Top Ten Tuesday | Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump

 

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

Hey, my loves! So, this week’s prompt is “Books to Pull You Out of a Reading Slump” which also means “Melanie tells you her favorite romances” because absolutely nothing pulls me out of a reading slump the way that a good, sexy, romance will. And here are ten romances that I loved so very much, all of which I’ve read in 2018! 💕


The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy

Elle Kennedy and her steamy hockey romances are back. And, like, what a damn blessing. This is the happiest I’ve been reading a book all damn year. These new characters completely won me over. All the cameos from the people we already love were perfection. The banter and jokes literally had my sides hurting from giggling. And, this book actually had some really important topics like ADHD and how learning disabilities can impact you in college, how growing up in the middle of abusive parents can have detrimental effects, how judging people based off their looks is really gross, and how you should always go with your gut feeling, especially when it comes to creepy men in a position of power. You all, I loved this.


The King of Bourbon Street (NOLA Nights #1) by Thea de Salle

This was nothing short of a treat to read. It had me smiling, it had me laughing, and it had me happy from first to last page. Plus, this book was so damn sexy! And it had so much good body, sexual, and race representation! But if you’re looking for a steamy romance read, that’s different than so much out there, I completely recommend picking this one up! Also, this one is easily the most steamy on the list!!


A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2) by Alyssa Cole

Friends, this was nothing short of pure joy to read. Please, if you’re looking for a heartwarming, funny, and expertly crafted romance, please look no further. This book also has a main character that is discovering her ADHD. And this is an ownvoices romance about a black woman, falling in love with a biracial (Chilean and Scottish) swordsmith in Scotland. Do I really need to say anything else?


Filthy Gods (American Gods 0.5) by R. Scarlett

Filthy Gods has the atmosphere and feeling of The Secret History, but the romance and the sexiness of nothing else I’ve read before. Best new adult romance I’ve read all year. And my heart breaks that it’s only a novella, because I need so much more. This was sexy, and romantic. This was so beautifully written and expertly crafted. This was nothing short of a treat to read. I cannot wait to see what R. Scarlett does next with this world. But if you guys are looking for the perfect little romance story, I can’t recommend this enough!


Kissing Tolstoy (Dear Professor #1) by Penny Reid

Holy adorable, this was the cutest. This is a fluffy, but sexy, short, little romance, that centers around two people and their love for Russian literature! Plus, there is some good rep in this short little story, too. Our main character is biracial (Nigerian) and has pretty severe anxiety that is shown throughout this book. And beyond anything else I could say that would maybe entice you to pick this book up; this book is about a girl who loves books, and reading, and stories. Books are a constant theme of this novella, and this truly reads like a love letter to literature


The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

While Drew and Alexa are stranded, and bonding over crackers and expensive cheese that Alexa had in her purse because she’s my damn idol, Drew realizes that Alexa might just make the perfect wedding date to the wedding he is dreading. This is also an ownvoices novel with a black female protagonist, who is starting a relationship with a white male that doesn’t quite understand his privilege. But Alexa is my queen and checks him and it throughout this amazing romance book.


LONG SHOT (A HOOPS Novel) by Kennedy Ryan

Long Shot is a basketball, sort of second chance romance that starts with one night at a bar that changes two people’s lives forever. And I love this book so damn much. But I really want to emphasize that this is a book about abuse and what it is like to be in a very dangerous and abusive relationship. MAJOR trigger and content warnings for a lot of graphic rape, stalking, being trapped, and a lot of very graphic physical, emotional, and mental abuse. This read is not easy or light, but it very importantly talks about taking back your own body after someone has been forcefully taking it for so long. This is also an ownvoices for the two black main characters that the points of view shift between.


Hate to Want You (Forbidden Hearts #1) by Alisha Rai

This was a damn treat to read. One of my favorite second chance romances of all time. Never have I ever read such a sexy book, that constantly emphasizes the importance (and sexiness) of consent! On top of the fact that this book has some amazing diversity from most of the cast of characters, but it also showcases an Asian main character who is living with her depression and who loves her soft body completely and unapologetically. I loved this. Absolutely loved this. And I completely recommend this to every romance reader.


