Book Review – November 9 by Colleen Hoover

If we’re going to kiss, it has to be book-worthy.

Ok, so maybe I was a little bit hasty to write about my first impressions on romance novels before reading this book.

Rating: 4.5/5

Plot Summary – Fallon and Ben meet each other on the anniversary of an accident leaving Fallon scarred on the left side of her body. It’s the eve before Fallon moves to New York to pursue a career in theater despite her looks.

In a serendipitous meeting, Fallon and Ben fall in love. Sadly, it’s not the best timing. These two agree to meet every November 9th in the same location at the same time and recount their growth over the year. Of course, truths are revealed and hearts are broken.

But do they end up loving each other? Stay tuned.

My thoughts – I can’t tell if this is the story about love at first sight, or love conquering over anguish, or love can heal all wounds. But I can tell you it’s about love. And like the most purest love that you’ve ever thought about that it almost doesn’t feel real love.

This book was like romance-ption (see what I did there?). It was a romance novel including a main character who loved romance novels. If more romance novels were like this one, then I’d definitely apologize for my last post as well as read more and more of these novels.

There weren’t any throbbing members or quivering bosoms. The book felt like a good-hearted story of a boy and girl who happen to fall in love. Their emotions felt real. Their decisions felt real. This whole book felt like something I wish was real and it’s definitely something I look for when I read.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of Confess when it came out. I thought that the story didn’t move in an eloquent way. It seemed clunky stuck with random things that I didn’t anticipate to happen. I was worried November 9 would be the same way.

However, November 9 really had me walking through the city and not paying attention to what’s happening around me. While the rest of America is head down entranced by Pokemon Go, I’m getting hurt in other ways. I walked into a pole this book is so good.


Whether or not the couple ends up together at the end of a book doesn’t determine whether that book has a happy ending or not. As long as the two people end up happy, it doesn’t really matter if they end up happy together.

While I want to give this book five stars, there were two things that I agonized over and wish didn’t happen.

  1. The explanation – Every book has that scene where the main character needs to start from the beginning and explain their reasoning behind things. Without providing too many spoilers, the main character in this book provides their novel. While it’s fun to read a novel within a novel, it was a little bit tedious. I think that Colleen Hoover could have achieved the same effect if Fallon and Ben were talking to each other and the reader was reading a flashback to the beginning of their story. Then, it would feel more like a flowing story than abruptly halted by reading another book.
  2. The ending – Again, without giving away too much about the book I was not happy about the ending. It was oozing with cheese! I’m happy that the ending the way it did, but I’m just not a fan of endings such as this.

However, don’t let these two points deter you from reading the book. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I couldn’t put it down and other cliched phrases to describe how great this book was.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely and especially so if you have a soft spot in your heart for love.

Bearllionaire and My Thoughts on Romance Novels

fabio-rogue-romance-novelThere was a period in my life when I wanted to be a publishing editor. It was in college and I was testing out the different ways that I can somehow be a part of the publishing world.

I took an internship at a huge publishing house in their Romance/SciFi imprint. I’m not quite sure why those two genres were put together, but I read a lot of manuscripts during my period there.

Romance stories. SciFi stories. Romance/SciFi stories. A lot of vampire loves because it was right around when Twilight was super popular. I read them all.

And with all the manuscripts I’d read, I always thought that the romantic ones were kind of dull and silly. However, there needs to be some mass appeal for them because people are still buying romance novels. People are still writing romance novels.

What is it about these novels that people feel compelled to read? Is it the “lonely housewife” thing? Or is it the “ache down there” that people enjoy?

Fast forward to today. I’m in between books and I need something to take my mind off the crazy high fantasy worlds I’d been reading. After talking to some bookish friends, they all said the same thing. Romance novels are a little bit of a guilty pleasure and they take the book slump/hangover feelings away. But what is it about them that people like?

So, I decided to set off and find out what’s so great about romance novels. I had a certain set of criteria that the book required.

  1. There has to be some muscly dude on the front cover
  2. It needs to have a sexy name of some sort
  3. It needs to be short

That was basically it. I didn’t know many of the other requirements for a good romance novel, so I went with more aesthetic pieces. Also, I didn’t want to spend my time reading an epic tome about some sea wench who falls in love with a ruthless pirate.

