ARC Review: The Loop

Hello again! (for real this time). I have several reviews lined up to start off 20201 better than ever, so I hope some of you will stick around (:

Lucy is a high school student on the verge of a much needed summer vacation, which she plans to spend with her best friend, Bucket. But after attending an end-of-the-year party in the caves near the outskirts of Turner falls, it is clear the summer will be anything but relaxing. Suddenly, the “best and brightest” kids of Turner Falls are turning into savage killers, bent on killing anyone who crosses them: and the whatever has ahold of them is quickly spreading.

I had so many hopes for this book and I was let down by all of them. For starters, this was billed as a “Stranger things x World War Z” crossover, and although I know nothing about the latter, I was a big fan of stranger things. But the only comparison I could see was a foreign entity terrorizing the town (a pretty vague similarity). And while Stranger things had an excellent plot, lovable characters, and lots of suspense, this book had none of the above.

By the end, what little plot was built up is absolutely pointless. The characters are all pretty annoying, there is a completely unnecessary amount of gore, and the details of the outbreak only get more and more bizarre. I feel like the author was going for shock value with every aspect of his writing, from the risqué comments made by all of the characters, to the absolutely over the top violence, and everything in between. 

Which leads me to my next point: this is not a YA book. I’m 21 years old and I can’t imagine someone the same age as these characters (middle of high school) or younger reading it. I didn’t even want to read it. The only two themes seemed to be sex and violence.

I also want to point out that the author of this book, I am fairly certain, is white, and the main character of the book, Lucy, is Mexican. She experiences lots of racism and slurs used against her throughout the story. I am in no way qualified to speak on the accuracy of her representation, but if any of my POC friends have read this, please let me know your thoughts!

The only reason this gets 2 stars is because, for some odd reason, I was compelled to keep reading through each horrible turn. Maybe it was grim determination, or a hope that somehow things would get better. Either way, the ending was seen worse than the beginning, and I was left disappointed. 

Happy reading!

Rating: 2/5
Pace: Fast but repetitive
Intended audience: Adult
Content warnings: LOTS of violence, mentions of sexual assault, suicide, death of family members 

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Welcome Back

SO, it’s safe to say that I took an unexpected hiatus, reading slump, what have you. School absolutely caught me off guard, as did my bookmark business picking up. I haven’t had much time to read lately, but I am going to make a big effort to be active here again because I MISS YOU GUYS! I probably won’t be able to post as much as I used to still, but I aim to come on here at least once a week, and maybe start up Favorite Fridays again (:

What’s new in your lives? Do book blogs still even exist on here? (kidding, of course). What’s your favorite new release that I probably missed? Seriously, feel free to share what you’ve been up to in the comments, or shoot me a message.

And if you thought you were escaping this post without some shameless self promo, you were very very wrong. I have sooo many new and updated bookmark designs out, so check them out before the holiday season hits! Click here to shop my designs on Etsy.

I’m so glad to be back, and hope you guys haven’t totally forgotten me yet!

Happy reading (:

Favorite Friday: Favorite Place/Time to Read

Welcome back to the fourth (or fifth depending on how you look at it) favorite Friday! This week I’m going to talk about when and where I like to do my reading. Feel free to join in and post your responses too, and be sure to tag me so I can read them(:

If it isn’t already obvious by my blog title, I am a complete night owl. Like, borderline vampiric night owl most of the time. So, it should come as no surprise that night (or I guess reaaaally early morning sometimes) is when I do most of my reading. I am most productive at night in general, partially because I am an expert at procrastinating. But mostly, I enjoy how quiet the world is. I am someone who is very easily distracted, so I find the time I can best immerse myself in a book is generally while the rest of the world sleeps.

Going along with that same theme, my favorite place to read is either my bed, or the living room couch. My room is always quiet, so I can read there any time. But when everyone else is asleep in my house, I like to curl up on the couch with a snack and a blanket for hours at a time.

I have always wanted to be someone who could read in cute aesthetic places like coffee shops, bookstores, or parks, but there is just too much else to see! I end up paying more attention to the people, or bugs, to get much of anything done. Maybe if I find a really good instrumental reading playlist someday, but for now, I’ll just stick to the comforts of home.

