Fashionably Dead by Robyn Peterman | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! Today we will be discussing the first book in the Hot Damned series by Robyn Peterman, Fashionably Dead. This is a book that I loved in high school, and it was my favorite paranormal romance book, so I was curious as to what I would think about it now. So I decided to reread it. This is an adult novel, so there are explicitly sexual scenes that may make you uncomfortable, so if you are not down for that, I do not recommend you read this novel. But let’s go ahead and get into the review!

Synopsis:

Vampyres don’t exist. They absolutely do not exist.

At least I didn’t think they did ‘til I tried to quit smoking and ended up Undead. Who in the hell did I screw over in a former life that my getting healthy equates with dead?

Now I’m a Vampyre. Yes, we exist whether we want to or not. However, I have to admit, the perks aren’t bad. My girls no longer jiggle, my ass is higher than a kite and the latest Prada keeps finding its way to my wardrobe. On the downside, I’m stuck with an obscenely profane Guardian Angel who looks like Oprah and a Fairy Fighting Coach who’s teaching me to annihilate like the Terminator.

To complicate matters, my libido has increased to Vampyric proportions and my attraction to a hotter than Satan’s underpants killer rogue Vampyre is not only dangerous . . . it’s possibly deadly. For real dead. Permanent death isn’t on my agenda. Avoiding him is my only option. Of course, since he thinks I’m his, it’s easier said than done. Like THAT’S not enough to deal with, all the other Vampyres think I’m some sort of Chosen One.

Holy Hell, if I’m in charge of saving an entire race of blood suckers, the Undead are in for one hell of a ride. ”

My Thoughts:

Something you should know before I get into everything is I have read this book so many times that I could practically recite it in my sleep. This has been my all time favorite paranormal romance novel for many years. And then I decided to reread it, and I discovered she changed things in the book! My excitement was real. I treated this like a new novel, and it almost was. She changed and added a lot of things to the story. Some were really great, but others really rubbed me the wrong way. While I still really enjoyed this, I did find that I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I used to since I was actually thinking about the situations, the characters, the plot and the book as a whole from a critical point of view.

One thing that I have loved and hated in equal measure is the characters. While I can’t really connect with any of the characters in the story, I still appreciate them as characters. They are really well-developed and very dynamic. They make really stupid decisions just like everyone else. They aren’t perfect, which is really important to me. However, I do think it is a problem that I had trouble connecting with any of the characters. Usually, I can in some way, shape or form connect with one of the characters, but I could not, and that is not a good sign for me.

Astrid was, like I said, a character I could not connect to, but she is a character that I liked. To be honest, I think I mostly just liked her and Ethan being together, but also how headstrong she was. That I admired. But there was one point in the book where it says she was an introvert, and I just laughed because that was absolutely ridiculous and 100% false. There is no way in hell Astrid is an introvert. She is an extrovert through and through. There is absolutely no evidence to support that she might be an introvert. We never see her act anything even close to an introvert. That bothered me because she just is not one. You know how I know? Because I am! But I digress. I really don’t like that the only reason I like her character is because I like her with a guy. But she just was not a character that I really loved.

Something else that I didn’t notice before, but I do now, is that Astrid is supposed to be an adult. She is supposed to be almost thirty. She is twenty-nine in this story, and that surprised me when I read that this time around because Astrid seems to lack the maturity that she should have as an adult. She honestly seems to have the maturity of a teenager, and that is definitely a problem with this story, and I consider it an inconsistency.

And another thing is that for some ungodly reason she is absolutely obsessed with Prada stuff. Which is fine. You do you. But it is mentioned on pretty much every single page of the book, and it was driving me insane. Like we get it. She is obsessed with it. YOU DON’T HAVE TO TELL US FIFTY BILLION TIMES. I was just irritated at that point…

I did really love her friend Gemma. Gemma really cared about Astrid, and she had a big heart. I know she really loved Astrid and she grew to get really close with The Kev. The Kev really cares about her, and I am so glad we learned more about her character. Personally, I would have rather followed Gemma’s character than Astrid’s, but I digress. I do think we should have seen her character more throughout the book, not just with Astrid, but in general. I just think she was a little bit underrated…

We just need to talk about Pam for a second. Jesus, Budah and Allah, I love this woman. Okay, so she looks like Oprah Winfrey, which is funny enough. But the woman cusses like a sailor, and she gets creative with it, so it is absolutely hilarious. She at one point calls Astrid a “shithat”, and I just loved her character so much. She was the comedic relief for the book. There were other funny lines, but a lot of the burst out laughing uncontrollably kind of laughter was because of Pam. I just freaking loved her. She was the best.

I don’t have much to say on The Kev other than 1. He’s hot. 2. He loves Gemma. And 3. I think his sense of style is so funny. He just wears things that don’t match, and its hilarious when you try to picture it because it looks so bizarre. But I did really enjoy his character, even if we don’t see much of him throughout the book.

And now on to my favorite character, Ethan. This man is the sexiest man alive (or unalive, undead, whatever), and I just loved him. He was the most possessive son of a bitch I have ever read about, and it was so sexy, and I loved it. He is literally the most powerful vampire in the world, and he can have any woman he desires. But he ends up with Astrid as his mate. That never really made sense to me. Like I knew she was his mate and whatever, but I never understood why they would ever be an item. Yes, Astrid is The Chosen One (don’t even get me started on that one…), and it was in the prophecies that the Chosen One would be his mate, but seriously. I just don’t get it. He deserves someone else, in my opinion. I just don’t see the appeal to Astrid, but I digress…

But there is something I need to talk about real quick. There was one point in the book where Ethan was avoiding Astrid and not talking to her, and she was really upset (rightfully so). And she leaves, comes back with hell to pay. She tries to discuss things with him (not including that, which irritated the hell out of me)

Now, the plot. I think it was executed much better than it was in the original version of the story. I think it is more developed, and I do think the ending is exactly like the original version. It is still gross and disgusting and vile, but it is a really great “ending”. It ended on a cliffhanger, and it was a damn good one too. I will give this book that.

