The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

I really wanted to read something lighthearted recently. I’ve been under a lot of stress in my Masters and I wanted a funny book that would lift my spirits. I’d been seeing this book everywhere and was lucky enough to get my hands on an audio version of it, making my commute to my school that much better. It did take me longer to get through this novel but I was happy to have read something that was more of a comedy! Here are my thoughts:

29283884.jpgSummary (Goodreads): Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.


My Rating: 3 star

Review: This was a funny read, for sure. But while I liked it, I can’t say that it was my most favourite of reads.

Let me start with some of the positive things about this book:

I loved the setting and the premise for this story, with its diverse cast of characters. I am seriously obsessed with anything from the Victorian era and this book did not disappoint! The author seamlessly integrated the historical time point into the actual plot of the story, making everything sound so natural that I felt like I was living in that era myself! There wasn’t a single point where the author slipped up and I was so happy to see that level of consistency!

I also loved that the story prominently features LGBTQ romance. At first, I was a little worried as to how the author would blend this with the historical time frame that the story was set in, but it was done really well! I also thought the interactions between the two characters (and yes, I’m referring to Percy and Monty, which is quite obvious from the premise) was really really cute!

My two favourite characters of the story were definitely Felicity (Monty’s younger sister) and Percy, as both were very intelligent. They were logical and were able to perfectly balance out Monty’s narcissistic and stupid tendencies.

Because, I’ll be honest, I really didn’t like Monty. To be fair, I did think he was funny in the beginning. He is a selfish character but he is hilarious and I could see why having him as an MC could really make this book shine. However, his selfishness and stupidity soon grew old. I did like that the author made him have some depth by bringing up the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father. It gave him something more than just the shallowness he exuded. But while the author made this a consistent part of his personality (which I appreciated), it wasn’t enough to redeem his other behaviours.

I also felt that the plot had quite a few elements that seemed to be out of the blue and were just unnecessary. While it made sense, it wasn’t necessarily the greatest plot to follow and I found myself losing interest at times.

And yet, despite these negative elements, I really did find the story to be cute and funny. I enjoyed listening to the trio go on their adventure and see Monty start to change a bit here and there. I was looking for something lighthearted and I got it. And I have to admit that the deeper themes of the story were definitely there, so this wasn’t just a shallow cute read. Since I still enjoyed the book, I’m giving it a 3/5 stars and I would recommend this to anyone looking for a cute historical fiction story!

Happy reading ~

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Happily by Chauncey Rogers [BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY]

No fairy godmother. No magic pumpkin. Just one grumpy girl and a glass slipper.

Happily Book Cover - RecommendedTitle: Happily
Author: Chauncey Rogers
Pages: 299
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: YA (MG-friendly) Fantasy/Fairy-Tale Retelling
Links: 

Summary (Goodreads): If the shoe fits, wear it. If it doesn’t, make it.

Laure is a teenage street urchin just trying to get away. Where the rest of the world sees an enchanting love story, Laure sees royal incompetence and an opportunity to exploit it. She’ll have wealth and a way out of a life she detests, if she can only manage to hoodwink the royal family and survive to tell the tale.


Review: This novel was a really fun read!

I am such a huge fan of retellings, so I definitely couldn’t pass up on this book! But this is such a unique look at the tale of Cinderella – because it isn’t really about Cinderella at all!

I really loved Laure. She was an absolutely fantastic protagonist. Grumpy, rude, and smart – those are just some of her characteristics. I love that she breaks the mold of the typical female protagonists. She’s not the most likable with her gruffness but that is exactly what made me love her! The story is told entirely from her perspective and it is seriously entertaining! At first, I thought it was a little bit unusual that the story takes place in a medieval setting but everyone speaks in a modern way, but I soon stopped noticing because there was just so much going on!

I loved all of the different avenues that the plot took. There was a logical progression of ideas and events, which made me really happy because this doesn’t always happen. I could understand why the characters did what they did because their personalities were so well-formed and it just made rational sense!

I only wish the story had been longer. There were times when I felt the development of certain motives and interactions between characters lacked a little depth, and this could be easily taken care of by extending the story and working those areas a little more. This was something I felt rather keenly about the ending, which was a bit rushed. If it had had more time to set itself up, with some more clues, it would have rounded off the story in a more satisfactory manner.

All in all, this was a really awesome book and I loved being a part of Laure’s adventure! If you like fairytale retellings that are unique, I would highly recommend checking this one out! Solid 4/5 stars from me!

And now, it’s time for the giveaway!

