Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

42613944._SY475_Summary: In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  Thank you to Blink for giving me the opportunity!* 

Release Date: October 1st, 2019


I cannot get over how cool and unique the concept for this book was.  The power to see, take and transport someone else’s memories, an ability which only some people have, was fascinating.  What was even more fascinating was the use of those memories after they were taken from their owners, like the rich taking happy memories to feel those good emotions, absorbing the skills someone spent years perfecting or using painful memories as a means of torture.  The whole idea really brings to mind how important our memories are to who we become as people.  The system of magic was handled so well and played a huge part in the world-building.  I loved Etta, and the more we learned about her backstory the more I loved her.  We meet her at such an interesting point in her life, and it was interesting to watch her try to pick up the pieces of her mistakes and deal with her grief.  The plot in the first half of the book was entirely gripping and I couldn’t put it down.  The pacing of all the little reveals about the past and its ripples were incredibly well done.  There was a great and unexpected twist in the middle of the book but after that the action kind of lost its luster.  It felt rushed through and they had very little obstacles until the ending.  Her relationship with her love interest was sweet and a bit of a slow burn, but I wish they would have had more heat and tension between them so we could really feel the build-up.  The ending was was smart, but I wish it would have been a tad bit clearer so I could have fully embraced the effects of its cleverness.  I’m torn with what to rate this book because I am still completely awed by the concept and the exciting plot of the first half, but in the end, I was left a bit underwhelmed.  Because of that, I have to give it a high 3 stars.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Exchange by M.F. Lorson

41039644._SY475_Summary: A time travel student exchange program goes awry when a group of 21st century teens discover love and friendship across time.

Ari hates the Institute and everything it stands for. But to save her father’s job, she’s agreed to help host a time traveling exchange student. She only has to behave for 3 months while he’s here, then off he goes back to 1903 where he came from. Easy peasy, right? There’s just one problem. The more time Ari spends with James the harder she falls for him.

Release Date: September 25th, 2019

 

* I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! *


This story is really cute, but I found that it was too ambitious for such a short book.  At roughly 200 pages, everything moves really quickly and doesn’t leave much room for anything other than the plot movement.  We didn’t really get any development in the characters or their relationships so while the plot was interesting and fun, I wasn’t able to get invested in it.  I really loved the plot and the whole concept, but time travel can be so tricky and there were too many holes left open.  The way the book ended made everything feel pointless because it didn’t answer any of the questions set up in the plot.  In short, the concept was great, but it needed a lot more development to become a fully fleshed out novel.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams

38856385Summary: Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil. 

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

Release Date: September 17th, 2019

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! Thanks to Delacorte Press for the opportunity!* 



I wanted to love this book.  I REALLY wanted to love this book.  It was one of my most anticipated releases of the fall, and while there are some really great aspects that I enjoyed, unfortunately, it just fell flat for me as a whole.  All of the characters were pretty surface level, so it was difficult to connect to, or really care, about any of them.  Everything moves really quickly, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think that in both the characters and the plot it hindered the book’s ability to become fully developed.  I loved the concept and the plot was really interesting and fun, but it wasn’t detailed enough to make an impact.  While I thought the way the spells worked was very clever and cute, the finer details of the system of magic didn’t make complete sense with the other things that were established in the world.  Overall, while this book was cute and had good bones, it wasn’t fleshed out enough for me and left me feeling very underwhelmed.

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Monthly Wrap-Ups

August 2019 Wrap-Up

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This month sped by.  It was my last full month on tour with Cats and while I am super sad to be closing this amazing chapter of my life, I am excited to see what is next and to be home in NYC for my favorite season.  IT’S ALMOST FALL!  I’ve already had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte, I’ve got the fall candles lit, and I am ready for the temperature to drop so I can wear my sweaters and boots and cozy up with some blankets and my fall reads.  I am super excited for the new releases this month and to hopefully make some better headway on my reading challenges!

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Books Read:

Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford ★★★★

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett ★★★★★

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams ★★

The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter ★★★★

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han ★★★


Favorite Book of the Month:

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Book Stores Visited:

Barbara’s Books– Chicago, IL

BAM!– Hershey, PA

Shakespeare & Co. -NYC


Currently Reading:

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Challenge Updates:

Goodreads Challenge: 41 of 100

Classics Club Challenge: 6 of 50


Broadway Book Chat: Ben Bogen from Frozen

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ARC August Reviews

Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford • The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter • The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett •

August Posts

ARC August 2019 TBR • Cleaning Up My TBR: Down the TBR Hole #14 • Top 10 Tuesday: Characters I’d Love to Be Besties With • The Anticipated Releases Book Tag • Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’ve Read That I Want In My Personal Library •


Book Reviews

ARC August Review: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

43822758Summary: The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in this thrilling tale filled with magic and set in the mysterious Carpathian Mountains where a girl must hunt down Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring in order to save her father.

Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

*Release Date: September 3rd, 2019*


I loved it.  This book is good y’all.  The adventure starts right away and I was instantly sucked into the life of Theodora Fox.  She is feisty, smart, and stubborn, and I knew from the first chapter that I was going to love her.  When Huck reenters her life with instructions from her treasure-hunting father, so does the drama.  Every second of this book was exciting, mysterious, and fun.  It was a great mix of action, puzzle-solving, and magic with an angsty historical teen romance.  Theo and Huck’s chemistry was evident from the start, and I loved their history together.  The pacing of the whole book was so well done, always keeping the plot moving forward in an entertaining way.  The writing was stunning, witty, and oh so readable.  Bennet created such a perfect atmosphere for this story, and I fell in love with the setting and its mysticism.  The magic and occultism in this book were fascinating and fit so well in the world.  This book was a little outside of my fantasy comfort zone, but I am so glad that I went with it because it’s fantastic.  I highly recommend.

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Book Reviews

ARC August Review: The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

40242200._SY475_Summary: WELCOME TO THE FOREST OF GOOD AND EVIL.

A DREAM COME TRUE…AND A LIVING NIGHTMARE.

Far, far away, in the realm of Enchantia, creatures of legend still exist, magic is the norm and fairy tales are real. Except, fairy tales aren’t based on myths and legends of the past—they are prophecies of the future.

Raised in the mortal realm, Everly Morrow has no idea she’s a real-life fairy-tale princess—until she manifests an ability to commune with mirrors.

Look. See… What will one peek hurt?

Soon, a horrifying truth is revealed. She is fated to be Snow White’s greatest enemy, the Evil Queen.

With powers beyond her imagination or control, Everly returns to the land of her birth. There, she meets Roth Charmaine, the supposed Prince Charming. Their attraction is undeniable, but their relationship is doomed. As the prophecy unfolds, Everly faces one betrayal after another, and giving in to her dark side proves more tempting every day. Can she resist, or will she become the queen—and villain—she was born to be?

The battle between good and evil is on.


I really enjoyed this book a lot.  The concept was incredible and the plot was super addicting. I absolutely loved the prophecy and the mystery it created for us to figure out as the story and characters progressed, and it was set up nicely for us right at the beginning- creating a really magical and addicting story.  The plot is full of action, romance, adventure, and has a million twists and turns.  I couldn’t wait to see how everything played out through the lens of the prophecy.  What really makes this book special though, is the depth and complexity of the characters.  Showalter really turns this fairytale retelling into an exploration of good and evil, and how our choices affect our fate.  The knowledge of the prophecy really messed these people up. Our narrator, Everly, was a fascinating character and I loved her.  Supposedly fated to become The Evil Queen in Snow White, she is constantly conflicted about what is right and what actions she should follow through, always fighting against her prophesized future.  While she grows a lot throughout the story, there were a few developments that seemed to come out of nowhere and were a bit muddied. I felt that her emotions would do a complete 180 with very little prompting, and it often left me a bit confused as to how we got to this point.  Most of the time I was on board with her though, and I loved her strength, feistiness, and her “evil”, or dare I say human, tendencies.  Her relationship with Prince Roth started out a little bit insta-lovey, but we are inside a fairytale after all, and it grew into a much deeper bond that was incredibly steamy and their chemistry was squeal-inducing.  The other characters involved in the prophecy all went through complex emotional turmoil while trying to figure out which role they played and what their futures held.   This book is a wild ride of love and betrayal, magic and adventure, and steamy romance wrapped up into a beautifully created fairytale world that I really hope to see more of in the future.

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Book Reviews

ARC August Review: Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford

37777083Summary: For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.


