ARCs · Book Reviews

ARC Review: Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned.

As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.

Release: July 27th, 2021

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

You guys. I am so surprised by how much I loved this book. It was definitely out of my comfort zone with the ultra-spooky vibe, but I dug it, even if I was afraid to read it before bed. I was obsessed with the setting- the old-fashioned, conservative, Children of the Corn-esque isolated community created the perfect atmosphere for this story and it really drew me in. Ellerie was a terrific narrator and I loved seeing this world through her eyes and how deeply she cared for her family and how she dealt with the chaos. The romance was a welcome relief from the horrors happening in the town, and Whitaker was an interesting and mysterious love interest. This book was a simmering, sinister ride, and I was honestly pleasantly shocked by the grit and darkness- especially towards the end. Some of the secrets were predictable, but the story definitely took a turn that I was not expecting. That ending stays with me, and I’m still not quite sure how I feel about its ambiguity, but I also kind of love that. I’m not usually one for scary stories, but I’ll gladly let this one haunt me.

ARCs · Book Reviews

ARC Review: Sunkissed by Kasie West

A lighthearted and swoony contemporary YA romance by fan-favorite author Kasie West about a girl who finds that a summer spent at a family resort isn’t as bad as she imagined…and that falling in love is filled with heartache, laughter, and surprises!

After being betrayed by her best friend, Avery is hoping for a picture-perfect summer. Too bad her parents have dragged her and her sister to a remote family camp for the entire summer. And that’s not even the worst part. Avery also has to deal with no internet, a cute but off-limits staff member, and an always-in-her-face sister.

But what starts as a disaster turns into a whirlwind summer romance as Avery embarks on an unexpected journey to figure out what she truly wants and who she wants to be.

Release Date: May 4th, 2021

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review. Thanks to Random House Children’s and Delacorte Press for the opportunity!*

Sunkissed is the perfect summer read. I’ve read a couple of Kasie West books before, but this one was my favorite. It was witty, sweet, and full of butterfly-inducing moments. I loved every single character in this book. They were all so fully fleshed out, even the really minor ones, and it made it feel real and allowed me to connect to the story more deeply. Avery was a delightful and relatable narrator and I was so invested in her journey of self-discovery and her budding romance. Brooks was super hot and their banter was swoon-worthy. I also loved seeing the relationship and dynamic between Avery and her sister, Lauren. The plot was cute and paced very well, and who doesn’t love a summer resort setting? Music also played a big part in this book, which I strongly related to. It can be hard to convey the qualities of music in writing, but I thought that this was done beautifully. I devoured this book so quickly, and think that anyone looking for a well-written summer rom-com will as well.

ARCs · Book Reviews

Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson ARC Review

Isda does not exist. At least not beyond the opulent walls of the opera house.

Cast into a well at birth for being one of the magical few who can manipulate memories when people sing, she was saved by Cyril, the opera house’s owner. Since that day, he has given her sanctuary from the murderous world outside. All he asks in return is that she use her power to keep ticket sales high—and that she stay out of sight. For if anyone discovers she survived, Isda and Cyril would pay with their lives.

But Isda breaks Cyril’s cardinal rule when she meets Emeric Rodin, a charming boy who throws her quiet, solitary life out of balance. His voice is unlike any she’s ever heard, but the real shock comes when she finds in his memories hints of a way to finally break free of her gilded prison.

Haunted by this possibility, Isda spends more and more time with Emeric, searching for answers in his music and his past. But the price of freedom is steeper than Isda could ever know. For even as she struggles with her growing feelings for Emeric, she learns that in order to take charge of her own destiny, she must become the monster the world tried to drown in the first place.