Somewhere on the Internet, I stumbled across the novel Bearllionaire by Terry Bolryder. I don’t know how, but it seemed serendipitous that I was going to dive head-first into the seeded underbelly of literature and there’s some muscly dude with far too many abs on his stomach to be considered natural. I picked it up.24476957

One of the great draws of romance novels is that they’re cheap. This book just so happens to be $2.99 on Amazon and I can download it to my Kindle. No having to wrap my romance novel in brown paper! But also, you can find romance novels EVERYWHERE. The mass market throwaways at your local grocery store can fill your shelves with the blissful torsos of burly looking guys. Sometimes, you get lucky with a girl hovering oddly close to their “manhoods,” but usually it’s just torsos. And hair. Let us not forget the elegant hair streaming down from some dude’s scalp as it blows majestically in some breeze. It always just happens to blow in the most attractive way possible.

After downloading the book, I went right into it. And two days later, I was done.

And. It. Was. Bad. 

I’m worried that this isn’t the best representation of the romance genre because it was so bad. Without giving any spoilers away, the main characters fall in love and get engaged after only knowing each other for two days. TWO DAYS spent in the woods and they know that they’re meant to be together. And do you know why?


Yeah, the reason why this book is called Bearllionaire is because it’s about a dude that’s a billionaire and also happens to transform into a bear. Now, with his bear instincts, he keeps talking about finding a mate and making cubs and all these other words used to describe bears. It just felt so contrived and poorly described.

Yes, there was sexy scenes. Yes, they couldn’t keep their hands off each other and there was a ton of heaving and sighing, but sexy scenes doesn’t make a romance novel.

I’ve read a lot of books where the author puts a painstakingly long amount of time to create their universe. They have to be detailed and they have to do a good job of it otherwise the reader would be lost. This book, not so much. She just describes in vague detail that he’s a bear and he needs to get his bear-on. And he finds someone willing to do that and she agrees to it! The whole story is so unbelievable and poorly written.

enhanced-23561-1397668595-3Is this what romance novels are like? Are they just shots of bad writing about some quivering members and throbbing loins? Even though it is a romance novel, doesn’t it still deserve to be written thoroughly and with some reality? Isn’t that whole universe just a little bit outdated?

Love has changed over the years and people get down and dirty so much more than what they did in the past. They swipe right and you can be in someone’s arms in less than 3 minutes. That’s the world we live in. And when we read contemporary fiction, that’s what we want to see. A story of love with the heat of passion reflected in reality. Otherwise, I’d read Victorian smut or pirate sex books.

Perhaps reading Bearllionaire wasn’t the best first choice for romance novels. Perhaps there’s something a little bit more around what I’m looking for. However, this first impression wasn’t my favorite and I would much rather read Nicholas Sparks and read him kill someone off.

If you have an option that I can read, let me know! Even if it does have a sweaty ab-y torso on the cover.

Book Review – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.

I have so many feelings about this book that I can’t even.

Rating – 5/5 (NO DOUBTS ABOUT IT)

Plot Summary – If you took The Breakfast Club gang and put them in Ocean’s Eleven, then you basically have Six of Crows.


The story follows Kaz and his crew to kidnap someone who’d created a powerful drug that can amplify Grisha power a hundredfold. Who wouldn’t love a drug like that? Oh, perhaps it’s the fact that you get instantly addicted to it and it drives you insane before you die of withdrawal.

Each person on this “heist” has something to offer the crew. One is a Grisha, another is a bombs expert, a gun expert, and a spy. They all have one thing in common; they all work and live in the Barrel of Ketterdam. It sounds nice, but it’s supposed to be ruthless. Feel the ruthlessness!

My review – After reading The Grisha Trilogy, I was a little skeptic as to how this book would turn out. If you’ve read my review, you know that I didn’t really like that series. However, I didn’t want my feelings about the series to hinder the great reviews I was seeing online about Six of Crows. Also, I’m highly suggestible and that’s how I landed on reading this one.