The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

This is an ownvoices novel about a high-functioning autistic woman who has succeeded in every aspect of her life, except for love. Her mother is putting pressure on her to find someone and start thinking about family, now that she turned thirty. Plus, Stella is kind of lonely anyway, and as much as she loves throwing herself into her work, she wants to spend her life with someone who she can completely be herself with. The problem is, Stella thinks her autism makes her unable to successfully date, and maybe even unable to be good at/enjoy sex. So, she hires the dreamiest escort to help her! And I just loved Stella Lane as a character. She is actually probably my favorite heroine of 2018. Not only does she know who she is, she refuses to change for anyone, even the guy she has fallen in love with. I had happy tears in my eyes so much while reading this, and it was mostly just because I was so proud of her. Michael might be most people’s wet dream, but Stella felt like the character I’ve been searching literature for forever.


The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

I feel like this book was very catered to my personal tastes, and I’ll go into that more in the review, but The Simple Wild is currently my favorite romance of 2018. The writing, the setting, the messages, the romance? It was all perfect in my eyes. The setting was absolutely perfect and so very atmospheric. I loved the romance more than any word combination I could come up with. I loved the message of living your life to the fullest, and the theme of found families always being better than family of origin. Also, I’m just saying that I’ve read 120 books this year, and Jonah is the only fictional dude character that I would personally let get it. Goodbye.


Okay, friends! I hope you enjoyed these romance recommendations from 2018! I swear, nothing ever gets me out of slumps except for romance. It also doesn’t hurt that I’ve been reading a ton of it this summer. ALSO – TODAY IS THE START OF MY BIRTHDAY BUDDY READ! So, extra happy reading if you’re able to buddy read with me today! Muahaha! I love you all! 💕

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Seafire (Seafire #1) by Natalie C. Parker

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ARC provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

“Never underestimate the girls of this world”

And the award for best prologue of 2018 goes to Seafire! Seriously this prologue was beyond words amazing. It not only made me feel every single emotion under the sun, but it had me on the edge of my seat for the entire twenty pages. Perfection, seriously perfection. And such a wonderful way to start this amazing story!

I hate comparing books, especially two new releases, but Seafire is everything that I wish These Rebel Waves was. Pirates, the open sea, a beautiful f/f side romance, a found family of girls who feel lost, but come together to create something so powerful. You all, I loved this book.

Seafire stars a young pirate crew leader named Caledonia, and her first mate Pisces, as they are picking up the pieces of something catastrophic that happened four years ago. And during those long, four years, they have found a family of fifty-two girls who they sail the waters with. And all of these girls are willing to do anything to protect their captain and their crew.

In this world, a mysterious man named Aric rules the water! He has fleets upon fleets all under his control, and rules most of the ports with his power. He also takes and receives boys from all around the waters and trains them to become Bullets, who are as cutthroat as they come. And Caledonia and her crew know to never believe a word that any of them say, because they are also as untrustworthy as they come, too.

That is, until the day one saves Pisces from death, betrays his crew of Bullets, and is brought on to Caledonia’s ship. His name is Oran and despite his good deed Cal and her crew want to throw him overboard. Yet, he is harboring information that completely changes everything that Caledonia and Pisces have ever believed. And they are forced to risk it all on the word of one Bullet, who they have spent their entire lives promising to never trust.

Seafire has some really amazing themes on top of this amazing story, too. I know I touched on this briefly above, but the found family in this book is so damn beautiful. Probably one of my favorites I’ve ever read, and that’s really saying something. There is also a constant and underlying message of how people shouldn’t be judged by the mistakes or actions of their family, both blood and found.

“Our first family shall not be our last.”

Also, give me an entire book just about Hime and Amina, because I am weak and in love with them being in love. Seriously, I was living for these side characters and their love for one another. And Hime also uses sign language to communicate with the crew and is dealing with a tremendous amount of PTSD from her past. Needless to say, at this point in my life, I would completely die for this fictional pirate baby. Thank you.

Overall, I loved this. I had such an amazing time while reading, and I truly never wanted to put this book down. From the addictive writing, to the captivating setting, to the heartwarming girls, to the heartbreaking twists; I loved it all. I think this book is going to be a complete hit upon release, and I recommend it with my whole heart. Well, what’s left of it after the ending of this book. Seriously, I need the next installment immediately!


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

Content and trigger warnings for murder, death, grief depiction, physical abuse, captivity, loss of a loved one, violence, and many battle scenes.

Buddy read with Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills & Lilly at Lair of Books! ❤

Batman: Nightwalker (DC Icons, #2) by Marie Lu

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo ★★★

“I can’t think of a story where the billionaire and the murderer end up happily ever after.”