Now one thing I absolutely loved about this book was the writing. I have always been a huge fan of Robyn Peterman’s writing. Her writing style makes her books super fast reads, and I just love the way she weaves characters into situations. I also just love the way she words things because sometimes when I am reading her books, especially this one, I just burst out laughing because in a situation that just does not warrant laughing, there is something she has a character think, and it just makes me burst out laughing. I am just a really big fan of her writing style, and I am definitely going to be picking up more books of hers in the future.

Overall, I did enjoy this, even if I found that I did have several problems with this story. I loved the romance, the writing style, and the overall plot line. It does kind of make me sad that I don’t love this story as much as I used to, but I was a different reader then, and I have matured a lot as a reader, so I understand why I am not as big of a fan of this story as I was. But I do still hope to read more of Robyn Peterman’s work in the future.

3-and-a-half-stars

And there you have it! That was my review of Fashionably Dead by Robyn Peterman. What is your favorite paranormal romance novel? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Astonishing X-Men #1 by Joss Whedon | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! I am super excited to get into a review of the first issue in the Astonishing X-Men series. This is a comic that I kind of just picked up on a whim because it was free on Comixology (an amazing app where you can read and buy comics to read on your phone/tablet/device; highly recommend!). I also bought it because I am in love with the X-Men movies, and I actually really enjoyed this. It was very simple and there wasn’t much that happened, but I literally could not stop laughing. It was absolutely hilarious. But without further ado, let’s get into it!

Synopsis:

“Dream-team creators Joss Whedon (creator of TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and fan-favorite film Serenity) and John Cassaday (Planetary, Captain America) bring you the explosive #1 issue of the all-new flagship X-Men series! As part of X-Men: Reload, this issue marks a return to classic greatness and the beginning of a brand-new era for the X-Men.”

My Thoughts:

This is the first of the X-Men comics that I’ve read, and I actually really enjoyed it. I did have some problems with a certain scene that made two of our protagonists go at each other because it seemed kind of out of character, to me at least. The only things I can compare this to are the movies, but it definitely improved after that. I found myself really laughing, especially because of Logan. He just had me laughing out loud.

And I actually didn’t think the Beast was really scary like he is supposed to be made out to be. He actually was kind of adorable. It’s not even just the artwork, though that is a significant part of it. But his character is literally just like a cinnamon roll. And I know that the Beast as a person is not supposed to be scary because he is a very friendly guy, but there is one part in the comic where he or someone else mentions the human populace being afraid of him, and I just didn’t understand how anyone could be afraid of him, considering how he is portrayed in the artwork. But this brings me to that. I definitely did not think that the artwork was bad. But I thought it was super simplistic, and I wasn’t very impressed by it. But again, it was not terrible, so I still really enjoyed this.

I definitely want to move on with this series and read more X-Men comics. I thought the dialogue was spot on, most of the characters seemed to be acting like themselves, and I really ended up enjoying this!

4-stars

And there you have it! That was my review of the first issue in the Astonishing X-Men series. What is your favorite Marvel character, whether they be in comics you read or in the movies you have watched? Sound off in the comments below! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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July / Summer Biannual Bibliothon Wrap Up!

Hey, guys! I am super excited to talk about the books I read this month because I finally kicked this stupid reading slump that I’ve been suffering from since March. Not only that, but if you remember me talking about being around nine (going on ten) books behind schedule on my Goodreads Reading Goal, then you should know that I actually caught up and am on track, all because of the Summer Biannual Bibliothon. Not only that, but I am ahead of my reading goal, which is crazy! But we will get into that later. I ended up reading ten books, which is absolutely insane for me. But you know what this means? I am officially completely out of my reading slump! Oh, what a glorious feeling this is. All of these books I am about to mention I actually read in the last week and a half of July, so I actually thought I wasn’t going to be posting a wrap up. Wow, that has changed. But let’s go ahead and get into the books that I read in July!

I am going to be separating the books I read outside of the readathon with the ones I read during the readathon. So I am going to start with the ones I read outside of the readathon.

The first book I read this month was Nothing But Shadows by Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan.

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This is the fourth book in the Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy series, and I really enjoyed this. It gave me a snapshot of what The Last Hours series is going to look like. I did start out not liking this book at all, and that is totally because I was listening to the audiobook, and I hated the narrator. But I ended just reading the rest of it using my physical copy, and I absolutely loved it. While I was disgusted and appalled at the blatant prejudice in the Academy and how they were so mean and cruel to anyone who was different (see: James), I ended up loving a lot of the characters in the book, especially James. He is like a little cinnamon roll, and I just loved him. This novella ended up making me super excited for The Last Hours. I did review this, so feel free to check that out, but I ended up giving this 4/5 stars.

The next book I read was Ms. Marvel: Meta Morphosis, written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Adrian Alphona.

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Okay, I know that this is a comic book. But if Goodreads counts it, then I am counting it. This actually is not a graphic novel. I read the first single issue of the series, and I really enjoyed it. While it was short (comic book, duh), I ended up really liking some of the characters, and I thought it was really refreshing to see a Muslim Pakistani-American as the main character. The end definitely raised some questions, so I think it’s going to be interesting to see the blowback from the end of the comic. But I am really glad I enjoyed it, and I will be posting a review, but since I did not have a whole ton of things to say about this, it definitely will be in a post with a bunch of mini reviews of other comic books I’ve read (I have just been in the comic book mood). But I ended up giving this 4/5 stars.

The next book I read was Sacrificed to the Dragon by Jessie Donovan.

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This may or may not seem familiar to some of you because this was actually a reread for me. I have just been in the mood to reread books I have loved (I heard that is one of the best ways to get out of a reading slump), and I am glad I did because I forgot how much I love this story. This is an adult novel for mature readers, and I still stand by my review from last year. If you are interested in my full thoughts, you can check that out, but keep in mind that was before I started improving on how I did my reviews and before I started writing extensive reviews. It is kind of an old one. But back then, I gave it 5/5 stars, and I still stand by that. I just really love this story, no matter how many times I reread it.

