Book Review: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Title: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

Author: Holly Jackson

Genre: Thriller

Source: Bought

Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

Rating: ★★★★★

Book Links:
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Goodreads

One Sentence Synopsis

High school senior Pip decides to try and prove that a closed case in her town isn’t as straight-forward as everyone thinks.

Favorite Quote

“But sometimes remembering isn’t for yourself, sometimes you do it just to make someone else smile.

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Blog Tour: Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

Hello, reader!

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Little Thieves by Margaret Owen hosted by TBR & Beyond Tours! This is one of my most anticipated releases of 2021 and, spoiler alert, it did not disappoint! A loose retelling of The Goose Girl, this is a young adult fantasy that blends the magic of a dark fairytale with the excitement of a heist novel. It’s atmospheric, it’s engaging, and it left me feeling like I immediately wanted to re-read it!

Before we get more into this post, though, we must do our thank-yous! Thank you so much to the team at TBR & Beyond Tours for giving me a spot on this one. Thank you to the publisher, Henry Holt & Company, and Netgalley for providing me a free e-ARC in exchange for my participation and an honest review. It is always appreciated and even more so when I ended up loving the book as much as I did! Also, seeming as this is a tour, there are of course quite a few incredible blogger/bookstgrammers that are involved. If you would like to see the schedule so see their awesome content, just click HERE.

Alright, now let’s kick off this tour post!


Top Five Reasons To Read Little Thieves


  • Vanja is both a gremlin and an absolute treasure! Do you like your main characters to be smart, cunning, and with a flair for the sarcastic? You’re gonna love Vanja. She makes terrible choices and you find yourself caring about her so much that you just go along for the ride.
  • This nails dark, wintery vibes. This is the perfect book to get you in the mood for the later part of the year. The atmosphere is top-notch! NO THOUGHTS, JUST VIBES! (But actually quite a lot of thoughts… we’ll get to that later)
  • A dark fairytale at it’s finest. If you like dark fairytales, this is kind of a must-read. It hits that perfect feel of being told a bedtime story but one with a lot more blood and danger. If you’ve ever read German children’s fairytales from back in the day… you know what I mean.
  • The LGBTQIA+ representation! This book is filled with it, in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways. I do love a story that casually weaves in LGBT characters because the fact that a woman has a wife should just be normal. Not some big to-do. But I also appreciate the more in-depth look at different communities that fall under the LGBTQIA+ banner.
  • The mental health representation! I did not expect this book to make me sob BUT HERE WE ARE. More on that later, but this book does an incredible job of showing how past trauma can affect someone.

Book Details


  • Title: Little Thieves
  • Author: Margaret Owen
  • Publication date: October 19th, 2021
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age group: Young Adult
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: Discussions of child abuse and neglect, abusive environments, trauma, sexual assault (past), blood, violence

Book Links

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Goodreads

Synopsis


Once upon a time, there was a horrible girl…

Vanja Schmidt knows that no gift is freely given, not even a mother’s love–and she’s on the hook for one hell of a debt. Vanja, the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, was Princess Gisele’s dutiful servant up until a year ago. That was when Vanja’s otherworldly mothers demanded a terrible price for their care, and Vanja decided to steal her future back… by stealing Gisele’s life for herself.

The real Gisele is left a penniless nobody while Vanja uses an enchanted string of pearls to take her place. Now, Vanja leads a lonely but lucrative double life as princess and jewel thief, charming nobility while emptying their coffers to fund her great escape. Then, one heist away from freedom, Vanja crosses the wrong god and is cursed to an untimely end: turning into jewels, stone by stone, for her greed.

Vanja has just two weeks to figure out how to break her curse and make her getaway. And with a feral guardian half-god, Gisele’s sinister fiancé, and an overeager junior detective on Vanja’s tail, she’ll have to pull the biggest grift yet to save her own life.

Margaret Owen, author of The Merciful Crow series, crafts a delightfully irreverent retelling of “The Goose Girl” about stolen lives, thorny truths, and the wicked girls at the heart of both.

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ARC Review: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Title: The Gilded Ones

Author: Namina Forna

Genre: Fantasy

Source: e-ARC (Netgalley)

Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of content and trigger warnings, please check out BookTriggerWarnings.com

Rating: ★★★★★

Book Links:
Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::Goodreads

One Sentence Synopsis

After her blood runs gold during a purity ceremony, Deka is labelled as an “impure demon” and sent to training camp where she will be taught to kill for the country that made her an outcast.

Favorite Quote

“We all have a choice right now. Are we girls or are we demons? Are we going to die or are we going to survive?”