I am blown away with what Leigh Bardugo was able to do with this world. She’s like a baker. After building her Grisha cake of Alina and Mas, she expertly used the scraps of that world to create a more adventurous novel. By adventurous, I mean that it really took you a journey as a crew of misfits from the Barrel fight for their freedom, their dignity, and a shit ton of money. There’s this repeating idea of “ride or die” with this group that I found so appealing. They barely got along in this story and then by the end, they were best friends (ish? I mean, how friendly can you get with thieves).

Her character development has always been super strong and with the layout of this novel, Bardugo is able to paint a pretty decent picture of everyone in the crew without sacrificing the plot.

Also, there’s a plot! I think that was one of the pitfalls of why I didn’t like The Grisha Series. I always wanted to know what ultimately all that journeying through that world was going to lead to. However, it didn’t in this one. Every step made was intentional. Every journey made sense to build the characters and to build the tension of what’s going to happen next. It was like reading Pirates of the Caribbean, but you know, more fantastical.

The entire time reading this book, I could only imagine what this would look like in a movie. More accurately, I was thinking about how it would look as an anime where the boundaries of the fantastical world created here can be pushed and brought to reality. Honestly, make that happen. Just make it happen.

I think one question people might be asking is if this story is readable without having to read The Grisha Triology?

The quick answer is yes. There’s enough explanation and backstory as to how the Grisha came to be, who the Shu and the Fjerdan are and their stance about Grisha, and there isn’t any wild overly religious implications throughout it (which was one of the drawbacks I didn’t like about the trilogy). However, it isn’t too overbearing with information that if you’ve already read The Grisha Trilogy it won’t be page after painstaking page of explanation you already know.

No mourners.

No funerals.

What I love about this world is that it’s not pretty. You take a bunch of slumdogs from the shadows of Ketterdam and you made them heroes in their own right. It’s most definitely an underdog story and you sympathize with these characters. I don’t know if you’d want to date them, but hey, that’s your call. I can’t gush enough how much I loved this book.

The last thing I wanted to touch on and only slightly because I can’t stop thinking about it and that’s the good ship Kaz and Inej. I don’t know if there is a romantic notion between them, but there is love. I love that it’s subtle and quiet and I definitely love that you can’t feel the tension. They know what they want from each other. They know that it’s impossible to get with the ruthless lives that they lead. However, if that relationship moved forward, I would be clapping the loudest at their thieves wedding.


My Favorite Authors to Follow on Instagram

I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for stalking.

Yes, stalking.

However, you won’t find me trailing my ex-boyfriend or ex-bestie to see what their lives are like without me in it. Instead, I like to stalk my favorite authors.

Ok, so maybe “stalking” isn’t the right term for it. But what is it called when you follow your favorite authors on Instagram, leave comments in hopes that they respond, and idolize their lives through the pictures they post? Maybe obsession? I don’t know.

All I know is that there’s something so alluring about following people who’s books you enjoy. You want to see if their lives are similar to those of the characters they write. However, what you find out instead is that they’re just like us…maybe with a few more random book writing pics. It’s not all about the process in these photos!

I’m also a huge fan of following them on Instagram. Instagram is my #1 social media go-to for all things stalker-y.

I don’t know if you’re interested in the same thing, but I thought I would share my top favorite authors to follow on Instagram.

    1. R. S. Grey – If you haven’t read any of her books, I  suggest you pick one up. She’s a new adult/romance writer in the same vein as Colleen Hoover. However, you’d just think she’s like any other book blogger on social media. Her book pics are so beautiful and you’ll find yourself wishing that was your life. I highly recommend!
    2. Morgan Matson – As everyone already knows, I love YA and Morgan Matson is one of my favorites. Her instagram account is also filled with fun pictures of her, her Starbucks, and her travels. If you’ve ever wanted to be jealous of someone’s life, this is the girl you need to be following.
    3. Jenny Han – Similar to Morgan Matson (also, I think they’re besties), Jenny Han is an incredible writer. She’s definitely got an eclectic mix going on her Instagram and always makes me wonder if this is how life is at the NY Times Bestsellers list
    4. Veronica Roth – You may know her as the author of the Divergent Series, but to me, she’s like a regular gal about town. Her instagram feels like your best friend’s; always doing something interested and exploring the world. You just wish you can be there with her! I can see where she gets her inspiration!