Released: March 9th, 2021

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

I never knew I needed a gender-swapped retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, but I am definitely glad I got this one! I devoured this book in one day- it was so easy to fall into the interesting and gripping story of Isda, the Opera Ghost. I love The Phantom of the Opera, so this reimagining captivated me with its clever twist on the story. The world of fendoirs and gravoirs was both fascinating and heartbreaking. With powers to access people’s memories by song, the world shuns and fears them, dooming them to either a solitary existence or death. Isda was saved from her horrible fate by Cyril, and now finds her sanctuary living in the crypt of the opera house and secretly manipulating audiences with her powers. The magic of accessing someone’s memories and life experiences through song was a beautiful and creative concept and Isda was a delightfully complex, and sometimes morally gray, character. As someone who spent her entire existence in the company of one other person, experiencing life through other people’s memories, she had a unique view of the world and watching her finally get to discover it for herself was engrossing. The relationship between Isda and Emeric was full of great banter and moments that I loved, but it almost felt too comfortable too soon and I would have liked to get to see Isda figure out how to have a relationship with another human being after being isolated for so long. Despite that, they had a lovely connection and I loved the change he brought to her world. The plot was fast-paced, romantic, dramatic, and violent, and it never felt rushed. Every moment was fully fleshed out and was important to continuing the story. This book sucked me in quickly and didn’t let go until the last page.

ARCs · Book Reviews

Love Spells and Other Disasters by Angie Barrett ARC Review

I didn’t know when I wrote the first love spell that it would actually make things happen. Like, actually make people fall in love with each other…

How could I have known something like that? I mean, magic isn’t real, right?

But here’s the thing—the spell does work and so does the next one and the next one…and suddenly I’m getting a whole lot of attention from everyone at my high school. Me, Blend-into-the-Walls, Please-Let-Me-Introvert-in-Peace Rowan Marshall. And not only that, but I’ve also caught the attention of Luca Russo, a godlike, football-playing hottie who claims he likes me just the way I am. Ummm…

But as I’m about to learn, playing around with things you don’t understand means when things go wrong—like really, very awfully wrong—you don’t know how to fix them.

Release Date: February 1st, 2021

*I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review! Thanks to Entangled: Teen for the opportunity!*

Love Spells and Other Disasters was a sweet and charming YA rom-com with a hint of magic. When Rowan gets paired with her nemesis, Abby, in a school business project, she gets pressured into selling love spells to her peers, knowing that they are just for entertainment… until they’re not. The spells she writes start working, forcing Rowan to face the consequences and her own abilities. I enjoyed the plot of this a lot. Magic chaos is always a favorite story element of mine, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it happen in an everyday context. Rowan’s life has always revolved around the paranormal with her mother’s career, and I thought the understanding of the unexplained was a good tie in with the reality of the magical elements and Rowan’s blossoming abilities. While I enjoyed the story, everything from the plot to the characters felt a little too surface level to me. I was intrigued by the ideas, but would have liked to get in deeper on every level- It felt like a bit of telling vs. showing. I connected with Rowan and loved her relationship with her mom, but her relationship with her love interest, Luca, was insta-lovey. He was almost too perfect and their romance escalated way too fast for me, even though it was sweet. I did appreciate the maturity and non-toxicness of their relationship though. I had trouble really connecting to any of the other characters, especially Rowan’s best friend, Ethan. He was not a very good friend to her, even when he wasn’t under a spell, and I wish I could have witnessed the strength of their connection instead of just being told that they were best friends. The events of the plot were great, but I wanted more depth to help suck me in and be able experience the story. That being said, this was a quick and fun read that I enjoyed and I finished it with a smile on my face.

ARCs · Book Reviews

Hush by Dylan Farrow Review

They use magic to silence the world. Who will break the hush?

Seventeen-year-old Shae has led a seemingly quiet life, joking with her best friend Fiona, and chatting with Mads, the neighborhood boy who always knows how to make her smile. All while secretly keeping her fears at bay… Of the disease that took her brother’s life. Of how her dreams seem to bleed into reality around her. Of a group of justice seekers called the Bards who claim to use the magic of Telling to keep her community safe.

When her mother is murdered, she can no longer pretend.

Not knowing who to trust, Shae journeys to unlock the truth, instead finding a new enemy keen to destroy her, a brooding boy with dark secrets, and an untold power she never thought possible.

