And just like that it’s May. Time is wild and this past month has honestly been a blur. I’m currently getting ready to make the move back to the Big Apple and I am so excited for this next stage in the adventure. In the meantime, I’ve been nannying quite a bit, playing with my sweet new puppy nephew, and reading, of course.
Malice by Heather Walter ★★★★★
These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy ★★
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer ★★★
Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein ★★★
Favorite Book of the Month
Goodreads Challenge: 20 of 100 (12 books behind schedule 😬)
Classics Club Challenge: Still 10 of 50 (just utterly failing this challenge)
Grace Welles had resigned herself to the particular loneliness of being fifteen and stuck at a third-tier boarding school in the swamps of Florida, when she accidentally saves the new kid in her class from being beat up. With a single aim of a slingshot, the monotonous mathematics of her life are obliterated forever…because now there is this boy she never asked for. Wade Scholfield.
With Wade, Grace discovers a new way to exist. School rules are optional, life is bizarrely perfect, and conversations about wormholes can lead to make-out sessions that disrupt any logical stream of thoughts.
So why does Grace crush Wade’s heart into a million tiny pieces? And what are her options when she finally realizes that 1. The universe doesn’t revolve around her, and 2. Wade has been hiding a dark secret. Is Grace the only person unhinged enough to save him?
Acidly funny and compulsively readable, Mercedes Helnwein’s debut novel Slingshot is a story about two people finding each other and then screwing it all up. See also: soulmate, friendship, stupidity, sex, bad poetry, and all the indignities of being in love for the first time.
Release Date: April 27th, 2021
*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Thanks to Wednesday Books for the opportunity!*
I am torn with how I feel about this book. Slingshot is a grittier YA rom-com. It was a super easy read, full of wit and complicated situations, and it does a great job of exploring teenage emotions and experiences. I just don’t know if I liked Gracie. She is super sarcastic and tough with a mouth like a sailor. Her inner monologues could be really funny, and I loved that I could see through this tough front she put up to the world into her softer insides. Teenage emotions are intense and sometimes their reactions are irrational- I totally feel that and can relate. However; Gracie took this to a new level. So much so, that I found it hard to empathize with her and found some of her actions appalling. With all that said, even though I didn’t really like her, she intrigued me and I was definitely drawn into her story. She goes through a lot in this book from heartbreak, to losing her virginity, to learning how to be a friend, to discovering what love is, to dealing with family drama, to peer pressure, bad advice, and popularity, all while trying to figure out who she wants to be. Her relationship with Wade, who is awesome, was very sweet and they had fantastic banter. Seeing the passionate intensity of these two teenagers discovering first love together was endearing, and I loved seeing the effects it had on Gracie’s life. Slingshot surprised me in a bunch of different ways, and it left me with a strong bitter-sweet feeling that still kind of lingers days later.
I have never been a re-reader. This phenomenon never made sense to me- until the pandemic when I went in search of certainty and comfort. Now my old favorites are screaming at me from my shelves and I want to get back in these worlds. I wrote a post about re-reading back then, and then did another TBT post revisiting Twilight. Well- here we are, with a potentially new monthly TBT feature where I will share my updated thoughts about these old treasures. This time we’re taking a look at New Moon, part 2 in the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer! Here are my main take aways from this reread.
Edward and Bella’s relationship escalates so quickly.
At the beginning of New Moon Edward and Bella have been together for six months. SIX MONTHS. That used to seem like a LIFETIME to me. You’ve been together six months and you’re ready to give up your mortality for this guy?! It’s sus.
The way Edward leaves her is seriously messed up.
Idk if I just knew it was coming this time, or if I wan’t as invested in their love, but the way he ends things and then just leaves her in the middle of the forest is beyond cruel. And then he tries to come back at the end and be like “I WAS LYING”. The audacity.
The month section is ICONIC.
I 👏🏻 CON 👏🏻 IC 👏🏻. This section blew my little tween mind and really made me feel something I had never experienced in reading before. Say what you want about the series, but this way of storytelling was brilliant. Even if looking back I think Bella is way melodramatic about the whole situation.
Book Bella is 10x better than Movie Bella.
Don’t get me wrong, she’s still kind of annoying and cuckoo bananas, but I got so used to the movie version that I forgot how emotional she is in the book. She is actually pretty much ruled entirely by her emotions vs being a cardboard cutout. In fact, all of the characters lost A LOT of dimension and charm in the movies.
Jacob is really loveable.
Speaking of characters losing charm in the movies… Jacob is awesome in this book. I had forgotten why I ever liked him to be honest. Yeah, Taylor Lautner was hot, but Jacob’s wit and dimension were completely lost in the films. And his relationship with Bella actually develops, unlike with a certain vampire we know and love… for a moment… I started thinking that I might now be *GASP* #teamjacob.
Bella really does Jacob dirty.
The poor guy. To be fair, she upfront tells him she doesn’t feel that way for him- but then she goes and plays with his mind by acting the opposite. I get that she’s trying to figure out her feelings, but she straight up uses him and it kinda makes me mad.