I am so happy about this book.  This was one of my most anticipated releases at the beginning of the year, and when I was able to snag an ARC of it I was thrilled.  Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.  It is SO unique, and as someone who reads a lot of YA Fantasy that is not something I can say a lot.  The world-building is fantastic and really interesting and I am enamored with the whole concept of the story.  I was fascinated by the oceanic world of Varenia, and its stark contrast to the ruling mountain kingdom of Ilara.  The Varenian’s unrelenting focus on beauty and perfection created such an interesting atmosphere and added such depth to the characters.  I loved watching Nor navigate the intricacies of this strange court intrigue, and the mystery surrounding the kingdom and how and why the relations between Varenia and Ilara were established.  The plot moved quickly and I thought the overall pacing was really nice.  I was fully engaged in the action throughout the story and it definitely kept me turning the page.  I really connected with Nor’s character and her relationship with her family, her sister Zadie most of all.  Nor’s relationships with her village were established so well in the beginning, that the new relationships she made in Ilara kind of felt a bit underdeveloped- including her relationship with her love interest.  I do wish there would have been more instances to back it up, but they did have chemistry, and I can understand Nor falling for someone who wasn’t entirely focused on her outer appearances for the first time in her life.  My only real and minor grievance with this book was the ending.  It wasn’t bad, and I did enjoy the twist, but it felt a bit rushed like the author wasn’t sure if there would be another book so she had to quickly close the plot in a way that didn’t quite work for me.  It seemed final, but there are still so many open-ended and not fully developed plot points and details that I am wondering about.  I’m really excited that there is another book coming out that will hopefully solve this issue for me.  Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to get back to Varenia and see what is going to happen next.

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Reading Challenges

ARC August 2019 TBR

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It’s time for Read. Sleep. Repeat’s Annual ARC August! I love this challenge because it really kicks my butt into gear in catching up on all my ARCs.  I have 10 on my list this year, knowing I most likely won’t be able to get through all of them with my crazy schedule, but I figured I’d aim high.  Here is my TBR for the month, a bunch of upcoming releases and a couple backlogged books too.

What books are you guys reading for ARC August this year?

Book Reviews

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim Review

42815556Summary: Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

*I received an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.  Thanks to Randomhouse Children’s for the opportunity!*


Ok. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book, and I was so wrong.  It’s really good.  It is a beautifully written story that has everything you could want out of a YA fantasy novel.  The adventure is epic and fun, the romance is swoony, the system of magic is interesting, and the main characters are wonderfully likable.  I absolutely loved the Chinese culture in this book, especially its influences on the magic system.  It all works so seamlessly and transports us to a really vibrant world that I can’t wait to see more of.  The whole story has a traditional folklore feel to it as well, which adds a level of maturity and simplicity in the storytelling.  Maia is a great heroine and really comes into her own by the end.  I loved her arc, but I do wish we could have seen it progressing a bit stronger throughout.  The chemistry and tension with her love interest are fabulous from the get-go, and the pace of their relationship was perfect.  The journey they take together is fun and fantastical and super fast-paced.  The ending packs a punch and left me wanting more.  I am so pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book and I cannot wait to see where this series goes.

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Book Reviews

ARC Review: The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader

41887422Summary: What drove their family apart just might bring them back together…It’s been seventeen years since the tragic summer the McAvoy sisters fell apart. Lindy, the wild one, left home, carved out a new life in the city and never looked back. Delia, the sister who stayed, became a mother herself, raising her daughters and running the family shop in their small Pennsylvania hometown on the shores of Lake Erie. But now, with their mother’s ailing health and a rebellious teenager to rein in, Delia has no choice but to welcome Lindy home. As the two sisters try to put their family back in order, they finally have the chance to reclaim what’s been lost over the years: for Delia, professional dreams and a happy marriage, and for Lindy, a sense of home and an old flame–and best of all, each other. But when one turbulent night leads to a shocking revelation, the women must face the past they’ve avoided for a decade. And there’s nothing like an old secret to bring the McAvoy women back together and stronger than ever. With warm affection and wry wit, Molly Fader’s The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets is about the ties that bind family and the power of secrets to hold us back or set us free.

*I received a copy of this book from Harlequin- Graydon House Books through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Release Date July 16th, 2019


My Thoughts: This book is the epitome of a perfect, well written, summer beach read.  The plot was paced so well and I could not put it down until I figured out all of the secrets.  It was easy to read and had some really poignant metaphors and descriptions, along with some well developed and loveable characters.  We get to read from the four perspectives of the McAvoy women and they all had a distinctive, yet cohesive, voice.  Each woman had their own struggles that were relatable, intriguing, and helped to build a complex and wonderful set of characters.  I loved watching their relationships with each other evolve and discovering what had happened to wreck their former closeness.  The mystery was handled so well, and it ended up being a lot more exciting and dark than I had originally expected.  It dealt with a lot of difficult topics like dementia, abuse, grief, and depression, but was overall a story about family and connection.  I became so emotionally invested in these characters and their experiences that I was moved to tears more than once.  The afterword really wrapped it all up in a great dramatic way that had my jaw on the floor.  Overall, this was a super quick and easily investable story that I highly recommend for anyone looking for a great and fast-paced summer read.

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