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

I wanted to love this book- the synopsis is intriguing, the cover is gorgeous, and I have been hearing a lot of hype surrounding this release. Unfortunately, it fell really flat. The beginning had me hooked with its concept and I liked the vibe of the writing style, but it all went off the rails pretty quickly. The main issue for me was the absence of world-building. There was a severe lack of clarity that caused all of the unique and exciting ideas to be muddy and confusing. This issue leaked into the plot development, as so much of the plot had to do with the magic system and its place in the ruling of the world. It felt very disjointed, and without a strong base of understanding, Shae’s struggles were ineffective. Plot points seemed to come out of nowhere and had little to do with furthering any character arcs. Shae as a narrator was fine, but there was nothing special about her that allowed me to connect on a deeper level. Her journey was convoluted and she never developed from where she began. We only got a surface level experience with all of the supporting characters, which was disappointing as they had the potential to be really interesting with complex dynamics. In a fantasy or dystopian novel, having a strong and clear foundation of your world is arguably the most important thing, because it directly informs every other aspect of the novel. While Hush had great potential, the lack of this crucial element overtook the book’s positives, delivering a murky and unfulfilling story.

ARCs · Book Reviews

ARC Review: The Code for Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor

From bestselling author Jillian Cantor comes a smart, edgy update of Jane Austen’s beloved classic Emma.

Emma Woodhouse is a genius at math, but clueless about people. After all, people are unreliable. They let you down—just like Emma’s sister, Izzy, did this year, when she moved to California for college. But numbers…those you can count on. (No pun intended.)

Emma’s senior year is going to be all about numbers, and seeing how far they can take her. When she and George, her Coding Club co-president, are tasked with brainstorming a new project, The Code for Love is born—a matchmaking app that goes far beyond swiping, using algorithms to calculate compatibility. George disapproves of Emma’s idea, accusing her of meddling in people’s lives. But all the happy new couples at school are proof that the app works. At least at first.

Emma’s code is flawless. So why is it that perfectly matched couples start breaking up, the wrong people keep falling for each other and her own feelings defy any algorithm? Emma thought math could solve everything. But there’s nothing more complex—or unpredictable—than love. 

Release Date: October 6th, 2020

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

Jane Austen’s Emma is one of my all-time favorite books, so I was really excited about the chance to read a modern re-telling. The Code for Love and Heartbreak was an adorable and light-hearted quick read. In this version of the classic story, Emma is a socially awkward math and computer nerd who creates an algorithm to match-make her classmates in order to win a coding contest. I thought this was such a clever way to bring the classic Emma’s meddling into modern times. I enjoyed Emma’s awkwardness, and her lack of experience in relationships was a perfect explanation for her misunderstanding of human emotions. I had a great time comparing the modernized versions of all of the characters to their original counterparts. They all had a fun, contemporary twist while staying true to the essence of the classic character. The relationships felt realistic and romantic, and I appreciated the diversity in all of the couples. The story was sweet and enjoyable to read, and while it isn’t the deepest of plots, there was still a nice journey and growth for our characters. The Code for Love and Heartbreak is a solid YA Rom-Com that both new readers and Emma fans alike will enjoy.

Book Reviews

Majesty (American Royals #2) by Katharine McGee Review

Is America ready for its first queen?

Power is intoxicating. Like first love, it can leave you breathless. Princess Beatrice was born with it. Princess Samantha was born with less. Some, like Nina Gonzalez, are pulled into it. And a few will claw their way in. Ahem, we’re looking at you Daphne Deighton.

As America adjusts to the idea of a queen on the throne, Beatrice grapples with everything she lost when she gained the ultimate crown. Samantha is busy living up to her “party princess” persona…and maybe adding a party prince by her side. Nina is trying to avoid the palace–and Prince Jefferson–at all costs. And a dangerous secret threatens to undo all of Daphne’s carefully laid “marry Prince Jefferson” plans.

A new reign has begun….