And the last book I read outside of the Summer Biannual Bibliothon was Ready to Were by Robyn Peterman.

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This is another reread for me. It’s a good book with an unfortunate title. But the name of the series still cracks me up because it’s a pun. It’s called Shift Happens. But upon rereading it, I actually have changed my opinion about the story. Originally, in my initial review (another old review, but you can still check it out), I thought that this was complete and utter instalove. I actually have changed my mind about that. These two characters have known each other for years and years, they dated previous to this book and had been dating since she graduated high school, they’re mates, and they still both love each other. They have a history together. This is not instalove. I originally gave this 4.5/ stars, and I still stand behind that. I just really enjoyed this much more than I originally did.

Now let’s get into the books I read for the Biannual Bibliothon, but bear with me. This is going to take a while because I read a lot during the readathon (the most I have ever read in a readathon ever). I did end up reading 1,337 pages over the course of the week, which I am super excited about. But let’s jump right in!

The first book I read during the Biannual Bibliothon was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling.

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This is a book that satisfied two reading challenges, the first being to read a Banned Book and the second being to read a book that has been adapted into a film and then watch the film. This book, I think, was the reason I got out of my reading slump. It just reminded me why I love to read so much. I actually think I enjoyed this story more the second time around than the first time. I know. All of you are probably thinking that that is kind of impossible, but it’s true. I had so much fun reading this book. It just made me laugh so much, and I just loved revisiting this world and these characters. I, of course, still stand by my rating of 5/5 stars, and I haven’t written a review ever for this book (it was pre-blogging), but I am considering writing a review based on my reread experience. If that is something you would like to read, let me know in the comments down below. But again, I really enjoyed it.

The next book I read during the readathon was A Curve of Claw by R. E. Butler.

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This is another reread for me, and I didn’t choose it for any of the challenges, but I read it during the week, so I am counting it. I have reread this book countless times, but I just wrote and posted a review of it, which was exciting. I have always loved this book, and every time I reread it, I pick up on something new. It is an adult novel with explicit sexual scenes, but I just love it. I love the characters, the magic, and the shifters, and so much more. It’s just one of my favorite books ever. I ended up giving this 4/5 stars.

The next book I read was A Flash of Fang by R. E. Butler.

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This is the sequel to A Curve of Claw, and I actually enjoyed this one even more than the first one. This is shorter than its predecessor, but there was more action in this one and more of a concrete plot line. My review of this is up, and obviously, this is a reread for me, but I really enjoyed it, as always. I just love the writing, plot line, characters and just everything. This book is so great. I really need to pick up more books by R. E. Butler…But I ended up giving this 4.5/5 stars.

The next book I read was Saga #1, which was written by Brian K. Vaughan, and it was illustrated by Fiona Staples.

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This is a comic book and not a graphic novel because I read the first single issue. But I absolutely fell in love with this story. This is the first comic book I have ever read, and it is just a really beautiful story. It’s a story of love, badassery, and how much two parents will sacrifice for their child. I just loved this so much. This is what made me fall in love with the comic book world. While I loved the writing (the humor was so on point!), I absolutely loved the artwork. It was just so stunning. And I probably should mention this is an adult comic book with explicit sexual scenes, and with it being a comic book, you see the sexual scenes. Just wanted to warn you in case you decide to pick this one up. But I did review this, so I recommend you check that out. I gave this 5/5 stars.

The next book I read was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

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This book satisfies the challenges in which you read a book that you have not seen or heard of on the booktube/blogosphere. This book was recommended to me by my best friend, Megan because it is one of her favorite books of all time. I am so happy to say I freaking loved this book. I don’t think there are words to describe what this book means to me, but I am pretty sure that this replaces Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell as my favorite book of all time (I know; it’s practically blasphemy!) just because it really touched me, and it really just connected me to the story. I just cannot express the love I have for it. This is a book where I cried more for this book than I have cried in my entire life. And that is the truth. I did write a review where I tried to convey what I thought about this book as concisely as I could, so feel free to check that out. But I just loved this book, and it kind of broke me. But I (as I’m sure you can guess) ended up giving this 5/5 stars. Wow, this book was bloody fantastic…

And the last book I read for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon was Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor.

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This book satisfied another reading challenge, which was the Throwback Challenge in which I would need to read a book from an author I have never read before. I am so glad I chose this book because I absolutely loved it. I devoured this story. I just really connected with these characters because this book is really focused on depression (as I have depression), not only because of depression being the sole focus of this novel, but also because it features a character that never had a trigger for their depression, which we like never see in Mental Health fiction, and I never had a trigger. But this book is not just about depression, and it is not a depressing book. It is at some points, yes, but this book was absolutely hilarious. I literally was laughing out loud on the first page, and I didn’t hardly stop laughing throughout the novel. At one point, I was crying on one page and laughing on the next. I just really thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and I am so glad I decided to read it. My review is up, so feel free to check that out. I gave this 5/5 stars.

And there you have it! That was my wrap up for July and for the Summer Biannual Bibliothon. What book of these, if any, is your favorite or that you find intriguing? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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A Flash of Fang by R. E. Butler | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! I am coming at you with a review of the second book in the Wiccan-Were-Bear series, A Flash of Fang. This series is one I have been obsessed with for years, and I still never get tired of it. It’s so great. With that said, there is definitely many graphic, sexual scenes, and this book is intended for mature audiences only, so if you are not comfortable with that sort of thing, I definitely can’t recommend this to you, but if you are down with that sort of thing, I definitely recommend you check this one out. But let’s go ahead and get into the review!