What are some of your favorite authors to stalk on the internet?

July 2016 Book Haul


Back in June, I told myself that this would be my last book haul in a little while. Finances have been rough the past few weeks so buying more books felt like an extravagance that I can do without.

I honestly think I might have a problem.

I sometimes feel like I’m “deprived” from living in the city. You can’t honestly be deprived of anything in New York unless you’re actually deprived. I wouldn’t call myself deprived. I’m getting off the topic. I’m just saying that there are things that come easier to those who live in smaller cities….and have a car.

Bookstores in the city are great, but they’re always so crowded. The Barnes and Nobles are always dotted with homeless people trying to spend a little time in air conditioning or heating. You can also never find a place to sit and you can’t sit on the floor (I’ve personally been yelled at a few times because of that).

So when I’m in the suburbs of some town and I have travel arrangements, I make a trip to a bookstore.

Anyway, I found myself hauling back my haul from Florida to New York over the weekend. Here’s my picks:

  1. You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour – I have heard great things about both of these authors separately, so I’m excited to know what they can do together. This definitely seems like the “slice of life” YA that I enjoy thoroughly.
  2. Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler – Honestly, I picked this book up because it’s about food. It only has 3.5 stars on Goodreads and that worries me a little bit. Hopefully, I’ll walk away from this book with a higher appreciation.
  3. Dreamology by Lucy Keating – Oh this one I’m really excited about. The premise of this book is that a young woman dreams of a dude and he was awesome. Then, this dude becomes a reality. Sounds like my high school dream.
  4. milk and honey by Rupi Kaur – I was a little bit hesitant on picking this one up mostly because I’m not a fan of reading poetry. I did a lot of that in high school and reading poetry sometimes means you have to find some hidden secret the writer is leaving for you. I read a few lines before I decided to pick it up and I think this might be a little bit off the beaten path.
  5. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon –  For some reason, when I think of this book premise I think of that movie Bubble Boy with a young post-Donnie Darko Jake Gyllenhaal. Obviously, this book isn’t about that, but you can’t help but to imagine it.
  6. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – I don’t know how this happened, but there are some YA books I missed while I was in college and a lot when I was in middle school and high school. Vampire Academy appears to be one of them (I was too busy wrapping up finals in college and there was no booklr at the time).
  7. My Lady Jane by a bunch of people (Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows) – This book has been getting a lot of press lately. While it isn’t the most accurate portrayal of Lady Jane Grey, it’s supposedly hilarious and beautiful. I’m excited about this one for sure.

Now, I’m not a big fan of making TBR lists because I end up straying from that, buying a brand new book, and reading that. However, I will say that I’m excited about these picks and I hope to read them before the end of the summer.

Ok, no more buying books until Comic Con.


Book Review – Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

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Timing was everything—that was more and more obvious the older you got, when you finally understood that the universe wasn’t held together in any way that made sense. There was no order, there was no plan. It was all about what you’d had for breakfast, and what kind of mood you were in when you walked down a certain hallway, and whether the person who tried to kiss you had good breath or bad.

Rating: 3/5

I left New York for the week I read this to get some time away from the big city. If you’ve lived here for as long as I’ve lived here (13 years), you may have some of the feelings that I do. My vacation in the summer is meant to alleviate some of that stress from my life for a little while. Unbeknownst to me, that stress would follow me to Florida.

Plot Summary (from Goodreads)- Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.

My Review – I needed a few days to digest this book before I had a chance to write up the review. I think my main hesitation from writing this up quickly was that I didn’t want to sound like a ranting hormonal bitch while I did it.

It’s like watching American Beauty and…

…wait. This is exactly the plot of American Beauty. Geeez.

The story is about aging hipsters who feel like they’ve run out of options and lost out on something big when they were younger. It just seems so overdone. There’s the guy struggling to make something of himself, the lesbians who are trying to make their relationship work while running their little restaurant together, the middle aged woman who made a career out of being a real estate agent when she could have been something else like a rock star. And then the dead rock star who lived as much of her life as possible until she died at the age of 27. It’s like everyone in the book somehow wants to be able to go back in time, do drugs, and be that dead lady.