I am not the biggest superhero fan, but I will admit I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Batman. And you all? I honestly loved this. Also, I’ve never read anything by Marie Lu before (I know, I can’t believe it either, honestly) but now I plan on devouring everything, because I completely connected with this writing style and I never wanted to put this book down.

This is a new take on Bruce Wayne’s origin story of becoming the one and only Batman. Bruce and his friends are finishing up their senior year in high school, he is still heavily impacted by the loss of his parents at such a young age, but he is trying to live a life they would be proud of. That all changes on his eighteenth birthday when he ends up in trouble with the law after trying to help them catch one of the elusive Nightwalkers who have started to plague the streets of Gotham City.

And his punishment requires him to do community service in none other than Arkham Asylum. And there he meets a girl that is his age, that is being held with the most dangerous villains that have been captured. Madeleine Wallace is harboring many of her own secrets from her own past and refuses to talk to any of the officers or investigators. That is, until she meets Bruce Wayne and they both realize that they may have a lot in common, even though they handled their situations very differently.

“You have a heavy heart, for someone with everything.”

You all, I was losing my damn mind over this romance. This is a relatively short book, and a standalone, yet I was literally hooked from the chemistry between Bruce and Madeleine. I was so in love with the romance in this book. Like, I need more. Please!

And Madeleine beautifully makes Bruce check his privilege. From being white, healthy, well-educated, and immensely rich, she lets him know that others don’t have that luxury or the free-passes he has received his entire life. This book also talks about how prisons are honestly an industry in the United States. As horrible as that sounds, that’s a reality. And it’s a chain that is never ending, and honestly just another name for slavery. And privately-owned companies are profiting. This book also touches on the shitty healthcare we have in the United States and how much privilege comes with even getting decent treatment. Bless Marie Lu for somehow weaving this all into a damn action-packed, YA, Batman origin story. Seriously.

“If you weren’t so rich and white and famous? Would you be the same person you are today? Or would you see justice differently? Do you think we all walk through the world with the same privileges as you?”

One of my other favorite parts of this book were all the cameos! Alfred, Harvey, Lucius, and more I’m sure! Especially Harvey Dent, like what a perfect and important way his character was depicted in this rendition. And it just warmed my heart each time these characters were in a scene. And I think in general the tone of this book is perfect. Like, Marie Lu seriously made everything feel so “authentic” and I constantly felt like I was truly teleported to Gotham City.

Okay, so, why four stars and not five after I fangirled so hard? Honestly, it’s because the basic premise is just too unbelievable for me. Like, this book has so much good, and I truly loved this origin story more than words. But, like, there is no way that an eighteen-year-old, especially a rich, white, boy, would be sentenced to do community service in a place like Arkham Asylum! Like, I can’t. But if you ignore that, this is honestly a five star read for me.

Overall, this book was one of the most fun reads I’ve had in 2018, and I’m so happy I picked it up before Catwoman: Soulstealer, that comes out next month! Seriously, friends, don’t sleep on this. Also, Marie Lu not only solidified that Batman is seriously one of the best superheroes out there, she has made a new fan for life.


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Trigger and content warnings for a lot of blood depictions, loss of parents, suicide, talk of parental abuse, talk of alcoholism, violence in general and murder.

Buddy read with Alexis at The Sloth Reader! ❤

Down the TBR Hole #7

Down the TBR Hole was originally created by Lost in a Story! The point of it is to help cull your reading lists down, or maybe push higher anticipated releases up on your TBR! And maybe you all can help me along the way, and tell me if you’ve loved or hated any of these!


How it works:
➽ Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
➽ Order on ascending date added.
➽ Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
➽ Read the synopses of the books
➽ Decide: keep it or should it go?


Hey, loves! I am super hyped for most of these books, and a tad bit sentimental about a few! So, like always, if you guys could give me your opinions, I’d love you forever! (Spoiler alert: I’d love you forever anyways!)