Synopsis:

“A Flash of Fang is the follow-up novella to A Curve of Claw and joins Elizabeth, Ash, and Axe several months into their married life. Bad dreams stalk her from the darkness and leave her with a sense of foreboding. When the fall mating heat comes upon her husbands, the only thing she can think of is how dangerous her life is and how unfair it is to bring a child into their world. Ash and Axe reassure her that they will keep her safe at any cost, but her fears are only compounded by their earnestness. When her husbands have had enough of her keeping secrets from them, they become creative in getting her to talk.

This book contains M/F/M interaction and is intended for mature audiences only. Warning: this title contains more were-bear and witchy loving, office loving, nipple biting, wandering fingers….and enough ice to cool things down.”

My Thoughts:

This book actually, in my opinion, was even better, which is very surprising considering that this novella is shorter than its former counterpart, A Curve of Claw. The first book was geared more towards the character development and the development of Elizabeth and her husbands’ relationship. There was not a ton of action, which didn’t bother me because I just loved it so much. It was a more character-driven story while this one ended up being more of a plot-driven story.

In this one, we see Elizabeth being very unsettled about something. She is having bad dreams, which she will not share with either Ash or Axe, and because of those dreams, she isn’t sleeping. She is just so tired all of the time. We also see Elizabeth thinking about kids and wanting to have them with her husbands. But this all ties into one central and big plot line that was definitely action-packed and very interesting.

There are definitely still sexual scenes in this novella, and there are some really great couple scenes with all of them. It is slowly revealed as to what is causing all of her bad dreams, why she is so unsettled, just everything that has been building up in the novella. I really did enjoy the plot once it was finally revealed, and it was just super interesting because it definitely was not what I was expecting, but it was still great nonetheless.

I also just really loved seeing the focus on family and having children. That was super prominent within this novel, and it definitely was a subplot, and it just really made the story come full circle. I loved seeing Ash and Axe with kids (I swear to you that there is nothing sexier than a man that is great with kids), and I just knew they would be fantastic fathers. And Elizabeth really wanted kids, which I also really loved seeing. She was just so concerned with how they would be raised because she wanted their lives free of danger, and that really showed through with this novella.

Overall, I really loved the intricate plot, the amazingly developed characters, and R. E. Butler’s simplistic, but great, writing style. I just really enjoyed this second book, and I really want to read more books by her.

5stars

And there you have it! That was my review of A Flash of Fang by R. E. Butler. What is your favorite aspect of paranormal novels? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! I am so freaking excited to come at you with a review of a book that has definitely worked its way onto my All Time Favorites list. Definitions of Indefinable Things really sheds a realistic, but entertaining, light on depression. Sprinkled with humor all throughout it, I can positively say that I laughed my ass off reading this. It was hilarious, relatable and absolutely fantastic. I flew through this book, and I definitely recommend it. But let’s go ahead and get into the review!

Synopsis:

“This heartbreaking, humorous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected.

Reggie Mason is all too familiar with “the Three Stages of Depression.” She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in.

Reggie encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. Snake’s presence, while reassuring, is not exactly stable—especially since his ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.”

My Thoughts:

Wow, this book was hilarious and the most relatable book I have ever read.

This book, if you didn’t know, focuses heavily on depression, and it actually presents it in a very honest and relatable way. But this book was not just doom and gloom. It is possibly the funniest book I have ever read in my life. And it’s just random funny moments that have literally made me laugh out loud. I lost count of the number of times I LOL’d. Just to give you an example of how funny this book really is, there was a scene where Reggie had to go on a rollercoaster, and she is deathly afraid of heights (another relatable thing; I am deathly afraid of heights as well. Like, its bad. I freak out if I am at the top of bleachers.), so naturally she was trying to stay calm and not freak out. And there is one point where she talks about how she is feeling and doing, and this is what it was:

“The remainder of the ride was a haze of track, sky and terrified screaming. I even swallowed my gum on one of the coaster loops. That was pretty memorable. Memorable because I was choking for the last few seconds of the ride and prayed my mother’s infamous Jesus-take-the-wheel plea before I realized I would, in fact, live.”

It was just a random moment when she was talking about what she was thinking and doing, and I just burst into uncontrollable laughter. And that happens all the time throughout the course of the book. Like, it was absolutely hilarious to me. And it kind of sounded like something I would be doing, to be completely honest.

Moving onto the relatable factor, this book, unlike many other books about depression, presents a character who has no trigger. In pretty much every other book about depression, the character always is triggered by something for depression. And this time, there was a character who had no trigger at all. And that is exactly like me. I have no trigger for my depression. It is just something I have been struggling with for my entire life. In one scene, Reggie and Snake are talking about depression and their experiences with it. At one point, Reggie asks Snake how he knew he was depressed. Snake’s response is singlehandedly the most relatable thing I have ever read. He said:

“How does anyone know they’re depressed? You feel equally alive and dead and have no idea how that’s even possible. And everything around you doesn’t seem so full anymore. And you can’t tell if the world is empty or you are. That’s how I knew. I realized it wasn’t the world that was empty.”

That just was so relatable to me because that perfectly described my experiences with depression. That is exactly how I feel because as you may or may not know, I have been suffering from depression for most of my life. And this was the first time that a book had a character who was not triggered. Is it important that we see characters that do have triggers? Oh, definitely yes. There are definitely people out there who do experience triggers with depression. But it is also very important to have characters who don’t have a trigger because there are definitely some people that have never had a trigger. It is definitely very important to show both sides of depression because everyone experiences depression differently, and that should definitely be portrayed more in literature.