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ARC Review: Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko

Title: Redemptor

Author: Jordan Ifueko

Genre: Fantasy

Source: e-ARC (Netgalley)

Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of content and trigger warnings, please check out BookTriggerWarnings.com

Rating: ★★★★★

Book Links:

Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads

One Sentence Synopsis

After the events of Raybearer, Tarisai finds herself trying to solve all of Aritsar’s numerous problems before her trip to literal hell.

Favorite Quote

“Do not confuse guilt with conviction. Guilt is self-centered and leads only to destructive obsession. But conviction brings balance – a sense of purpose beyond oneself.”

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Book Review: Stones of Light by Zack Argyle

Title: Stones of Light

Series: Threadlight #2

Author: Zack Argyle

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Gifted (author)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence, death, blood consumption, war

Rating: ★★★★★

Book Links:
Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::Goodreads

One Sentence Synopsis

After the events of Voice of War, a new threat has been unleashed on Arasin and it’s up to our mixed bag of heroes to help stop it.

Favorite Quote

“But this was different. This was a child embracing a wolf, expecting it to protect him from the night. Hope standing on a tightrope while the winds surge all around. The people needed hope, and so they grasped hold of the anomaly, and eased their fear with lies.
But what is truth if not a lie that has yet to be revealed?”

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Blog Tour: Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone

Hello, reader!

Today, I’m bringing you another blog tour post for the ever wonderful The Write Reads! If you’re a blogger and have been looking for a blog tour company you might want to try, I can’t recommend Dave highly enough. Beyond the fact that he’s awesome, the last three tours I’ve done have all been books I’ve absolutely adored!

But I’m getting ahead of myself, aren’t I? I haven’t talked about the book I’ll be reviewing for this tour post! Today, I’m talking about a dark and frightening thriller that had me up until 3 in the morning because I could not put it down. The fact that it’s a debut novel absolutely blows my mind! Come with me as I dive into the world of Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone!

Well, first let me start by thanking Dave @ The Write Reads, the publisher, Scribner, and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my participation with this tour and an honest review. And extra special thanks has to go out for the beautiful finished hardback Scribner sent my way! It is, as always, very much appreciated.

Okay! Now to gush about this book!


Synopsis


Twelve years ago my life began again.

But it was a lie.

With the startling twists of Gone Girl and the haunting emotional power of Room, Mirrorland is the story of twin sisters, the man they both love, and the dark childhood they can’t leave behind.

Cat lives in Los Angeles, about as far away as she can get from her estranged twin sister El and No. 36 Westeryk Road, the imposing gothic house in Edinburgh where they grew up. As girls, they invented Mirrorland, a dark, imaginary place under the pantry stairs full of pirates, witches, and clowns. These days Cat rarely thinks about their childhood home, or the fact that El now lives there with her husband Ross.

But when El mysteriously disappears after going out on her sailboat, Cat is forced to return to the grand old house, which has scarcely changed in twenty years. No. 36 Westeryk Road is still full of shadowy, hidden corners, and at every turn Cat finds herself stumbling on long-held secrets and terrifying ghosts from the past. Because someone—El?—has left Cat clues all over the house: a treasure hunt that leads right back to Mirrorland, where she knows the truth lies crouched and waiting… A sharply crafted mystery about love and betrayal, redemption and revenge, Mirrorland is a propulsive, page-turning debut about the power of imagination and the price of freedom. Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware, and Daphne du Maurier.”

Book Details


  • Title: Mirrorland
  • Author: Carole Johnstone
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: April 20th, 2021
  • Genre: Thriller/Mystery
  • Age group: Adult
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: For a full list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

Book Links

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Goodreads

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Blog Tour: Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Hello, reader!

It’s time for my first The Write Reads blog tour of June and we are starting with an absolute gem! Today, I’ll be talking about a sweet young adult romance that turned me into a puddle of emotions. It’s by a well-known author in the young adult community, though this is my first book by here. I promise you, it won’t be the last! What book am I talking about? It’s Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon!

Before I get started, I have to thank Dave @ The Write Reads, Penguin, and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for my participation with this tour. As always, it is much appreciated! Small plug: if you’re a book blogger looking to get into the blog tour scene, you cannot go wrong with Dave and all the wonderful people that make The Write Reads so fantastic. Get it on the fun!

Alright, now let’s get to the post 😁


Synopsis


#1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon is back with a new and utterly unique romance.

Evie is disillusioned about love ever since her dad left her mum for another woman – she’s even throwing out her beloved romance novel collection.

