800s setting doesn’t excuse it.

Trigger warnings for self-harm, suicide, murder, animal cruelty, substance abuse and everything offensive under the sun.

As for positive things I can say, I will say that this was an extremely fast read! Even with this being 400 pages, I read this quickly within two days. And each chapter does end in a way that makes you want to read more.

I also really enjoyed the atmosphere of this book, especially during the Halloween season. It’s a super old and creepy boarding school, with mysteries and magic surrounding it constantly! I mean, the setting was eerie and amazing. And even though nothing much happens until the last 100 pages, this book still feels spooky.

This is just my personal opinion, and I hope you all will respect that. Also, if this is one of your favorite books then I am happy you found enjoyment from it. Overall, for me, I was super disappointed to read this. Especially because this was my first time participating in a traveling book club! But it is what it is, and I will never support a book with this much problematic and offensive content, regardless the year it was published.

This book should just be renamed to A Terrible Gemma Doyle.

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Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3) by Seanan McGuire

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ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review.

1.) Every Heart a Doorway ★★★★★
2.) Down Among the Sticks and Bones ★★★★★

This is my 100th review of 2017! And I couldn’t have picked a better book! Beneath the Sugar Sky is another amazing installment in the Wayward Children series and it starts out right back at Eleanor West’s magical boarding school. And this book heavily centers around one of my favorite characters from Every Heart a Doorway, Sumi!

“There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door.”

This series is a portal fantasy, that surrounds kids that have traveled to magical lands, but somehow found their way back to our world. For the most part, the kids want to go back to their magical lands, so they reside at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, while waiting and hoping for their door to reappear for them. In this story, we get to see a lot of different portal worlds. And we get to see many beloved and familiar faces, while also learning about some new characters and their different magical worlds.

“Nobody promised me a happy ending. They didn’t even promise me a happy existence.”

(Breathtaking art by the amazing Rovina Cai!)

In Beneath the Sugar Sky we follow five kids on an adventure:
Cora – plus sized, has anxiety, from the Land Beneath the Lake, which is a Mermaid land!
Nadya – missing an arm, from Belyyreka, a Drowned World.
Christopher – Mexican-American, had cancer, from Mariposa, a skeleton Underworld.
Rini – Japanese, from Confection.
Kade – Trans, from a warring Fairyland! (Full disclosure, Kade has been my favorite character since the very first book in this series. His story speaks to the very essence of my heart, and I love everything about him. Kade is one of the best characters in all of literature, and I wish everyone could read about him and his journey, and I just had to emphasize how very important he is to me.)

“It took me years of saving a world that stopped wanting me when I changed my pronouns to figure it out.”

And even though we dabble in many portal worlds, this story mostly takes place in Confection, which is pretty much a real-life version of Candy Land. It’s sugar, it’s sweet, and it’s downright dangerous.

And as you can probably tell from my breakdown above, every book is this series has amazing diversity and representation, and this book is no different. From race, to sexuality, to mental illnesses, to body representation, to physical disabilities, to religious representation, this series has it all. And it’s seamlessly woven and never feels exploitative. And this particular book has the best overweight representation I’ve ever read, or even seen, in my entire life.

“She’d heard that sort of hatred before, always from the women in her Weight Watchers groups, or at Overeaters Anonymous, the ones who had starved themselves into thinness and somehow failed to find the promised land of happy acceptance that they had always been told waited for them on the other side of the scale.”

This book is a masterpiece that I feel so very privileged and blessed to be able to read. This book is the perfect mixture of whimsical and important. This book is about acceptance and love, and how we all are always on a search for it. And I hope you all pick this book up come January of 2018.

This series means so much to me that I feel like I’m at a loss for words. I’ve never read anything like this before, and I can’t sing this series’ praises enough! I love this world, and I recommend these books with my whole heart. Thank you, Seanan McGuire, for writing a once in a lifetime series that means so much to so many! I will cherish this series for my entire life.

And I can’t wait to see what’s next.

“Just keep getting through until you don’t have to do it anymore, however much time that takes, however difficult it is.”


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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.