But let’s go ahead and get into the characters because they all went through a tremendous amount of development over the course of the story. Reggie definitely went through a shit ton of character development. At the beginning of the story, Reggie is this super cynical and sarcastic (okay, she still is cynical and sarcastic at the end) girl who did not get close to anyone and chose to feel nothing because, in her mind, that was just easier because feelings got you hurt. By the end of the book, she slowly starts to realize that while she acted like she didn’t care at all for people, she actually has a really big heart and cares so deeply that she is concerned she cares too much. She just goes through a tremendous amount of character development, and it was actually really beautiful to witness. Also, she was absolutely hilarious. Like, I strive for the amount of cynicism she has (I’ve already got the sarcasm down to a science at this point). Her cynicism actually was very relatable, not to mention entertaining, to me. This is literally on the first page of the book, and it just made me realize that I would love this book:

“Nothing made me want to get hit by a bus more than Tuesday night happy pill (see: Zoloft) runs. After a lengthy car ride with my mother, who spent all ten minutes singing a God-awful Christian melody and praying for the state of my wayward soul, I’d have to physically restrain my hands to keep myself from shoving the door open and rolling out onto the highway. Sometimes I prayed, too. That a piano would fall from the sky and crush my miserable, suburban existence. Or that God would set CVS on fire to spare me from having to choose between Mickey Mouse and Flintstones gummy vitamins. Since I was, quite unfortunately, still alive, I took it that God couldn’t hear me over my mother’s off-key rendition of ‘Amazing Grace.'”

Let’s talk about Reggie’s mother because man, do I have problems with Reggie’s mother. Basically, her mother sees Reggie’s depression as a failing, as evidence that she has fallen away from God, and of her blaspheming against God. The woman physically made me want to strangle her for the majority of the book. I physically had to restrain myself from trying to reach through the book and kill her. But, she did go through some development. I will give her that. We get to finally understand her towards the end of the novel. Turns out she quit her job that she loved so much (working at a daycare) because she wanted to take care of Reggie where she was diagnosed with depression.

She also eventually gets off her “holier than thou” high horse and calms down the judgments (man, does that woman know how to judge). She starts to become a decent human being, and I didn’t wish her dead. I’m not saying I grew to like her character. I’m saying that I just don’t want her dead anymore, which is major progress, trust me. This woman is so religious, however, that it puts my mother to shame (this is a really great feat; I never thought anyone could top my mother in terms of being religious). Reggie at one point says that her mother is so religious that it probably makes God embarrassed. Another Reggieism that I found absolutely hilarious.

Snake does not go through the amount that Reggie goes through, but he definitely changes by the end of the book. In the beginning, he is kind of just a slightly immature teenager. By the end of the book, he grows to be kind of a man. He becomes much more mature, which is great considering he is having a kid, but it isn’t just that. He becomes to realize that he cannot rely on other people to make him feel happy. He shouldn’t try to make someone else fix him because the only person who could fix him was himself, and that just really showed a lot of character development.

I also cried during this novel. It definitely didn’t read the level of The Book Thief (I don’t think I could ever reach that level of sobbing again), but I was crying a good amount. I am not telling you why, but so many sad and depressing (pun intended) things were happening in the story at that point that I just could not handle it. And then about two pages later I started laughing because that’s the way this story goes. It was literally about Reggie saying that catfish were the ugliest things ever to be made and that God made the “ugliest possible creature his mind could ever have the displeasure of imagining.” This book just makes me laugh and cry almost at the same time throughout the novel, and that is just an amazing feat for me. I am so not the crying type when it comes to reading…

This was definitely a character-driven story, and I just loved it so much. It was hilarious, it was relatable, it talked about depression in a very realistic light, and it is definitely my favorite book I’ve read thus far about depression. I loved the writing style (it was very different than any other book I’ve ever read, and it just made the book even more entertaining, in my opinion), I loved the plot, I freaking loved most of the characters, and I think this was an excellent debut novel for Whitney Taylor. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future!

5stars

And there you have it! That was my review of Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor. What is your favorite book featuring a character that suffers from a mental illness? Sounds off in the comments below! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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A Curve of Claw by R. E. Butler | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! I am really excited to come at you with a review of the first book in the Wiccan-Were-Bear series, A Curve of Claw. This is actually a book I’ve read many, many times. I used to read it on a daily basis, and that is totally because I never can get enough of this story. It is just so fantastic. That being said, this is very mature with lots of graphic, sexual scenes, so if that kind of thing makes you uncomfortable, then I don’t suggest you read this. But if you are totally cool with that kind of thing, I definitely recommend you give this one a go. But let’s just go ahead and get into the review!

Synopsis:

“Natural born wicca Elizabeth Xavier likes her life just the way it is. She has a beautiful lake house. Power to rival just about anyone. And seven men that cater to her every desire. What she didn’t expect was to be asked to perform a binding ceremony in the local were-bear den and tie herself forever to a were-bear as a permanent guard. She didn’t like anyone telling her what to do, and giving a man a supernatural tie to her life meant he’d probably want to boss her around, too. Or tell her she couldn’t enjoy her casual relationships with the other men in her life. Guilt is a strong motivator, as is the reminder that she was abducted several months earlier, so she goes into the den with the intention of securing a guard and keeping him at arms’ length. Too bad no one told her that were-bears don’t like to be kept at arms’ length.

When Elizabeth realizes that more than just her personal protection is up for grabs from the bear she binds herself to, can she go through with it, even if it means losing everything she enjoyed about her life? Will she go back on her word and destroy the alliance between the two groups, or does happiness lay in the underground den in the arms of a were-bear? When more than just the alliance and her own personal protection is on the line, Elizabeth has to make a decision fast. The decision to take a guard has never been so important.

This novella is for mature audiences only and contains a feisty play-girl witch with a sarcastic attitude, some red-hot were-bear loving of the menage variety, jealous lovers, claws and fangs galore, and some roadside nookie hot enough to melt the tires from the truck. This book contains M/F/M interaction.”

My Thoughts:

This is like the billionth time I have reread this book, and I still really love it. Even though it is very short, less than a hundred pages, I still enjoy it. I always notice something new each time that I reread it. I could just keep rereading this story over and over and never get tired of it (I used to read this book once a day – I was completely obsessed with it when I originally read it), and I just am so in love with this book and this series.