And the young people, well, they were just starting to understand the feelings that they had for each other. The gun-shy boy who always did the right thing suddenly does the wrong thing. The slutty girl who finally opens up to her emotions. It’s pretty much American Beauty minus the twist ending.

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Where is the plot here? What is the catalyst to move this story forward? There were a few hints of a plot line throughout the book, but ultimately this just felt like a “day in the life of some Brooklynites.”

Emma Straub is one of those authors that I always end up reading their books. Regardless of what the book is about, I’ll ineventually read it. Every time I pick up a book by Emma Straub, I’m always dazzled and fascinated to find out what she’s written. I’ve read Lara Lamott’s Life in Pictures and The Vacationers. I wasn’t too thrilled with either of these, but with a new year, I figured this would be a hit.



There was no fate. Life was just happenstance and luck, bound together by the desire for order

I was so sorely disappointed with this book. I honestly feel that giving it three stars out of five was generous. The theme I got from this entire book was that growing up was/is hard, marriage is hard, everything is hard and you have to deal with it. What Straub lacks in plot development she makes up in quotes. I’ve added a few choice quotes I found while I was reading. Suffice it to say, Emma Straub waxes poetic about the meaning of life while in between bouts of existential bullshit.

So much of the city she’d fallen in love with was gone, but then again, that’s how it worked. It was your job to remember. At least the bridges were still there. Some things were too heavy to take down.

I think some of the issues I take with this book stem from the fact that I live in Brooklyn and I’m so immersed in life here. It wasn’t awe-inspiring to read about the people I live next to. Or even to read about some similar thoughts I’ve been coming to terms with myself.

Perhaps if you’re not from New York and you’re wondering why that kid in your chemistry class that always brooded was up to nowadays, then perhaps this is the book for you. Because honestly, this book wasn’t breaking the mold with ideologies and different life views for me.

Would I recommend? Perhaps not to a native New Yorker.

Book Review – The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson


“The idea that you could rethink the thing you’d always thought you wanted and change your plan – it was almost a revolutionary concept. That you could choose what would make you happy, not successful.”

Rating: 4/5

I was heading off to Florida in a few days time, so I wanted to  pick up a book that would be easy to read and very “summery.” My work life has been pretty stressful the past few weeks, so I wanted to read something that wasn’t too conflict-heavy, but also had a sense of nostalgia. I wanted to feel like how I did when I was in college; less responsibility, more fun. I wanted to feel what summer should feel like. I needed to feel less cynical because I’m a moody New Yorker about to head down to the suburbs of Florida. I needed something to get me back in a better mood.

When I picked up The Unexpected Everything, that is exactly what I got. I love Morgan Matson. I’ve read Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Since You’ve Been Gone and both books showed the beauty of teenage summer. They’re never too dark or filled with hard-headed stubborn people who never change. They’re realistic and enjoyable, so I was excited when I picked up this one.

Plot summary – A contemporary novel about a 17-year-old girl who’s summer fellowship was suddenly rejected. Now, she figures out what to spend her summer doing. She finds a job working as a dog walker that opens up her normal routine to a little bit of variety.

I’m slightly impressed with that quick plot summary. 😀

My review – This is the story of my angry New Yorker life.

**Please be advised that there are a ton of spoilers after this point**

I started reading this book earlier this week knowing I would carry it with me to Florida. We decided to take a train this year instead of the normal drive. It gave me the opportunity to read rather than stare aimlessly at the open road ahead of us. Throughout the scenic route, I couldn’t put this book down. As we passed each town from Penn Station to Raleigh, NC, I felt the way you’re supposed to feel when you’re reading a good book; complete and utter immersion.

Andie is the main character of this novel, but it sometimes felt like I was reading the stories of all her friends. Even though the book was written in the first person, I knew so much about her friendships with Palmer, Bri, Toby, Tom, and Clark I can’t say wholeheartedly that this book is solely about her.