The Six Books:

Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones
I don’t know how I haven’t read this beloved book yet. I have seen a movie adaptation of it that I completely love. And for that reason alone, I won’t take it off my TBR! But you all should let me know if I should boost it higher, so it won’t be on my TBR for another two years unread!
Verdict: Keep ✅

Of Blood and Honey (The Fey and the Fallen #1) by Stina Leicht
You know, I don’t know anything about this book or this author, but looking at the series title: IT LOOKS FAE TO ME! Which means, I’m keeping this one forever, too! I’m sick, ya’ll! But seriously, if you’ve read this – please let me know what you thought!
Verdict: Keep ✅

The Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher
This is something very few of my friends have read, but the ones that have completely love it. I believe it’s a super dark fairy-tale retelling of Bluebeard. And I don’t think I need any other justification for keeping it on my TBR!
Verdict: Keep ✅

Swordspoint (The World of Riverside #1) by Ellen Kushner
Okay, so this book is older than me, but it’s supposed to be queer fantasy, which is something I am always here for.
Verdict: Keep ✅

Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters #1) by Juliet Marillier
I touched upon this in an early Down the TBR Hole post, but I love Juliet Marillier’s books! I wish I had more time to completely devour her entire back-list! One day, one day my friends!
Verdict: Keep ✅

Little, Big by John Crowley
This is the hardest one, because this totally isn’t a book that I would ever pick up! But I bought it from my friend’s blind date with a book Etsy! But… I have to be honest with myself, I’m never going to read this one. Unless, you all can convince me otherwise!
Verdict: Delete ❌


Yay! This was a super positive post this week! My heart is happy! But these are the next oldest six books I have on my TBR! Let me know if you love, hate, and/or recommend me to read or trash any of these books! Thank you all so much, and I hope you’re having the happiest of reading, my loves! 💛✨

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Fence Vol. 1 by C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad

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Friends, I love this story, this art, and these characters with the sum of my being. This is such a diverse cast, from sexuality (seriously, I think everyone is queer), to race, from social and economic backgrounds, to different family dynamics; there is so much to love about Fence. Like, C.S. Pacat’s writing and Johanna the Mad’s art is honestly a match made in Heaven, and these four issues were absolutely perfection.

Fence surrounds a boy’s boarding school, where many of the students are trying out for the fencing team. They all come with different levels of experience, with different strengths and weakness, but they are all competing for one of three open spots on the varsity team. And even though everyone wants to make the team, it is absolutely dire for Nicholas Cox.

“I know I can fence.”

I so very easily fell in love with each and every single one of these characters. And I found these amazing character layouts on C.S. Pacat’s Twitter!

And the “treasure” and “trouble” are honestly a gift from a higher power. And, don’t be me wrong, Nicholas and Seiji and their dynamic is perfection, but I honestly fell the most in love with Harvard and Aiden. Like, I can tell you all right now that that is going to be the ship I go down with. But my favorite character is easily Bobby! He completely made the comic for me, and everything about him just felt like a shining light at this boarding school!

Okay, so like with every graphic novel that I review, I always do a breakdown on my thoughts and feeling of each individual issue. So, the next portion of this review will be a little more SPOILER-Y! Obviously, I won’t give away anything too pivotal, but I will talk about some of the themes that each issue had inside.

Trigger and content warnings for minor bullying and for abandonment.

CHAPTER ONE
Oh my gosh, this first issue was everything! I loved being introduced to these characters, and I loved how Nicholas and Seiji literally first meet because they have to fence one another. I also loved getting to see a little more into Nicholas’ backstory and why he wanted to fence in the first place, and seeing him try to healthily fill that abandonment void with something positive.

CHAPTER TWO
This issue lets the reader see the boarding school that is really going to be the starting point of this story. It is six months since chapter one, and Nicholas is finally at Kings Row Boys School, where he hopes to get a scholarship from making varsity fence. We are introduced to a ton of new amazing characters that completely captured my heart; Bobby, Harvard, Aiden. And seeing the juxtaposition of Nicholas and Jesse Coste was really moving and powerful. I just want the best for my fence babies. Oh, and Nicholas also finds out who his roommate is going to be, and I actually screamed with pure joy.

CHAPTER THREE
We learn in this issue that there are only three available spots on the varsity team. And we also get to see all the people trying out’s different weaknesses and strengths. Nicholas is still hurting from an emotional wound that has never healed his entire life. Seiji still thinks he is God’s gift to fencing. We get introduced to Dante and Kally, who I easily fell in love with, too. And the round robin tournament for the three spots at stake begins.

CHAPTER FOUR
We get to see the fencer’s matches and that’s all I really want to say. But the ending of this bind-up volume was so damn brutal. Like, I need so much more! And I don’t want to way for Volume Two in January. I loved this, and it is easily my favorite graphic novel of 2018, so far.

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The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

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ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review.