The character growth in this novella is kind of extraordinary. From our main character, Elizabeth, completely turning around her ways (she used to sleep around with like seven different men as well as let two vampires feed off of her until she became mated to some very sexy werebears) to becoming a super likable character who truly does care for those around her. She just became a really great character to me because I was not the biggest fan of hers in the beginning, but her character growth just made me like her character. She is snarky, sassy, and super loving to those close to her, and that is just something people to need see more of in the literary world. We need to see a strong, female character able to stand up for herself, but also be able to lean on those she loves. Oh, and did I mention she is a Wiccan?

Oh, sweet Jesus, we have to talk about Ash and Axe. They are hands-down the sexiest characters I have ever read about (and that definitely says something because I have read a lot of books with lots of sexy characters). But it isn’t just their appearances that makes them sexy (the descriptions of these characters make me start to drool, no joke), but they are sexy because they are so possessive (in the best possible way) and so dominant (in the fabulously great way), and they also just love Elizabeth so damn much. You can just feel their love for her in this book, and it kind of takes my breath away. I just love these two men that it is kind of hard to describe.

Also, I just am so in love with every single character in the book. But you remember me saying that Elizabeth is a Wiccan? Yeah, she is a witch/Wiccan, and that just was another part of the story that I really loved. Surprisingly, I haven’t read another book featuring a Wiccan character. It was so interesting because that is a big part of this book. It isn’t something that is just brushed over or anything. That is a huge part of Elizabeth’s character, and it was nice to see that so prominent in this novella.

And you did hear me right earlier. I said werebears. This is another first for me, which is also very surprisingly because I used to be super into the paranormal genre. But people most just write about werewolves in that genre, so I never came across this in all the books that I read. I honestly was not sure if I was going to end up liking the werebear aspect of the book, but I did really enjoy that. I think it was a super integral part of the story, and it was really interesting. It was another aspect that I just loved.

I also really loved the writing. I am coming to understand that I usually prefer simplistic writing styles as opposed to very poetic and lyrical writing styles (I really don’t have the patience for that, honestly). R. E. Butler just has this way with words that explains everything so perfectly without info-dumping or having paragraphs of just nothing but description (see: lyrical writing styles). I was able to get a great scope of the characters and the setting, which I really enjoyed. Her writing style is really what helped me to fly through this novella so quickly, and it definitely added to my enjoyment of the novella.

Overall, I really enjoyed the plot, the characters, and the author’s fantastic writing style. I am so excited to read more from her (I have read one other novella by her, and it was just as fantastic as this one), and I definitely recommend you check out her other work! Her books are just so fantastic.

4-and-a-half-stars

And there you have it! That was my review of A Curve of Claw by R. E. Butler. What is your favorite paranormal novel or just one you really enjoyed? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Saga #1 by Brian K. Vaughan | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! I am super excited to talk about the first comic book I’ve ever read, the first issue of the Saga series. I really wanted to get into the comic book world, and I had heard absolutely amazing things about this series, so I decided to give this a go, and I am so excited that I did. It really is a beautiful story, and I am so excited to read the rest of the series, but something you should know is this is definitely for mature audiences only. There is explicit language (which doesn’t really bother me, but it might bother you) and explicit, sexual things. And since this is a comic book, you see how explicit it is. So keep that in mind when you are considering picking this one up. But let’s go ahead and get into the review!

Synopsis:

“Star Wars-style action collides with Game of Thrones-esque drama in this original sci-fi/fantasy epic for mature readers, as new parents Marko and Alana risk everything to raise their child amidst a never-ending galactic war.”

My Thoughts:

This is the second time that I have read this, and I still love it. This is the first comic book I have ever read in my life, and now this just makes me hungry to read more manga / graphic novels / comics. I originally thought comics would be so hard to read, and I wouldn’t like them because there was not as much text as in a regular novel, but I was wrong. This was really easy to follow, actually. And I actually found it super interesting because we, of course, don’t get descriptions because we see the art. But it was absolutely stunning.

We don’t see many characters since this comic is short (as all comics are), being about forty-eight pages (which means I devoured this in less than fifteen minutes), but I enjoyed most of the characters we do see. I really enjoyed Alana’s character. She was definitely my favorite. Like she was absolutely hilarious, snarky, a badass, and she really loved her daughter as well as her husband. That really came through, and I loved seeing that.

Alana’s husband (whose name either we don’t know or I missed somehow) was super caring, loved Alana to death, and he just gives off this vibe of being a great guy, and he definitely will be a great father. He is regarded as being something filthy because he is from a moon that is extremely close to the planet where Alana grew up, and the moon and the planet have been fighting and battling it out for like ever. Alana and her husband are supposed to be mortal enemies, but they actually really care for one another and think the whole war is complete bullshit. This guy is quirky and loving and has such a big heart. I just love him!

The story is being narrated by Hazel, their daughter, who speaks of her being brought into the world and how, thanks to her parents, she got to grow old. Now what happened in between that time, I imagine, is what the entire series is centered around. But at the core of this story, especially this first issue, is the love between these two parents and how they are willing to sacrifice everything for their daughter, and I just thought that was a really beautiful message.

We need to talk about the artwork because damn. It was beautiful. While I am not experienced in the artwork of graphic novels and comics, I am very experienced in artwork in general. I’ve been following Cassandra Jean, who illustrates a lot of the things set in the Shadowhunter Universe, and I know good art when I see it. I absolutely love Fiona’s art style. It’s all very detailed and intricate, but also is minimalistic, which I loved. I thought she did a fabulous job with this comic.

Overall, I am super satisfied with this comic, and it has really opened my eyes to the comic book world. I loved the characters, the story line, the artwork, and the writing (it made me laugh out loud multiple times). This was just a really great comic, and I am so excited to read more of this series.

5stars

And there you have it! That was my review of the first comic book in the Saga series. What is a comic book / graphic novel that you would personally recommend I check it out? I am super open to suggestions! And I think that’s going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! I am so freaking excited to come at you all with a review of this book, The Book Thief! It has taken me forever to finally finish the entire thing, but I have finished it, and I absolutely loved it. This is easily right at the top of my all time favorites list, and I almost want to say it is my favorite book of all time. But this book is set in World War II, its narrated by Death, and it is beautiful. Highly recommend this story because it was absolutely bloody fantastic. But let’s go ahead and get into the review!