From April 14 to the 15th, the ebook for Happily will be free on Amazon! If you are interested in giving this book a shot (and I hope you are!), click on the link below to access your free copy:

Happy reading ~

Crimson Ash by Haley Sulich

I recently participated in a blog tour for this book and it was such a great experience! I loved the experience of live-tweeting and hosting a giveaway, and it’s something I want to continue to do!

But now, it is time for my own review of this book!

36572385Synopsis (Goodreads): You may live as a soldier or face death. Choose wisely.

Solanine Lucille wants her little sister back. Eight years ago, the government kidnapped her sister Ember, stole her memories, and transformed her into a soldier. But Solanine refuses to give up. Now that she and her fiancé have located the leader of a rebel group, she believes she can finally bring Ember home. But then the soldiers raid the rebels, killing her fiancé and leaving Solanine alone with her demons and all the weapons needed for revenge.

After raiding a rebel camp, sixteen-year-old Ember doesn’t understand why killing some boy bothers her. She’s a soldier—she has killed hundreds of people without remorse. But after she fails a mission, the rebels hold her hostage and restore her memories. Ember recognizes her sister among the rebels and realizes the boy she killed was Solanine’s fiancé.

Ember knows she can’t hide the truth forever, but Solanine has secrets too.

As their worlds clash, the two sisters must decide if their relationship is worth fighting for. And one wrong move could destroy everything—and everyone—in their path.


Review: I think the premise for this book was great. However, I think it failed in execution.

As soon as I started reading this book, I felt out of sorts. This novel throws you right into the action … but with very little background. It almost felt like I was reading the second book in a series, and not the first. I kept waiting for there to be an explanation or some kind of recounting of events to explain how things got to be to the present time in the book, but it didn’t really happen. The few things that were explained were glossed over, which was disappointing. I love reading about the world authors create, but this novel really didn’t do that. No context = tons of confusion!

The novel looks like it is going to be full of action … and while there is some of that, it is mostly about the bond between Ember and Solanine. I actually liked the way the author told this. As an older sister, I could really connect with the sisters in this story and how they struggled to trust each other. The emotional interactions between the siblings was done quite well. However, apart from their bond, I didn’t really feel like the sisters had any well-developed interactions with any of the other characters in the book. Told in alternating perspectives, we read about how each sister learns to forgive themselves and move on from their guilt through the help of various other characters. But it was all so one-dimensional; I never got a feel for the other characters and the interactions were just too rushed for them to have any significance or value.

One of the characters that completely baffled me was Nightshade, who is part of the resistance (and no, this resistance is also not really explained). For someone who is supposed to be a leader, she didn’t do much of it. Nor did she have any plans. She did nothing and was swayed by her own emotions. I think this issue could have been resolved if the author had built the character better and had a more concrete backstory that was explained.

There are a lot of instances of self-harm and abuse in this novel, which may bother some readers. At first, I appreciated the author mentioning these things in the story, as it highlights how easy it is to get into destructive behaviour patterns. However, it became too frequent of an occurrence, and began to feel like the author was including these instances just for the sake of having something to write about.

Before the halfway point of the book, not much was happening. It was very focused on the sisters trying to communicate. After the halfway point, the plot started to move fairly quickly. But the lack of explanation about the way this dystopian world was set up meant I had a lot of questions and very few answers. There was a lot of redundancy in the action events themselves, with characters getting caught, then escaping, then getting caught again. It just got boring very quickly.

Overall, I think that the concept behind this novel was good but the execution was lacking. There needed to be a lot more world-building and explanations for how things work. Characters also needed to be more developed. There needs to be the right balance between theme/plot and setting/world-building, and this novel did not have that. However, since I liked the sisterly bond aspect, I’m bumping my rating up to a 2/5 stars.

I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Happy reading ~

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

If you didn’t already know, I’m obsessed with anything related to Every Heart A Doorway. It was the first book I read by Seanan McGuire, and it blew my mind. Every chance I get to jump back into that whimsical and twisted world, I take it. I’ve been anxiously anticipating this book, and it was such a great read! Here’s my review:

27366528Summary (Goodreads): Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.

Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.


Review: I’m aware that this is a very short summary of the book … but really, if any more detail was given, then the story would be ruined. Let me begin by saying that I highly recommend you to read Every Heart A Doorway before reading this one; while it may be marketed as a standalone, there are too many references and details to the original book for that to work. Reading Every Heart A Doorway will really give you a glimpse into the whimsical mayhem that is this world – or rather, worlds.