I feel my answer may have been a bit anticlimactic, but there it is! Feel free to comment or post your own Favorite Friday for today’s topic.

Happy reading!

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Next week’s Favorite Friday topic: Favorite book from your childhood (or teens)

ARC Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

For as much hype as this book had, I was hoping for a little more. (Also I actually read this a while ago, but am very overwhelmed with school so I’m tapping into my review reserves)

19 year old Feyre lives near the wall between Faeries and humans, where a tenuous treaty keeps the two worlds at peace. However, one day while hunting in the woods, she kills a wolf and brings on the unexpected wrath of one of Tamlin, one of the Fae. She is forced to return with him to the Faerie realm, where she must confront her warring feelings for him, as well as a dark power that is growing in the land.

There were several parts in this book that I got lost in, both in good and bad ways.

The most enjoyable aspect of it for me was Prythian (the Faerie realm). The world-building was really great, and I loved the different Courts of the Faerie kingdom. It was interesting to see Faerie mixed with a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story, as these are two concepts that worked great together, but I would never have thought of.

However, I was disappointed with the characters. The enemies-to-lovers relationship we got in this book felt rushed, forced, and just awkward at times. Despite the story lagging on in many parts, the romance was very fast in a way that wasn’t believable. It seemed like there was so much of the plot that could have been condensed and instead replaced with a better buildup of the different character’s feelings. 

The other major problem I had was the repetition (both in language and plot). I NEVER. EVER. Want to see the words growl, snarl, feral, ignorant, or human ever again. I think I would have been less frustrated with this if a more expansive vocabulary had been used instead of the same four descriptive terms over and over. Additionally, there was a lot of rehashing of Feyre’s inner thoughts that made the book much longer than it needed to be.

Despite the problems though, I think that the general storyline had a lot of promise. I was very invested in the world and wanted to find out its fate, even if I didn’t connect very well with the characters. I’m really excited to see more of Prythian, and hope that writing will be better divided between character building and plot in the next books of the series.

Happy Reading!

Rating: 3/5
Pacing: slow beginning, medium end
Content warnings: mentions of sexual assault, gore
Intended audience: Adult* 

*Side note, there is a lot of debate about if this book should be categorized as YA or not. I believe this is an adult book, as there are many graphic scenes, and a lot of the central plot points revolve around physical intimacy

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Favorite Friday topic: Favorite place/time to read

Favorite Friday: Favorite Fantasy Book

That was almost too much alliteration in a post title, but welcome back! Once again, I neglected to think about what my favorite book was before picking the topic this week, so this should be interesting.

My first instinct was to say The Starless Sea, but since I used that for my Favorite Book post, I thought I should choose something different. After much deliberation and sifting through my goodreads, I decided I’m going to cheat this week and pick two favorites: The Folk of the Air books by Holly Black, and Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi.

The Folk of the Air is a very typical YA fantasy, but I thought the trilogy was done really well. I LOVED Jude’s character, because she was a bit morally grey at times. And she was definitely surprising. I couldn’t predict her every move, unlike other YA heroines. And of course, I loved getting to watch her relationship with Cardan.

I also really appreciated the fact that the books had a satisfying ending to them. For the most part they were fast-paced, and offered both great characters as well as plot.

On the other hand, Scarlet Odyssey is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It is an African fantasy novel, which I had never encountered before. And WOW was it captivating. The plot was amazingly complex, and I was astounded at Rwizi’s ability to weave so many different narratives together. Every point of view was engaging and unique. He also challenges typical gender roles, has great LGBTQ characters, and creates an amazingly magical world. What more could you ask for?

I’m so sad that I’ll have to wait a while for the sequel, because I truly fell in love with this book!

Hope you guys enjoyed this, and make sure to tag me in your Favorite Friday posts, or comment them below.

Happy reading!

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Next Favorite Friday Topic: Favorite place/time to read

Book Review: We Were Liars

If you liked this book, you may be in for a rough review.