*Possible spoilers for American Royals below. Proceed with caution!*

I have been anxiously awaiting this release since I turned the last page of American Royals a year ago. I love these characters and this world so much and have been dying to get back to them. I am a huge fan of Katharine McGee’s writing and storytelling. She is the master of multiple POV’s and weaving plot lines, which she does again beautifully in Majesty. We left American Royals on such a high stakes cliff hanger for all characters involved, and that intensity was lost a little coming into the second book. Everyone seemed to move on fairly easily from the past events and didn’t lean into the drama that had been so brilliantly crafted, and I felt still had room to play out. The plot was entertaining, but it seemed very separate from the storylines and relationships in book one. I loved watching Beatrice come into her own as Queen and her growing relationship was surprisingly sweet and endearing. Sam’s new love interest was swoon-worthy, and I would have liked more steamy moments between them to really heat it up. Nina almost seemed like a side character in this book, there as a foil for Daphne, who by the way is my absolute favorite character, instead of the other way around. Daphne’s story in this book felt the most connected for me and she had the biggest character arc of all of them. Overall, it wasn’t quite as scandalous or dramatic as I was hoping for, but I really enjoyed being back in this world that I love so dearly with some of my favorite characters.

ARCs · Book Reviews

ARC August Review: Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed. 

Release Date: August 25th, 2020

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

I was so excited about this book. I’ve seen some rave reviews for it and the synopsis sounded very promising. It started off strong with a dark, mysterious, and sexy vibe that drew me in right away. The tension created between Kallia and Jack was palpable, and the storyline got off to a fantastic and riveting start. Unfortunately, it lost me soon after that. The mysteriousness pervaded every aspect of the plot, to the point where I wasn’t even sure what the plot was anymore. There were no boundaries created to establish the world or the way the magic worked, and while some really fabulous ideas were introduced and it maintained its atmosphere, it felt like there were too many things brought up that were not cohesive and didn’t move the plot forward at all. The competition was a really cool concept, but I never understood what the point of it was or what one was supposed to gain from winning it. The great stuff that was established in the beginning seemed to be completely forgotten, and Jack never got more fleshed out than when we originally met him. I liked Kallia’s budding relationship with the judge, Demarco, and I felt their chemistry, but its effect got lost in trying to find where the plot was and what I was supposed to be focusing on. The more I read, the more convoluted the plot seemed to get. I am, apparently, in the minority with my feelings about this book, because most people seem to love it. There were some aspects that I really enjoyed and I see the potential for it being an amazing story, but it was missing too much clarity for me to fully get on board.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Reasons Why I Love YA

Hello lovely people! It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Reasons Why I Love [insert your favorite book title, genre, author, etc. here]. Even 10 years after graduating high school, I still mostly read Young Adult books. So much so that I’ve dedicated my book blog to YA. It’s such a special genre to me, and I know there are so many readers out there who agree. Shout out to my amazing friends Joey, Allison, Kristen, and Kaley for their always valuable input on this one! Here are 10 Reasons Why I Love YA.

They’re less dense and easier to read.

This is not to say the YA books aren’t profound or gorgeously written, but 9 times out of 10, I read to escape. I find that this is so much easier to do with YA than it is with Adult fiction. I don’t always want to have to think or concentrate deeply, I just want to read and enjoy the adventure.

The character development is well-rounded.

YA characters are relatable. They usually have a bigger character arc than I find in adult fiction and they have a stronger emotional component to them which makes them easy to connect with.

The plots are less mundane and have more drama.

When I’m reading a book, I want to be taken on a journey. I don’t want to read about Sad Sally in her boring job and sad family life. Obviously there are exceptions, but I prefer something grander. Something with more drama and more excitement. Events in YA, even mundane ones, are heightened by a YA emotional sensibility and that makes it more entertaining and raises the stakes.

The romance and sexual tension is better.

There is something about romance in YA that is just better. It could be the heightened teenage emotions, or the feeling of remembering those first butterflies, or the fact that sexual tension isn’t released as easily as it is for “adults”. There’s a drama and build to it that just makes it better.

The YA book community is so strong.

One of the biggest reasons I started to focus my blog more strictly on YA is because of how amazing the YA book community is. It is so much fun to be a part of. Getting excited for new releases, ranting about crazy twists or bad endings, freaking out about our new book boyfriends- it’s one of my favorite things and brings me so much joy.

There is a sense of nostalgia.