“Because in New Orleans, you can’t survive on just dreams.”

The Black God’s Drums is an amazing novella that stars a young girl, Jacquelin AKA: Creeper, living in an alternative historical 1884 New Orleans. Oh, and Creeper also has an African orisha, Oya, living inside her and allowing her to tap into their powers. And even though Creeper is loved in New Orleans by so many people who loved her mother before she passed away, Creeper wants more than New Orleans is willing to give her.

“She said I was Oya’s child – the goddess of storms, life, death, and rebirth, who came over with her great-grandmaman from Lafrik, and who runs strong in our blood.”

And she didn’t get the nickname Creeper for nothing. On top of being blessed by a goddess, she is also sneaky and stealthy, and it completely works to her advantage when she stumbles upon a secret weapon that could alter everyone in New Orleans’ lives forever. But Creeper is also hoping that it will be the ticket that finally gets her out of the city she’s called home forever.

This New Orleans is a free, neutral, and open port even though everything surrounding it is not. Even though this book is set after the American Civil War, we all know that slavery and oppression didn’t go away, it just became different. The same way it’s different in 2018, but it’s still here. And this book really shines a light on that ugly confederate pride that is still alive today. And there is a group called the Jeannots, who will do anything to take back their city, even if it means destroying it.

Trigger and content warnings for slavery, loss of a parent, death, murder, torture, racist comments (always challenged), and war themes.

I loved this book and P. Djèlí Clark is now forever on my auto-buy list. And in this ownvoices novella, the entire cast is black. And the characters in this book are a tier above most, and you can’t help but fall in love with them in only 100 pages! Creeper, Madame Diouf, Anna-Marie (the bi or pan airship captain of my heart, also physical disability rep because she’s missing a leg), Feral, Eunice and Agnes, I loved them all. And I want nothing more than more books from this world.

Overall, this is such a bright shining light in the SFF world. From the writing and prose, to the themes and discussions, to these amazing characters that I won’t soon forget. But my favorite part was seeing all the orishas and talking about them with one of my best friends, Lilly! She blessed me with an in-depth knowledge of all the orishas and makes me appreciate this beautiful book even more. P. Djèlí Clark has created something so beautiful, and so magical, and so important. I can’t wait for the rest of the world to fall in love with it.

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

Buddy read with Lilly at Lair of Books & Alexis at The Sloth Reader! ❤

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1) by Jessica Townsend

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“The point is—as far as the Society is concerned—if you are not honest, and determined, and brave, then it doesn’t matter how talented you are.”

Whenever people compare things to Harry Potter I immediately become wary of whatever they are comparing to it. I know this mostly comes from nostalgia, but still, I feel like saying something is “the next Harry Potter” is not only the highest praise, but also setting that thing up for the greatest fall. It took me a while to pick Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow up, just because of that that. But you know what? I think it deserves that title; not only is it amazing, it actually does feel like the closest thing I’ve ever read to Harry Potter, while also completely and wholeheartedly being its own story. I loved this book.

This book stars a young girl named Morrigan Crow, who has lived her life feeling unwanted by a family who believes her to be cursed. And this curse has also lead everyone, including Morrigan, to believe that she will die on her eleventh birthday. That is, until Jupiter North comes with an invitation to compete to join the Wundrous Society.

Each year, kids compete to enter this exclusive Society, with the help of a sponsor. And all the children have different knacks, AKA: talents, which range from being able to grow hair on a whim, to being able to ride dragons, to being practically invisible, the possibilities are honestly endless. And Jupiter North has never taken a protégée under his wing, until Morrigan. So, everyone is wondering and assuming that she must have a talent unlike anyone has ever seen, but Morrigan doesn’t even know what special powers she possesses.

But to even get into the Wundrous Society, Morrigan must complete each of the four trials. And all the trials are so very different, and so very unique, and such a dang treat to read. The trials were truly my favorite scenes in this book. And that’s saying a lot, because we have a giant, talking cat who is sassy and perfect. And a hotel, where Morrigan stays, with such an amazing cast of characters. And the Christmas scene and competition in this book? Honestly perfection. I truly did love this story with my whole heart.

This book is such a love letter to found families. And I think this book could change so many lives of so many kids out there that feel so unwanted, when in reality they are so very wanted and the family we choose will always be greater than the family we are born into. This is something that took me a long while to figure out myself, but blood will always be just that – blood. Hell, every one out of fifteen people walking around Vegas are likely to have my blood type, and that’s all my blood has to say about me. Yes, this book is whimsical, and fun, but I also think it’s important. And my heart is so very happy just thinking about the message that will touch so many kids picking this book up.