Their summer is spent like how any teenage summer should be spent. There was time to get some spending money, but then there’s a ton of time just hanging out and spending time together. It’s the kind of summer I wish I had now. Now I spend my summers in a freezing cold office reading spreadsheets and managing young professionals through the trials and tribulations of working at a big corporate office. When I read this book, I’m transported back to when I was 17. I spent time at a local restaurant and talked about what dude I was dating. I totally crushed on a guy that I worked with. I had huge cryfests while I confessed to my parents what I wanted tobe doing with my life.


While I asked for a novel with very little conflict, I found myself missing conflict all together. There were two main points with a little bit of tension. One was the relationship Andie kept with her dad and the second was the loss of her mother. However, Andie and her dad were able to resolve their issues together and her mother did leave her something before she died.

The big conflict point was when Andie’s friend, Toby, found out that their other friend, Bri, was sleeping with Toby’s crush, Wyatt. That was when the cookie of the perfect summer crumbled and it happened in the final quarter of the novel. How frustrating! This small domino piece got kicked out of place causing the rest of the summer spent in silence, taking extra shifts at work, and even contemplating the interest Andie had in her love interest.

I didn’t agree with it. I was thinking the entire time there was going to be some over-the-top conflict that made Andie contemplate the truth between good and evil. Why did this bother me that they had a practically perfect summer? Why did I crave so much more drama?

I thought about this for a day and I think I figured it out. I think it’s because I’m a curmudgeony New Yorker that forgot that the extent of teenage drama should be that their friends are upset about sleeping with each other. A normal teenager’s life shouldn’t be filled with turmoil or emotionally damaging moments. They shouldn’t be raped or bullied or hit with one bad moment after another. I’m so used to finding it in books that when I couldn’t find anything, it didn’t feel real. But the reality is that this is how most teenagers live their lives; conflict free.

And that’s how it should be for everyone. No one should suffer through anything until at least college 😉 It took me some time to process this, but once I did, I found the book so charming and upbeat. I wish I could feel that the low point for everyone is a little tiff between friends.

“If whole galaxies could change, so could I”

I put down the book after the final page and was completely satisfied. I read my summery book sitting in front of the pool and listening to the cicadas chirping across the yard. The ending was sadly predictable, but I think that’s OK. It’s supposed to make you feel the way a young adult feels when they are completely out of luck; that soon enough all you need is the hope that tomorrow will be a better day and that galaxies could change.

Would I recommend? Absolutely.

Book Review – The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo



Shadow and Bone: 4/5

Siege and Storm: 3/5

Ruin and Rising: 3/5 (although, I would argue this was a 2/5)

Look, I’m not going to hate. I’m not going to hate because the Grisha fandom is very strong and I’m worried that a mob of fans will come to my house with pitchforks. They’d kidnap me and do an old fashioned hanging in the town square.

I wish I loved these books especially since I’ve been easing myself slowly into high fantasy. There were a few nuggets of good reading, but then there was a bunch of stuff that I couldn’t really stand. I will say that the final book did surprise me the most and I ended up hating it in a “I love it, but I hate it” sort of way.

To give you a brief synopsis, this is the story about a chick named Alina who has some magical power that no one else has and everyone wants to use for themselves. She gets involved with a bunch of dudes who all wanted her for different reasons while she spent her time trying to find herself.

I know I’m like years late to review this book and it’s probably been reviewed to death. So instead of doing a review, I’m just going to chat through it. I took a chance on this book because the book universe kept on talking about it and I needed to really see what it was about. I’m the type of girl that needs to find out on her own. Sadly, I didn’t think I would be completely disappointed. If you can imagine my disappointment after reading “Allegiant,” then I can feel it three-fold for this entire series and I will be using these novels as kindling (jk, it wasn’t that bad).

If you don’t want to be spoiled or hate me more, turn away now.

Book 1: Shadow and Bone

I can see how the first book can really pull a reader into the Grisha world. Every first book needs to explain the world they’re about to reveal before they dive into the drama. There’s always some big reveal and some action that causes the reader to continue with the series. This is what I call the “make or break” book. If I’m not captured by the story at the end of the novel, then I don’t want to waste my time continuing through the entire series.

For the most part, I’ve come across a lot of first novels that have really caught my attention and made me continue reading. This is definitely not an exception to the rule.