When she’s given a copy of a book called Instructions for Dancing, and follows a note inside to a dilapidated dance studio, she discovers she has a strange and unwelcome gift. When a couple kisses in front of her, she can see their whole relationship play out – from the moment they first catch each other’s eye to the last bitter moments of their break-up.

For Evie, it confirms everything she thinks she knows about love – that it doesn’t last.

But at the dance studio she meets X – tall, dreadlocked, fascinating – and they start to learn to dance, together. Can X help break the spell that Evie is under? Can he change Evie’s mind about love?

Praise for Nicola Yoon:

‘Gorgeous and lyrical’ New York Times

‘Powerful, lovely, heart-wrenching’ Jennifer Niven

‘This extraordinary first novel about love so strong it might kill us is too good to feel like a debut’ Jodi Picoult”

Book Details


  • Author: Nicola Yoon
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Publication date: June 3rd, 2021
  • Genre: Romance/Contemporary
  • Age group: Young Adult
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: Divorce, grief, strong language

Book Links

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Goodreads

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Book Review: The Dragon Republic

Title: The Dragon Republic

Author: R.F. Kuang

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Borrowed (library)

Content/Trigger Warnings: For a full list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

Rating: ★★★★★

Book Links:
Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::Goodreads

One Sentence Synopsis

After the catastrophic events of The Poppy War, Rin finds herself hunted by the Empress and throwing her lot in with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who envisions a new republic for Nikan.

Favorite Quote

“But eventually, you’ll have to ask yourself precisely what you’re fighting for. And you’ll have to find a reason to live past vengeance.”

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ARC Review: Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

Title: Black Sun

Author: Rebecca Roanhorse

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Source: e-ARC (Netgalley)

Content/Trigger Warnings: To see a list of possible content and trigger warnings for this book, visit its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

Rating: ★★★★★

Book Links:

Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::Goodreads

One Sentence Synopsis

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is approaching and four fates will collide under the dark sky of a total eclipse.

Favorite Quote

“I am the only storm that matters now, and there is no shelter from what I bring.”


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Year End Wrap Up: Top Ten Books of 2020

Hello, reader!

It has been a minute, hasn’t it? I took a little bit of a Christmas week break. Nothing planned but I was working the holiday and it has been busy because people can’t be bothered to follow Covid protocols 🙃

(For context, I work in a lab that runs Covid tests. I feel like I eat, sleep, and breath Covid at this point.)

All that aside, I couldn’t close out the year without a few year-end posts, could I? 2020 has been… something else, but, mixed up with all the pandemic strangeness and the stress that was the 2020 elections in the United States, I read a lot of fantastic books! That made creating my top ten list a tiny bit difficult, as you can imagine. There are just so many books I loved this year! For the sake of this post (and my typing fingers), I had to make some tough cuts, but just know that this list is by all means not the limit of all the books I adored in 2020. These are just the shining stars that stand out for one reason or another!

Okay, okay… enough with the suspense. Time to show you my favorite books of the year!


#10. Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

This is a recent favorite that I haven’t even had a chance to review. I read it as part of the Middle Grade Marvels group and absolutely adored it! It has a mix of humor and heart that I found incredibly endearing. The inclusion of legends that I grew up with, legends that featured people who look like me, made me love it even more! I think my favorite aspect, however, is Tristan Strong. He’s a young, Black boy who is depicted as just that. He has insecurities, he isn’t afraid to be open about being afraid, and we get to experience his joy right alongside his pain. He’s a fantastic character and the reason this book has ended up on my list!


#9. Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

The number nine spot goes to another recent read, though I read this one as part of a blog tour run by Dave @ The Write Reads! Dave is always sending incredible books our way, so I’m not surprised one of them ended up on my top ten list. Even though this won’t be published until 2021, I’m so happy I read it early enough to include it here! This book is absolutely magical. I felt transported to the world in which Amari is searching for her missing brother in a secret society that deals with the supernatural. I loved every bit of this book from beginning to end! And, yet again, we have a book with a young, Black protagonist that isn’t featuring The Struggle. Here’s a book that I would have loved to have a young kid, to see that Black people can have magical adventures, too. You can read my full review here.


#8. All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Books were definitely my shining beacon during this pretty hellish year. One of my favorite moments was being introduced to the wonder that is Murderbot! I read this book during the Trope-ical Readathon for the A.I. prompt and had to resist the urge to complete the entire series! I would die for Murderbot and they would be thoroughly confused as to why, but I would still do it! I loved this novella with all my being and am looking forward to continuing the Murderbot Diaries in 2021. Though I did resist the urge to read them all, I couldn’t resist getting the entire series on my Kindle 😬


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