And this book has such an overwhelming message about how we can truly be anything we want to be. That good and bad are in all of us, and as long as you’re striving to do good, you can be good, no matter your past, and no matter who tells you otherwise.

Overall, I can honestly say that each time I opened this book up that I experienced pure joy. From the messages, to the writing, to this fantastic story in general. There is so much to love about this book. If you are on the fence, please pick this one up. It’s honestly such a bright shining light in middle grade. And I cannot wait to see what comes next in Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow!

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Trigger and content warnings for emotionally abusive parents and abandonment.

Buddy read with Sue & Lourdes! ❤

Top Ten Tuesday | My Favorite Booktubers

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

Hey, loves! Like many people in the book community, I consume a whole lot of Booktube! I love that this week’s topic is all about giving back to the community and putting a spotlight on other people that do so much to make the book world a much better place! So, needless to say, I couldn’t only pick ten! So here are my thirty favorite Booktubers of all-time! You should watch, (hopefully fall in love,) subscribe, and follow all of them! 💗


➽ Adriana @ perpetualpages

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➽ Frankie @ Frankie Reads

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➽ Julie @ Pages and Pens

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➽ Sylwia @ Wish Fulfillment

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➽ Joce @ squibblesreads

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➽ Emily @ Possibly Literate

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➽ Farah @ A Booktube Book

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➽ Christina Marie @ Christina Marie

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➽ Brandi @ Brandi Janee’s Bookshelf

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➽ Chelsea @ chelseadolling reads

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➽ Alexis @ The Sloth Reader

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➽ Steph @ Stephs Rom Book Talk

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➽ Lainey @ gingerreadslainey

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➽ Riley @ Riley Marie

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➽ Spence @ Common Spence

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➽ Lea @ drumsofautumn

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➽ Connor @ Connor O’Brien

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➽ Elise @ thebookishactress

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➽ Marines @ mynameismarines

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➽ Kav @ xreadingsolacex

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➽ Sam @ Sam’s Nonsense

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➽ Samm @ Sassenach the Book Wizard

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➽ Gabby @ gabbyreads

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➽ Stephanie @ Wickedjr89 and Books

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➽ Madalyn @ Novel Ink

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➽ Allie @ alliembooks

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➽ Monica @ shemightbemonica

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➽ Jocelyn @ yogi with a book

Goodreads | Twitter


➽ Chelsea @ Chelsea Palmer

Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


➽ Jen @ Book Syrup

Goodreads | Twitter | Website


Okay, my loves! I hope you enjoyed! Seriously, these thirty people are putting in and doing the Lord’s work every single day. I not only love to watch them, I admire them. And I’m forever thankful for everything they do for this community! Who is your favorite booktuber? Let me know! And I hope you’re all having the happiest of reading!

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In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children #4) 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 ★★★★★
3.) Beneath the Sugar Sky ★★★★★

“Death wasn’t fair value for anything…”

In An Absent Dream stars Katherine Lundy, the therapist who leads the group sessions in Every Heart a Doorway. She is Eleanor’s second in command, and claims to be eighty-years-old, despite only looking around eight. And this is her story, about her time in her world, the goblin market. And, friends, this might be my favorite book in the entire series so far.

“She had been able to find a doorway and disappear into an adventure, instead of living in a world that told her, day after day after grinding, demoralizing day, that adventures were only for boys; that girls had better things to worry about, like making sure those same boys had a safe harbor to come home to.”

Lundy is only six years old when she realizes that her entire life is going to be planned for her. She is going to be quiet, and studious, and keep to herself, and maybe one day she will be a librarian (because she loves books), and then become a wife and a mother. I mean, this is the dream, right? It’s for sure her parent’s dream for her. But even at six, Lundy knows this isn’t the life she wants, even if it is the life that is expected of her. And one day, Lundy finds a door, her door, and it completely changes her life.

Rule One – Ask for nothing
Rule Two – Names have power
Rule Three – Always give fair value

And in the goblin market Lundy learns so very much about herself and who she truly wants to become. And Lundy is also able to travel back and forth between the market and home throughout this glimpse into her life. There is a such a beautiful theme of the power of love between siblings, both found and blood, and that thread is carried through for each visit. Lundy, Moon, and Diana each have a piece of my heart that I won’t ever get back, and I’m a better person because of it. Friends, I loved this. It’s a magical masterpiece and a perfect addition to this series that Seanan has given book lovers everywhere. I know the release date isn’t until January 8th, 2019, but preorder this now. Trust me.