The ending was gripping.
….and then Edward came back into the picture and the book PICKED UP. I didn’t even realize that it was sort of dragging (I think knowing the werewolf secret took out a bunch of the impact there), until we’re launched into the rescue mission and on a flight to Italy. I LOVE the Volturi and think a series about their origins and backstories would be incredible. There was a real sense of danger and fear and I was hooked, even knowing what was coming.
Overall, this book was better than Twilight.
Maybe I was desensitized, or prepared, after rereading Twilight, but this book seemed significantly better than the first. I’m really excited for Eclipse because that was my favorite in my first read through.
Hello everyone! We’re back with another Top 10 Tuesday, hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. I messed up the topic 2 weeks ago and did last week’s on accident, so I took a week off and now I’m back on track! This week’s topic is Colorful Book Covers!
Three Dark CrownsmeetsWicked Saintsin this queer #ownvoices retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale, by debut author Alexandra Overy.
When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are decided at a young age. While Izaveta remained at court to learn the skills she’d need as the future queen, Asya was taken away to train with her aunt, the mysterious Firebird, who ensured magic remained balanced in the realm.
But before Asya’s training is completed, the ancient power blooms inside her, which can mean only one thing: the queen is dead, and a new ruler must be crowned.
As the princesses come to understand everything their roles entail, they’ll discover who they can trust, who they can love—and who killed their mother.
Release Date: April 20th, 2021
*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Thanks to Inkyard Press for the opportunity*
I was excited about this book. The cover is gorgeous, the concept is really cool, and I had been seeing some good reviews for it. Unfortunately, it fell flat for me. The twin main characters, Izaveta and Asya, were separated in childhood to train for their destined roles as the Queen and the Firebird. The story begins when they each have to step into their roles suddenly and earlier than expected. The twins had contrasting personalities which made for an interesting dichotomy in the storytelling and their character development, but I had trouble connecting with them. The story centers around the complicated relationship between the sisters, and other than being told that they used to be inseparable, I didn’t feel their bond. All of the relationships lacked chemistry and depth that would have made me really care about them. The Russian-inspired world seemed cool, especially the system of magic and balance, but I felt like we only scratched the surface with all the aspects in the world-building, and having a deeper understanding would have enriched the story a lot. Because of these things, even though I thought the plot was interesting, I wasn’t as invested in it as I wanted to be. It felt a little dry in parts and there were moments when it felt like I was just reading the same thing again with no forward movement. The ending, plot-wise, was stellar and I did not see the twists coming, but since I wasn’t entirely invested in the relationships, it didn’t pack as much of a punch as it should have. It leaves on a cliffhanger and sets us up nicely for the second part of the duology, but I don’t know if I will go on to read the next book. I can definitely see people enjoying this book, but it just wasn’t enough for me.
A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this darkly magical retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” true love is more than a simple fairy tale.
Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.
You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.
Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.
Until I met her.
Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.
But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.
Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—
I am the villain.
Release Date: April 13th, 2021
*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Thank you to Random House Publishing Group and Del Ray for the opportunity!*
I loved this book. This retelling of Sleeping Beauty was so clever and it twisted the story the perfect amount, where it was recognizable but still entirely fresh. The world-building was fantastic and I loved the history, the concept of the Graces, the magic systems, and the politics of the Kingdom of Briar. Alyce was a complicated and morally gray heroine, which was unique and an exciting thing to experience as a reader. I had so much empathy for her and it was fascinating to see someone who clearly had a good heart fight with her natural-born magic, which is powered by mal-intent, as well as the horrible way society has treated her for her entire life. Princess Aurora was totally loveable and their relationship broke my heart with its sweetness. The entire book is filled with a cast of complex and morally gray characters, creating some pretty great twists and turns in the plot. The ending left me in shock- it was so not what I expected to happen and I loved every second of it. This is one of my favorite fairy tale re-imaginings that I have read. I highly recommend it and am excited to see what else Heather Walter has up her sleeve.
We’re slowly making headway on clearing out the good ole Goodreads TBR list, as it also steadily grows on the other end haha. Here is the next installment of the Down the TBR Hole meme that was started by Lia @Lost In a Story!
Here is 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?
Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
The first time Eby Pim saw Lost Lake, it was on a picture postcard. Just an old photo and a few words on a small square of heavy stock, but when she saw it, she knew she was seeing her future.
That was half a life ago. Now Lost Lake is about to slip into Eby’s past. Her husband George is long passed. Most of her demanding extended family are gone. All that’s left is a once-charming collection of lakeside cabins succumbing to the Southern Georgia heat and damp, and an assortment of faithful misfits drawn back to Lost Lake year after year by their own unspoken dreams and desires.
It’s a lot, but not enough to keep Eby from relinquishing Lost Lake to a developer with cash in hand, and calling this her final summer at the lake. Until one last chance at family knocks on her door.