Synopsis:

“It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.”

My Thoughts:

Jesus, Budah and Allah, I am a sobbing mess right now.

It’s kind of hard to express how much I love this book. I totally get why so many people have been obsessed with this because I almost want to say that this is my new all time favorite book. Like, ever. I just was so in tune with all of these characters. I cared about them, loved them, and by God, I can positively tell you this book has made me cry more than I have in my entire life for a book. I have never cried this much for a book. And the fact that I did cry is pretty miraculous because I am not a book crier. I don’t usually cry. And I nearly went through an entire box of tissues that my brother conveniently had. But I don’t think anything I can say would do this book justice, but I will try my best.

Let’s just talk about Mama and Papa (Rosa and Hans) for a bit. From the beginning, I absolutely loved Hans Hubermann. He is such a caring and selfless man. He loved Liesel so much. He wanted to help the Jews. He knew that what Hitler was doing was absolutely wrong. He kept a Jew in his basement, for crying out loud. He was easily one of my favorite characters from this story (I have a lot of favorites). Rosa Hubermann was not someone I liked right off the bat like her husband. She is more of an acquired taste for me. It took me a bit to really understand her character and just to love and connect with her. But while she is definitely rough around the edges, ultimately she does truly have a big heart and she loved many people very deeply. I really grew to love and respect her character.

Now, let’s get to talking about Rudy. I loved his character. I loved how much he really loved Liesel. He cared about her so much, and they were so close. I think under the right circumstances they might have moved past the friendship barrier and started dating. But I was not focused on any semblance of romance. He just was always there for Liesel and she for him. They were best friends, and they would have died for each other. That kind of friendship just made a lasting impression on me. I think it was a very powerful and wonderfully portrayed friendship, and it was one of my favorite things about the book.

Oh, Liesel. You have lost so many people. And yet, she still gets up in the morning. She doesn’t let her past cripple her. She is so strong. She truly cares about the people in her life. She loves them so deeply, from Max to Rudy to Mama to Papa to her neighbors around her. And that isn’t even close to how she feels about books. She loves to read so much and she spreads that love to the people around her. She allows reading to help distract her and everyone else from the air raids. She reads to them and they don’t think about the dangers of the air raids as much. She really teaches us the power of words and how words can make or break a person or situation. Words are a very powerful thing. Not to mention the fact that she is the book thief, the girl who steals books every chance she gets and stealing from one particular person actually ends up giving her a friendship later on. I just think Liesel is the strongest person ever, after all she has been through, and I just really love, respect, and admire her character.

Now, the plot. I guess you could say the main plot is just everything that goes on in Liesel’s life. We see the kind of things Death must do, how he truly does care for the souls he collects. Even the ones he doesn’t, like Liesel Meminger. It was super interesting for this story to be told in the perspective of Death. I think we really got to see the entire scope of the story by being in the POV of Death, and it ultimately really added to my interest and enjoyment of this book. We get to see Liesel grow up and face so many things in her life. We see how the war affects her family and the people around her, and it just really put the war in a new perspective for me. We don’t normally see the German side of this war. Usually, we see a character who is a Jew going through this war, but I loved seeing the opposite side of it. It really added even more to my understanding of this terrible war.

Also, this book just hit me right in the feels. I just was so happy in some parts, scared in others, and so sad for the last half of the book. Speaking in particular of the last one hundred pages or so, I did not stop crying. I was a sobbing mess throughout that entire section of the book, and it was nonstop sobbing. I just was so upset and so not okay with what was happening at the end of that book. It was really convenient that my brother had a box of tissues right by his bed because I ended up going through almost that entire box. I just was so connected to all of these characters that with what happened, I could not deal with it. The injustice of it all, though it is very accurate to the kind of thing that was bound to happen because it was the war. It just still upsets me. There are tear stains on multiple parts of that book just because of how I was feeling, how upset I was, and how I just wanted more chances for the characters at the end.

I need to talk about the audiobook version of this book. I did audiobook it for the majority of the novel but ended up reading the last one hundred and fifty pages using my physical copy. The narrator was absolutely fantastic. I thought he was so unbelievably good. And that is high praise coming from me because I am very picky about the audiobooks I like, especially if there is only one narrator rather than an entire cast of characters. He just was really fantastic. Also, while I thought it a bit odd, I ended up really liking the format of this book. It was pretty different compared to a lot of other books I’ve read and while it made me question my decision to read the book in the beginning (that’s why I mostly audiobooked it), it ended up growing on me, and I think it really fit with the story. I really enjoyed it.

And my God, the writing. I loved the writing of this novel. Markus Zusak is so talented with words and with stories, and I just really loved the writing of this novel. It was not distracting at all, and it really helped me to keep going with the story. I think he is just a phenomenal writer.

Overall, I absolutely loved this novel. I loved the characters, plot, setting, writing and so many other things that I can scarcely describe. I loved the historical fiction aspect of the novel as I really felt like I was in Nazi Germany. The overall tone of the story was very accurate to the story and the content of the story, so I just ended up really enjoying it. I am really excited to read more books by Markus Zusak because he is just such a talented writer and this book really reflected that.

5stars

And there you have it! That was my review of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. What is your favorite historical fiction novel? Sound off in the comments below! And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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Nothing But Shadows by Cassandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan | REVIEW & DISCUSSION

Hey, guys! I am very excited to come at you with a review of the fourth installment to The Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy series, Nothing But Shadows. I have been enjoying myself reading this series, and as added motivation to continue with this series, I am not allowing myself to read Lord of Shadows until I complete this series. But I almost want to say this ended up being my favorite of the series thus far, and I am really glad that I enjoyed it. Since this is the fourth book in the series, this might spoil the other books, and it will definitely spoil City of Heavenly Fire, so if you haven’t read any of those books, I suggest you leave, read it, then come back, and we can discuss it together! So goodbye, Nonspoiler people!