Each and every book in this series is not only expertly crafted, but also the theme will be hard hitting and impactful. Every Heart a Doorway is about asexuality and realizing how important it is to surround yourself with people who unconditionally love and accept you, all of you, because you’re worthy of it. Down Among the Sticks and Bones is about gender norms and stereotypes that the world horribly puts onto us, and how it’s a horrible cycle that never stops. Beneath the Sugar Sky is about loving yourself and no matter what your body looks like, that it’s perfect; fat, skinny, with scars, with hair, with modifications so that you can be the person that you want to be. And In An Absent Dream is about how we live in a world that has completely lost the meaning of what is fair and what is just and what is right.

Like, the price of peanut butter, something that I buy constantly, is $4.00 at my local supermarket. $4.00 for protein filled goodness that my mouth and the rest of my body loves to consume. But spending $4.00 on something when I have $100 dollars in my purse is a lot different than if I was spending $4.00 if I had $5 in my purse. And this is such an easy to see concept, but so many humans fail to see that tremendous difference. People want to condemn others for being lazy, or uneducated, or whatever else gross thing they want to say when they refuse to check their privileges (that they have mostly received from just simply being born), but the simple matter is that this isn’t fair. Jeff Bezos’ kids walking into Walmart and buying food isn’t the same as an underprivileged kid in Flint, whose family is on a fixed income (and still forced to buy their own bottled water), walking into Walmart to try to buy groceries for their family. But no matter how easy that is to see, I can’t teach people to have empathy. We all need to do better, and we need to change this obviously broken system.

“That’s because you don’t know what fairness means. You’ve been in a place that wasn’t fair for so long that the things we’d been trying to teach you have been driven back into the shadows.”

Just, be good humans, friends. Try to learn, try to do better, try to break these gross cycles that reinforce these gross entitled mindsets. And read Seanan McGuire’s books, which not only are such amazing escapism works of art, but they beautifully shed light on all these important topics that a lot of people wish to keep ignoring. And maybe, just maybe, we will one day live in a world where we don’t need a goblin market to remind us to be fair to other humans. But I hope that world is also filled with more books from this once in a lifetime series.

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

Trigger and content warnings loss of a loved one, death, abandonment, and one quick scene with parental physical abuse (slapping of a child).

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3) by Cassandra Clare

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1.) City of Bones ★★★
2.) City of Ashes ★★

Friends, I did it! I read the whole trilogy! Over a decade late, but aren’t you proud? And more importantly, I can finally move on to TID with Clockwork Angel! And I am so hyped, because I know this is the start of the series that you all really love! And I hope I do, too! And I got really excited seeing some names that I’ve vaguely seen you all scream about!

“Each tomb looked like a little house; some even had metal or wire gates, and the names of Shadowhunter families were carved over the doors. CARTWRIGHT. MERRYWEATHER. HIGHTOWER. BLACKWELL. MIDWINTER. She stopped at one: HERONDALE.”

City of Glass has the cast whisked away (some easily, some not so easily) to the City of Glass, AKA: Idris, which is the Shadowhunter’s home country! Valentine may or may not have started to build a demon army, and the gang hopes that they can get the council to listen to them. Oh, and Clary is desperate to save her mom, and is willing to do anything to wake her up. Because while her mother sleeps, she is also locking away many secrets.

“My mom got the spell that put her in this state from a warlock—Ragnor Fell. Madeleine says we need to track him down if we want to know how to reverse the spell.”

Okay, so going into this series, I knew very few spoilers. And I was very surprised when the Jace and Clary “dilemma” came up, just because I had never heard anyone mention in. Therefore, I also thought it would be a quick fix. Okay, so the “reveal” is at the very end of City of Bones, but the mentality and thought lasts until 80% into this third book! I couldn’t believe it! And even though I knew (and hoped and prayed) that you all wouldn’t lead me astray and that the “twist” wouldn’t be true, it still took a lot of enjoyment out of this book for me, because for the most part, Jace and Clary thought it was real. Also, Jace and Clary both do and say a lot of problematic shit, that has nothing to do with the way they feel about each other. Jace especially.