Lost Lake is where Kate Pheris spent her last best summer at the age of twelve, before she learned of loneliness, and heartbreak, and loss. Now she’s all too familiar with those things, but she knows about hope too, thanks to her resilient daughter Devin, and her own willingness to start moving forward. Perhaps at Lost Lake her little girl can cling to her own childhood for just a little longer… and maybe Kate herself can rediscover something that slipped through her fingers so long ago.
One after another, people find their way to Lost Lake, looking for something that they weren’t sure they needed in the first place: love, closure, a second chance, peace, a mystery solved, a heart mended. Can they find what they need before it’s too late?
At once atmospheric and enchanting, Lost Lake shows Sarah Addison Allen at her finest, illuminating the secret longings and the everyday magic that wait to be discovered in the unlikeliest of places.
My Thoughts: This sounds sweet, and if I found it at an air bnb somewhere I might pick it up, but I don’t think this will be one I will actively search out. VERDICT: TOSS
Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
LILLIA, KAT, AND MARY ARE NOT FRIENDS.
In fact, they barely know one another. But a chance encounter in the girls’ room proves they have something big in common. The girls have all been hurt — by a bullt, an ex-friend, an almost boyfriend — and now they want payback. They hatch a scheme to work in secret, to help each other right the wrongs. Forget waiting for karma. They’re taking matters into their own hands.
My Thoughts: I mean…. Jenny Han meets John Tucker Must Die? I’m sold. Idk how I haven’t heard more about this one. VERDICT: KEEP
Crash by Nicole Williams
Southpointe High is the last place Lucy wanted to wind up her senior year of school. Right up until she stumbles into Jude Ryder, a guy whose name has become its own verb, and synonymous with trouble. He’s got a rap sheet that runs longer than a senior thesis, has had his name sighed, shouted, and cursed by more women than Lucy dares to ask, and lives at the local boys home where disturbed seems to be the status quo for the residents. Lucy had a stable at best, quirky at worst, upbringing. She lives for wearing the satin down on her ballet shoes, has her sights set on Juilliard, and has been careful to keep trouble out of her life. Up until now.
Jude’s everything she needs to stay away from if she wants to separate her past from her future. Staying away, she’s about to find out, is the only thing she’s incapable of.
For Lucy Larson and Jude Ryder, love’s about to become the thing that tears them apart.
My Thoughts: This sounds like Step Up to me. While I would probably enjoy this, I just don’t see myself ever getting around to reading it. VERDICT: TOSS
Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff
Every so often that story comes along that reminds us of what it’s like to experience love for the first time—against the odds, when you least expect it, and with such passion that it completely changes you forever.
Lily Davis Woodward was married for just days before her husband was sent abroad to fight in World War II. Now he and the other soldiers are returning, and Lily and the small town of Toccoa, Georgia, plan a big celebration. Jake Russo, a handsome Italian immigrant, also back from war, is responsible for the elaborate fireworks display the town commissioned. After a chance encounter in a starlit field, he steals Lily’s heart and soul—and fulfills her in ways her socially minded, upper-class family cannot. Now, torn by duty to society and her husband—and the poor, passionate man who might be her only true love—Lily must choose between a love she never knew and a commitment she’d already made.
Debut author Jeffrey Stepakoff takes us to a moment in time that will resonate with readers long after the book’s unforgettable conclusion. Poignant and elegant, Fireworks Over Toccoa is a mosaic of all the emotions that only love can make possible.
My Thoughts: This one has me torn. It has pretty polarizing reviews and is compared to Nicholas Sparks books- which I have a love/hate relationship with. The plot sounds good, and I do love a good romance… hmm I can’t decide. VERDICT: KEEP (for now)
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfeld
All children mythologize their birth…So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter’s collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.
The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself — all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter’s story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.
As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.
Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida’s storytelling but remains suspicious of the author’s sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.
The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that we loved as children. Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter and, in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life.
My Thoughts: I have been drawn to this book for so long, and I actually have a copy somewhere in storage in NYC I think. It definitely gives me a certain vibe that I know one day I’m going to need. VERDICT: KEEP
Which books would you have kept? Which would you toss? Let’s chat in the comments! ❤
Happy Top Ten Tuesday everyone! I took 2 weeks off, somewhat unintentionally, and gave myself a little spring break from blogging, but I’m coming back to you with a silly Top Ten Tuesday, hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl, Book Titles That Sound Like They Could Be Crayola Crayons.
Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
I picture this to be a bright and shiny red.
A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe
This one is obviously a super metallic gold.
Eventide by Sarah Goodman
I think this one is a deep teal.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Despite my instinct to say red because of the book over, Twilight is probably a dusty purple-blue.
Blackout by Nina Walker
Black. That’s it.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
This would be one of those glitter crayons, ya know? Probably a black or deep navy with silver glitter.
Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
A nice peachy-pink. A perfect color to use for blush. (am I the only one who colors make-up on my people when I use a coloring book?)
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier
Ummmm… this one is kinda self explanatory.
Violette Grenade by Victoria Scott
A deep deep purple.
White Oleander by Janet Fitch
A pearlescent white.
This one was fun! What colors do these titles make you think of? Let me know in the comments! ❤