YA books are what gave me my love of reading. They give me the warm fuzzy feelings that I remember feeling as a teen discovering a new world and new characters. Also, now that I am *cough* older *cough*, the situations and feelings in the stories bring me back to that time in my life and it is so relatable and fun to see them from the other side. YA books just have stronger emotional auras and can really put you in your feelings.

There are so many series.

There are so many series in YA. I feel like it can sometimes be harder to find a YA standalone book. As someone who gets super invested in the stories, I always prefer when there is more than one book to continue on the journey.

Options! There are so many genres within the YA “Genre”

YA covers SO MANY different genres. There is something for everyone and I love that you can explore different genres while still retaining all the aspects of YA that we love.

They’re more diverse.

Because each generation is getting more enlightened, books geared towards a YA audience have a lot more LGBTQ+ and minority representation. I’ve loved seeing the genre grow that way, especially in recent years. YA also shows us how people’s upbringing and backstories form them as adults and can teach people to be empathetic and see things from a new viewpoint.

YA combines all of the best aspects of storytelling.

In conclusion, YA combines all of the best aspects of storytelling. It has great character development- both emotional depth and strong arcs, diverse characters and stories, fantastic romances, exciting plots, a strong community, and creates a perfect escape. What more could you want?!

Why do you love YA? Why don’t you? Let me know in the comments 🙂


The Stay at Home Book Tag

a baby shower for amelia

To be honest, I don’t really know what day it is anymore, but apparently, it’s Saturday!  All of the days seem to run together now, and without a schedule, it’s nearly impossible to keep them straight.  So here we are with the most fitting tag, The Stay at Home Book Tag, created by Princess of Paperback.  I found this tag over at Books Are 42 and knew that I had to do it as well.

Laying in Bed- Book You Could/Have Read in a Day


I am so excited for the last installment in the Shatter Me series.  I almost don’t want to read it cuz I’ll be sad that it is over.  I usually read these books super fast because they are easy reads and I can’t put them down, so I imagine this one won’t be any different, especially during the quarantine when I have all the time in the world.

Snacking- A Guilty Pleasure Book


I absolutely LOVED the Sookie Stackhouse books.  They are the best kind of trash read and the perfect definition of a guilty pleasure book.

Netflix- Series You Want to Start


I have heard such amazing things about this series and have been wanting to start it for a while.  Unfortunately, I left the first one at home in NYC and don’t have it here with me… Maybe I could get it on my kindle from the library.

Deep Clean- Been On Your TBR for Ages


I have been wanting to read this for SO LONG.  But it is a skinny book and was always so expensive at the store and I could never bring myself to buy it.  I finally just ordered it off of Thriftbooks and it should arrive at my house any day now!

Animal Crossing- A Book You Recently Bought Because of Hype


I had been so excited about this book, as were a lot of people in the blogosphere, and I was sadly SO disappointed.  It was a struggle for me to get through, there was hardly a plot, and there were barely any vampires.

Productivity – Book You Learned from or Had an Impact on You


I am a huge Elizabeth Gilbert fan, and Big Magic was such a lovely and inspiring book.  Being involved in a creative career can be terrifying, especially right now, and her ideas about the interworkings of creativity were mind-blowing and so impactful for me personally.  It also made me really want to write a book.

Facetime – A Book You Were Gifted


One of my best friends bought me this book when my grandma passed away a few years ago, and I just recently found her card while clearing out some old storage containers.  It was such a wonderful, thoughtful, and unexpected surprise to get her package when I was feeling so sad.  I will always remember this particular gifted book.  Shout out to my girl Allison! ❤

Self Care – What is One Thing You Have Done Recently to Look After Yourself

I have been working out like a fiend.  I’m usually a fairly active person being a professional dancer, but I have been working out more than ever since being quarantined.  If nothing else, at least I’ll come out of this stronger!

BONUS – Name a Book Coming Out Soon


I lived for The Selection (which is coming to Netflix now!! YAY!!), and I am so excited for this new series!!

I tag everyone who is bored at home right now! ❤ Let me know if you do it so I can see your answers too!! 🙂