“Jace knew he was being cruel, and he barely cared. Hurting people he loved was almost as good as hurting himself when he was in this kind of mood.”

Okay, so I’ve broken down the characters in the other two reviews I’ve done for this series, so I figured I’d just keep doing it. (Especially because these reviews are probably boring because everyone but me read them ten-years-ago!) And like always, I have a lot of feelings.

Clary – Clary is just a bland main character. I don’t love her as much as others. I don’t hate her as much as others. I honestly just feel neutral towards her, but I still say that she is rather forgettable. Which is sad, since I suppose she is the star. But I think the shining light of all three books has been the side characters.

Jace – Jace legit is the worst part of this book, too. Which, he is the second leading character, so, also probably a bad sign. But he’s just miserable to read about because he doesn’t care about “the situation” where Clary at least tries to not be… gross about it. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, he legit screams at Clary in this book and says some pretty abusive and hurtful things. Like, I just honestly don’t like Jace. I’m sorry. But it’s the truth. Probably my least favorite character, including the villains.

Simon – Okay, so Simon completely won me over and captured my heart and soul during this book. I honestly loved everything about it. And I think that’s mostly because…

Isabelle – …I am about to go down on the ship of Isabelle and Simon. Like, you all, I love their chemistry and their entire dynamic. And Isabelle is my favorite character of any of these books so far, so I just am going to put her happiness first always and forever. Thanks.

Magnus – Magnus is also my favorite. And I don’t want to give Cassandra Clare too much credit (I seriously can’t get over the incest, I’m sorry), but I think she did a really amazing job with creating Magnus Bane. All my friends are obsessed with him, I’m obsessed with him, and I think he’s such a bright shining light in 2000’s literature.

Alec – I feel like I like Alec more and more each book. Probably because of Magnus, but still! And the end of this book? Not that anyone should ever feel any pressure to come out, but the end of this book just made me really happy.

Max – Like, I’m still shook.

Luke – I was living for Luke in this entire book. Like, I instantly loved his character, and I just grow to like him more and more each book. Also, he deserves all the love and happiness in the world.

Jocelyn – I actually do like Clary’s mom. I wish she would have been awake and present for more of this trilogy. And I do think it was a little deus ex machina how she shows up, bearing all the information that we needed so long ago. But I still enjoyed her and her character.

Amatis – Luke’s sister is honestly my new favorite, too! Like, maybe I’m too old to be reading these for the first time, and I’m just connecting with all the (way older than me) adults, because I can’t connect with these teenagers? But regardless, Amatis has been through so much, but I love her already. Amazing new addition to the cast!

Maia – Maia wasn’t in this book that much, but I still really like what I did see of her. And I’m saying this while knowing she is going to be a point of a triangle that I’m not ready to think about.

Samuel – IS THIS DUDE… PURPLE?

Person in the cell next to Simon – Like, I actually loved this twist and was so here for it. Until, someone ruined it. But still, I was living for it. Big fan.

Seelie Queen – Like, Clary is going to regret that power move of an epilogue.

Aline – Um… is this new character Asian and queer? Because, I think she is, and I think I’m head over heels in love with her already.

Sebastian – A little obvious, but still a fun twist and character I honestly really enjoyed following.

Valentine – Like, I enjoyed Valentine a lot in this one. I think he was way less “mustache twirling” villain in this book. And I loved the portrayal on how people can be awful humans, but they are still capable of doing good things. We all have good and bad inside us, and Valentine is a good example of what happens when you do more bad than good. I don’t know, maybe I’m getting soft, but I liked him as the villain of this book.

“People aren’t born good or bad. Maybe they’re born with tendencies either way, but it’s the way you live your life that matters.”

Trigger and content warnings for murder, death, incestuous thoughts and resulting actions, torture, medical experimentations, captivity, abandonment, talk of thoughts of suicide, suicide, and war themes.

Overall, I am happy I read this trilogy, instead of just skipping it. I’m not sure if it was completely needed, but I hope that it will feel worth it. I also think this series holds up better than a lot of others that were published during the same time, Naruto references and all. I’ll be honest, this really is more of 2.5 star read for me, and I should probably bump it down to two stars, but I just enjoyed it so much more than City of Ashes that I’m going to bump it up to three. Also, Izzy and Simon deserve that star on their own, let’s be real. Okay, friends, I can’t wait to finally dive into Clockwork Angel!


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