I went into this book with an open mind. You have to be open-minded when it comes to the first book. I found myself wrapped up in the story:

  • Who is the mysterious Darkling? Is he the good guy or the bad guy? Is he the bad guy that Alina will spend trying to make good? Oooh.
  • What about Alina? Will she be shy about her powers like Katniss and fight tooth and nail to deny herself the strength to be a leader?
  • Who is the mysterious Mal? Is he the lovable side kick or is he the love of her life?

All these questions sort of swirled around right until the final half of the book when the Darkling reveals that he really is the bad guy and places a collar around Alina’s neck like a wild animal. God, I really gripped the book right at this point. I really thought he liked her and I really thought he was the good guy, but he’s your classic villain. Chaos ensues and Alina escapes. What about that doesn’t make you reach out and want to read the next one? I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.


Book 2: Siege and Storm

The second book. This is a tough one. In the usual 2nd book, there’s some more action where the first book left off. I thought that this was off to a good start when The Darkling kidnaps them again and forces the team to search for the second fetter for Alina. However, that whole thing was done 1/4 of the way through the novel.

By the end of the book, you’re so excited to find out what happens that you can’t wait to read the final book. Then you read the final book and you’re left thinking, wtf. That’s the formula.

I don’t think I’ve read a second book a series that wasn’t chock full of action and fun…until I came across this book.

But the pace of this book was so slow that it wasn’t until the final 30 pages of this book that it finally picked up. This book was over 400 pages and I was kind of bored. Here’s where I always get annoyed with high fantasy. Every time I try to read them, there’s always strategizing and planning and weapon making and traveling. SO MUCH TRAVELING. Is high fantasy just supposed to be a bunch of people who walk around everywhere? Like, with rings and orcs and a dude named Gollum?

I think the most dissatisfying part of this book was all of the prep for maybe a few quick minutes of fighting and running. People put a lot of energy and work into preparing for battle, and it really didn’t do them any good by the end of it. What a bummer.


Book 3: Ruin and Rising

After I finished Siege and Storm, I was not ready to read this final book. Honestly, I should have just read another book while I recharged from Siege and Storm because then I felt a little bit of annoyance with Ruin and Rising. Instead of actually reading this book, I skimmed through it. I’m sorry, book readers, I couldn’t finish it in any other way.

The final book is where all the action happens. It’s also been known as the series killer because almost every single final book I’ve ever read has disappointed me to the point where I’ve sworn off watching the movies. I might have gotten violent with the book as well.


But I found myself feeling a lot of feels. I can’t even talk about them because it’s just so confusing. I liked it, but I hated it. And then I hated it, but liked it. It was all over the place I felt like I had some personality disorder.

This book explains a little bit more about the story behind Morozova’s creations. We also finally get some backstory on The Darkling and his mom Baghra.

However, this didn’t turn out the way I thought it was and honestly, it was a little predictable. Finding out that The Darkling is the Black Heretic in the first novel is one thing, but then finding out that he’s the grandson of Morozova, the dude that made all the fetters that he’s currently looking for? It felt like Harry Potter when you find out that Voldemort is a descendent of one of the Three Brothers and had the Resurrection Stone the entire time (sorry if that’s a spoiler for you folks, but that book has been out for years! READ IT).

And then Mal is a descendent of Morozova as well and he’s like cousins with The Darkling? It’s like Alina loves the wrong men.

Uhh and what is with Nikolai becoming a nichevo’ya, but still having a small part of his conscience within him?


FINALLY, SHE JUST LIKE STABS THE DARKLING AND HE DEAD. Ugh, his death was probably the most disappointing in the entire book. He’s supposed to be this eternal creature that has lived hundreds of years, yet it takes Alina stabbing him to kill him. That’s it! Honestly, if it was that easy, I’m pretty sure he could have died in the first novel.

I love the small iota of humanness you feel for The Darkling when he asks Alina to say his real name to him as he dies. I LOVE IT. It’s that sneaky writer trick people use to try and make you feel a little bit of empathy for the bad guy. No bad guy has ever been a fully demonized being. Just check it out with every book you’ve ever read.