Cadence Sinclair is from a prominent and seemingly idyllic Massachusetts family. But, things are not what they seem. All of her relatives are fighting over their inheritances, meanwhile Cadence is wrestling with feelings for her friend, Gat, and trying to figure out what happened in an accident that took her memories. With Gat and her cousins’ help, she must figure out the truth and attempt to repair her life once again.

After finishing this, all I had to say was “so what?” I really didn’t get the point. There’s a rich family with grossly racist undertones, some really dangerous and unbelievable mistakes, and a very dramatic plot twist. And I don’t mean dramatic in a good way. I’m not someone who needs a message or lesson in every book, but this really felt like a bunch of random events strung together without any intention.

I also didn’t feel connected to the characters AT ALL. They read as an odd mixture of childish and robotic, and I couldn’t for the life of me keep everyone straight. In retrospect that could’ve been on purpose (though I won’t spoil why), but truly I have no clue. Cadence as a narrator wasn’t awful, but also didn’t add anything to the story.

Really the only good things I have to say was that it was short, and the plot twist was a little unexpected? But wow, was it drawn out. And once it’s revealed, Cadence spends about 10 years rehashing all of the other character’s personalities for the hundredth time. Then *poof* the book ends. After such a long build up, I was definitely expecting more of a resolution. I read the author’s note Hoping for some clarity, and she talked about how the book was a risk, and that she feared people wouldn’t get it. I was definitely someone who did not.

That being said, I can understand why some people liked it. After reading the original proposal Lockhart included, I kind of got it. But not enough for me to change my own opinion. Who knows though, there’s a reason it resonated with so many people, so it may be worth a shot for you.

Happy reading
(P.S. let me know what you think of the new dividers I have!)

Rating: 2.5/5
Pace: slow-medium
Intended audience: young adults
Content warnings: death of a loved one, mention of rape, drug abuse

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Favorite Friday topic: Favorite fantasy book

ARC review: Opium and Absinthe

This was a very enjoyable, although slightly predictable, read!

After injuring herself in an accident, Tillie Pembroke awakes to find her entire life turned upside down. Her sister, Lucy, has been murdered in what appears to be a vampire attack, and Tillie begins to rely on opiates to relieve her physical and emotional pain. She resolves herself to finding her sister’s killer while battling an opiate addiction and attempting to evade the disapproving watch of her family. 

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book despite not being a huge fan of the gothic genre in general. Usually gothic novels are very stiff in my opinion, and are somewhat challenging to read. Opium and Absinthe however was very fast-paced, enjoyable, and kept me turning pages until the end.

Although I was a fan of this, I feel it may not be for everyone. The murder-mystery aspect of it wasn’t the biggest draw, as I had figured out the “why” and was very close on the “who” at about 60% in. I don’t think that really hindered my enjoyment of the story though, because I was so invested in the journey and the way the novel was narrated. Nonetheless, more seasoned mystery lovers may be disappointed.

I also thought that the characters were not the most lovable; the only one I really liked was Ian, and maybe the newsies, though they were not a large part of the story. Tillie was almost unbearably naive. I understand that as this took place in the 1890s, Tillie lead a very sheltered life as one of the elites, but it still was a bit unbelievable. I was constantly torn between feeling great pity for her because of the way her family treats her, and anger at some of her decisions. Despite that, I did greatly admire her perseverance, and desire to pursue knowledge despite her family’s views on a woman’s place in society.

The setting was very entertaining in my opinion. I liked the historical New York setting, and was really able to enjoy it without the heavy tone gothic usually takes. It definitely helped with the feeling of suspense/mystery for me.

In the end, I can’t quite put in to words why I enjoyed this as much as I did. Nothing about it stuck out, but the writing/story flowed in a way that was very pleasant to read. If you’re looking for an easy and enjoyable read, I recommend giving this one a try.

Happy reading!

Rating: 3.5/5
Intended audience: Adult
Pacing: Fast
Content warnings: assault, murder, death of a loved one, mentions of rape, drug abuse

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Favorite Friday Topic: Favorite fantasy book

Calling all Book(mark) Lovers!

I am so, so excited to share with you all the project I have been working on: the launch of my Etsy store for handmade bookmarks!