Now let’s just go ahead and jump into the review!

Synopsis:

“Simon learns about James Herondale’s time at Shadowhunter Academy. One of ten adventures in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy.

It’s hard to be a Shadowhunter when you’ve got demonic powers. Simon learns about the school-time struggles of half-warlock James Herondale in this prelude to The Last Hours.”

My Thoughts:

Okay, so I started off hating this novella, and that is 500% of the narrator because I was audiobooking it. I don’t know whose insane idea it was to pick that dude for a narrator, but he was absolutely bloody awful. He was annoying, and his accent ended up in places where it shouldn’t. He did not read the lines as the character would, and I stopped listening after about twenty or thirty pages because I just could not stand to listen to him anymore. So I ended up reading the rest of the book using my physical copy.

I also started off with hating every single character except for James and his family (excluding Matthew). I cannot believe that Will wanted James to be friends with that complete asshole named Alastair Carstairs. He must not know what he is really like because I hated him with a burning passion. He is the reason that James was so miserable at that God-forsaken school. I just hated that bastard, and I kind of wish he had been killed off in this novella.

I just want to say that I actually did really hated Matthew before we came to know everything about him. Turns out he is not a pompous asshole, but actually a really great guy! I did think it was kind of weird at the end, what ended up happening, meaning what Matthew asked James, but I guess it works. I just am really glad that Matthew redeemed himself.

I absolutely loved James. He is my heart and soul. Like, he is the literal definition of a cinnamon roll. I just wanted to protect him from all those asshole Shadowhunters at that stupid school. He did not deserve to be treated the way he was just because he was different. I just hated seeing him so miserable, and I did tear up several times when he was just treated so badly. I just really felt for him, and I connected with him as well because he is awkward when it comes to talking to people, and he loves to read! It’s like we are the same person. But I am glad that everything ended up working out in the end.

And let me just say that I knew how everything would end. I knew he would be the school’s scapegoat, but it was a blessing in disguise because he could finally leave the school. Just seeing the way Shadowhunters treated something/someone that’s different just really pissed me off. It just made me start to build a pretty strong disdain for Shadowhunters. And I honestly never thought that would happen.

I still am not sure what the plot was supposed to be in this novella. But I am glad it finally taught Simon to trust his friends and those that truly care about him, and if you read Lady Midnight, you know about the thing that Simon asks someone, and I am so excited to see that scene, hopefully very soon. I also am just hoping this means Simon is finally going to stop being a dumbass and actually trying to build a relationship with Isabelle because I am a huge Sizzy shipper, and I need them to be a thing again. It has to happen.

But overall, I did really enjoy this novella, despite the audiobook narrator being really freaking terrible. I loved the writing, the little insight we got into James and his family and just how things are finally starting to look up for this series. I am just really excited to start getting more and more into this series, and I will read the next installment to this series hopefully soon!

4-stars

And there you have it! That was my review of Nothing But Shadows by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan. What is your favorite installment to the Shadowhunter Chronicles (this includes TMI, TID, and TDA)? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time!

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June Wrap Up!

Hey, guys! It is that time again. Time for an extremely overdue monthly wrap up! I am sorry for the brief hiatus I had. I was dealing with some University problems, and I just lost track of the amount of days it had been between the last time I posted and now. I enjoyed most of the books I read in June, and I definitely read more than I expected to. I read three books that month, and that is pretty decent considering I am going through a reading slump right now. And because of that reading slump, I am currently eight books behind schedule on my 2017 Goodreads Reading Goal, which is to read seventy books by the end of the year. Hopefully I can kick this reading slump before the end of the summer, but who knows. Its a toss up right now. But let’s go ahead and get into the books I read in June!

The first book I read in June was Train Wreck by Elise Faber.

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This is a standalone adult contemporary romance novel that I was sent for review by the author, so thank you so much for sending this my way, Elise! This is a book that I absolutely loved and read in one sitting. This novel is one that I think you should go blindly into. That’s what I did, and it surprised me with how much I ended up loving it. Just know it is gripping and very addictive, despite the super cheesy cover. But I did review this, and I ended up giving it 5/5 stars. It was just a really amazing novel, and I highly recommend you check it out!

The next book I read was Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves.

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Yeah, that’s right. I finally finished it, and I am really sad to say the blood, sweat and tears that I went through to force myself to finish the book were not worth it. I ended up being really disappointed by this book, and you could arguably say this only made my reading slump so much worse. But this is the first book in a fantasy trilogy that follows this girl named Anna Arden who lives in a magical society where magic equates your status, and she is born of a family with magic, yet she doesn’t seem to possess any herself. However, she does have this ability to unravel or break spells, and this catches the eye of a few too many people, so her mother sends her away to live with her grandmother in Hungary where she may find herself in the throes of war and rebellion. While that may sound very intriguing, I did not like this book, like at all. I had problems with the writing, the story line (or the lack of a concrete one), the so-called romance in the novel, and the magic system. I just was really disappointed by this one because I thought I was going to like it, and I did not. If you are interested in my full thoughts on this novel, I did review it, but I ended up giving it 3/5 stars.

And the last book I read in June was Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi.

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I am so proud of myself, guys. I finally did it. I finally finished off the Shatter Me trilogy! But if you are somehow unaware of what this series is about, it is a dystopian series that follows our main character Juliette whose touch literally will kill you. That is all I can tell you. But I flew through the last half of this novel in one sitting because I was loving every single second of this novel. This is hands down my favorite book of the trilogy, and it was the best one, especially in writing, in my opinion. I think Tahereh’s writing grew a lot with this novel. But I did review this, and it is mostly about me gushing about the novel, but if you want to read my full thoughts on this finale, I definitely recommend checking that review out. I gave this novel 5/5 stars.

And there you have it! Those were all the books I read in June. What books are you most interested in reading before the end of summer? Comment down below! I would love to know. And that is going to be it for this post today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed this, and I will see you next time!

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