Look, there are some merits to this story. For example, the characters are well written out and I feel like I know more about everyone before the end. But I came to the realization that there were a few themes that I couldn’t really get behind and that ultimately brought me to my review:

  1. The religion – For some reason, the made up saints and the belief in them was kind of weird. I think this was achievable without having to have some strange religious affiliation. Calling someone a saint because they have the power of the sun feels strange for a universe that have powers to heal people or bring darkness. It just felt like a device used to move the story along.
  2. The traveling – I mention this in the Siege and Storm section and the Ruin and Rising section, but I didn’t know there was this much traveling in high fantasy. If this is something that typically happens with high fantasy books, then I guess I have to keep that in mind for the future.
  3. The predictability – I’m glad that Alina didn’t turn out to be the descendent of Morozova’s zombie kid, but I’m not happy that I was able to predict that somehow Mal has some magical power. I didn’t like how predictable The Darkling’s intentions were.

I would definitely recommend this book to someone else. It wasn’t for me, that’s for sure, but I know that there’s a whole fandom who would disagree with me. I know Leigh Bardugo also wrote Six of Crows, which takes place in the same universe, so maybe I’ll enjoy that more than I did this one. :/

On reading LGBTQ books


There’s a lot of books in the world. Like, a lot.

However, I’ve probably only read 2-3 books with LGBTQ themes. And I’m not talking about some Boys Don’t Cry stuff that makes you pity the community or The Danish Girl a poor adaptation of a real trans person’s struggle. I’m talking about characters living their lives with real feelings and real relationships. No haters, please.

I mean you can say the same about books with POC, but this is about pride and I want to talk about that right now. I know there will be people who don’t like what I’m about to write, so you can see yourself to the door if that’s the case.

Here’s a list of the books I’ve read with LGBTQ themes:

  • Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • Select stories from Summer Days and Summer Nights

That’s it. Any other book I just happen to pick up features predominantly straight couples. And it’s not like I’m choosing these books because of that, it just happens to be that way.

But I strongly believe that if we want worldwide acceptance and understanding, we should all be exposing ourselves to stories. I think that it’s bigger than a trans person wanting to read a story about another trans person struggling with the same issues. I think that’s one point, but ultimately us as a society still need the education in order to come out of our ignorant fog.

I think about how nervous and afraid some people are to discuss coming out to their parents or friends. If we lived in a society that fully accepted that everyone may have their own sexual preference, then people won’t have to make a huge production over coming out. It would just be another normal thing. You bring your partner to dinner to introduce them to your friends and no one bats an eye. You bring your partner to meet your parents and they make their opinions on the person based on whether or not they will treat their kid well.

But we aren’t there yet. Not everyone is all accepting that you’ve come to an epiphany about yourself and discovered a part of you that you didn’t even know about. Ultimately the struggle is real and that’s where stories come in.

If there were more stories about gay relationships or the struggle to feel comfortable in your own skin, not only will people feel comfortable coming to terms with themselves, but it will be an education to those it doesn’t apply. Being a straight woman, I don’t know much about questioning my sexuality and being comfortable has come super easy for me. I can’t imagine what it’s like. I want to know more. I want the education.

Granted not everyone is a reader and going to accept that, but the reading community is large and as someone has quoted before, it only takes a small spark. There’s new readers born every day. If I could encourage any LGBTQ writer out there, I would say write those books. Write your feelings. Bear your souls so that we all can benefit from what you’ve learned. Life is short, but knowing yourself will make the journey longer.

I think I’m going to make it my next book move to read more about the LGBTQ community. Ultimately it comes down to this; there’s no ignorance in reading. There’s only love and that’s what we should all remember. That love is love is love is love is love.

That Hamilton speech made me cry.

Finally, I apologize if the acronym I’m using is wrong. Again, I’m ignorant to these things so if you know the more accurate one, please let me know so I can adjust it.

Love you always,


When the movie is better than the book

When the movie is better than the book

Everyone always says that the book is better than the movie. I can rattle off a list of books right now where the book was so much better than the movie adaption.

However, there are some movies that shine brighter than the books they’re based on. Perhaps it’s an advice book about what to expect when you’re expecting or an infamous diary of a young British woman and her love for Mr. Darcy. They all have something in common and that is, the movie is better than the book. Continue reading “When the movie is better than the book”