These designs and more are available in my Etsy shop, which you can access here. Each one is digitally drawn on the app procreate, printed, and hand painted with embellishments of gold, silver, or glitter. Then, they are laminated and given a tassel. All are customizable in terms of color, and I can take requests for designs as well.

And here are some designs that I haven’t had a chance to photograph yet:

Please comment any questions, design suggestions, or just let me know what you think!

Happy reading (:

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Next week’s Favorite Friday topic: favorite fantasy book

Book Review: The Haunting of Tram Car 015

This is going to be a short review for a short (and enjoyable) book!

In an alternate Cairo of the past, machines, magic, and humans live side by side. Agent Hamed al-Nasr and his new recruit, Agent Onsi, work for the the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, the organization that keeps humans and magical creatures living together in harmony. But when a haunted tram car turns out to be more than it first appears, the two will have to work together quickly to keep the balance in check.

I’m learning that I really, really like short novels. This one is about 130 pages, and perfect to read in a lazy afternoon. Although it was short, it felt like a really well-built world, and I liked the characters a lot.

Cover of the book “The Haunting of Tram Car 015”

Agent Hamed and Agent Onsi are definitely the stereotypical grumpy old guy and overexcited newbie on the job, but their characters were still really fun to observe. I could definitely see this becoming a short series of detective novels with them as the main detectives. (the first book, A Dead Djinn in Cairo, is set in the same universe, but with a different MC)

My favorite part of this book though, was the world. Though it may sound strange, I really think the cover of this one helped immerse me into the story. Everything was described how I saw it there, and Combined with the awesome descriptions, it made for a really vivid picture. I felt like I was actually walking the streets of Cairo with the agents. The mystery aspect was also interesting, and as I knew nothing about the lore included, I was on my toes until the end.

So if you’re ever in the mood for something short and sweet, I highly recommend this book!

Happy reading!

Rating: 4/5
Pace: medium
Intended Audience: Adults (although I think this would be fine for YA readers too)
Content warnings: none that I can remember??

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Book Review: Daisy Jones and the Six

I can absolutely say I’ve never read anything like this before.

Everyone knows of the famous 70s rock band, Daisy Jones and the Six, but not everyone knows their story. Told in the format of an interview between the bandmates, manager, producer, and friends of the band, this work chronicles how The Six Got to be the biggest band in the world. And, ultimately, what made them leave music just when they reached the top.

Let me preface this by saying I’m not someone who reads interviews frequently, even about my own favorite bands. So when I opened this up and saw that it was one GIGANTIC interview, I almost gave up. But, I’m glad I didn’t.

What I enjoyed the most about Daisy Jones was how fast the story moved. There was never a moment where I felt like I wanted to take a break, and I was really curious how the story was going end. I also thought it was absolutely hilarious how some of the bandmates would contradict each other’s stories from line to line of the interview. I think I even laughed out loud once or twice.

However, even though I enjoyed this as a whole, I was expecting more. The story felt somewhat repetitive after a while; Eddie is sick of Billy, Daisy is off partying, and the rest of the band doesn’t really care as long as the music is selling well. I get that there was supposed to be a buildup to when everything went bad, but I could’ve used less rehashing throughout.

I also had a hard time keeping all of the characters straight. Warren/Pete kept confusing me, as did the manager/producer/sound engineer. Not to mention the random critics or hotel staff that would be thrown in occasionally. I felt like I needed to take notes or something. Then again, the women were so strong and feminist (and awesome) that maybe the mean were meant to pale in comparison.

Despite that, I really think it’s a testament to how engaging the writing was that I managed to read a 350 page fictional interview. There were parts that felt so undeniably factual, I had to wonder if it were based in part on real people. Even if I couldn’t always remember the characters, there was something very human about them. So, overall, I would recommend at least giving this one a shot! I’m definitely going to be picking up Evelyn Hugo (which is NOT an interview).

Happy reading!

Rating: 3.5/5
Pace: medium-fast
Intended audience: Adult
Content warnings: drug abuse (this is a main theme), sexual assault, mentions of inappropriate adult/minor relationships (which I do not condone)

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Favorite Friday topic: N/A, but look out for a special announcement!