If you’ve read the other books that are part of this series, then you will most likely enjoy this one. It features a diverse group of characters, all from different worlds that come together to help Rini, a stranger who literally fell into their lives. I love all of the characters in this book; they are vibrant, and unique, and beautifully created. There is nothing I love more than good characters – and these ones are great! I enjoyed reading about the ways they interacted, how they learned to respect the differences that made each person unique, and how much they embraced their own uniqueness. Not only are the characters diverse because of their experiences in their different “worlds”, they have diverse ethnic background, gender identities, and abilities. I love that this book focused on body image and identity, highlighting the difficulties and assumptions that come with these issues as well as ways in which to feel positive about these issues. It’s important for an author to talk about real-life issues and the way that Seanan McGuire does it is phenomenal; underneath all the whimsical magic of the story lies important messages that everyone needs to hear.

I also love the setting. It is gorgeous and magical and open to every possible thing you can imagine. This book series is amazing because of the beautiful way the author describes everything – and I’m not going to say any more on this because I want you to experience it for yourselves!

The great thing about this book is that it is really short, but leaves plenty of avenues to explore and discover. I love the sense of adventure in this book and how things make no sense and yet are still logical. It was perfect and I cannot wait to see what else the author has in store for this series!

I really cannot rave more about this book. I love this series so much because it is so out of the norm. I have no idea how the author comes up with these crazy ideas … but I hope it never stops! I love that these books have deeper meanings and themes underneath the surface and features a diverse host of characters. For all those reasons, I’m giving this 5/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

Ignite by Tracy Lawson – The Resistance #3

I received this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own and I received no incentives. 

I’ve been continuing this series through audio books and it’s been a really great experience. I love the narrative style and the way all of the voices are changed to suit the different characters. It took me longer to get through this book compared to the other novels in this series, but that in no way means this was less interesting. If anything, I think this is my favourite book in the series. Here’s why:

30356956Summary (Goodreads): Nationwide food shortages have sparked civil unrest, and the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense’s hold on the people is slipping. The Resistance’s efforts to hasten the OCSD’s demise have resulted in disaster, with Tommy Bailey and Careen Catecher taking the blame for the ill-fated mission in OP-439.

Both teens struggle to survive the circumstances that force them into the national spotlight—and this time, they’re on opposite sides. On the run and exiled from the Resistance members in BG-098, Tommy makes his way to a Resistance safe house in the capital.

The OCSD is preparing to monitor all under-eighteens with the Cerberean Link, a device that protects them against hunger and sickness and can even locate them if they’re lost. Tommy’s now living in close quarters with Atari, an operative who’s been assigned to sabotage the Link. But does Atari plan to use it for his own purposes?

Through it all, Tommy refuses to believe Careen’s loyalties have shifted away from the Resistance, and he’s willing to assume any risk to reconnect with her. Will they be able to trust each other when it matters most?

 Review: Apart from the first book that started me on this journey, this has got to be my next favourite book in this series. I was surprised that this series was not a trilogy, but after reading this book, I have to admit that this was a good decision; there is just too much to this story for it to be condensed into a trilogy.

I loved that the author didn’t shy away from describing brutality and torture, despite this being a YA novel. Many times, authors leave it up to the imagination, but not with this book! It made everything seem so much more real and horrifying, and I felt so much more invested in the story. Again, the author portrays things in such a realistic way that it scares me; the events in this book could easily become reality!

I was also really happy to see that the characters became more developed in this novel. There were still instances of insta-love but there were more struggles. The protagonists really grew up, and the interactions between all of the other characters were also more complex. The story has gotten to a point where the reader now has to question who can be trusted – and I love it!

The plot became more divided in this book as the characters took on different roles and responsibilities within the Resistance. Everything was well-developed and the crossing-over of the different story lines was done really well, keeping things compact.

Overall, this novel was really well done. I loved the depth of the interactions and the complexity of the plot and characters. This was the strongest book so far in the series, and I can’t wait to see how the adventure continues! I’m giving this a solid 4/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

I read Seraphina a while back and I fell in love. It had dragons and court life and great world-building. It was definitely very different from most fantasy stories I’ve read but I enjoyed it immensely. When I saw that LibraryThing was hosting an Early Reviewer giveaway for Tess of the Road, I immediately jumped at the chance, and was delighted to receive a copy. From the synopsis, I was aware that the book took place in the world of Seraphina and I was excited to get back into it. Here is my review:


Summary (Goodreads): 

33123849In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.
Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl–a subspecies of dragon–who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.


Review: Getting back into the world created in Seraphina through the eyes of a new character was really exciting for me. That being said, I would HIGHLY recommend that you read Seraphina before this one; this novel draws on many terms and concepts from Seraphina and the author doesn’t really take the time to explain it again in this book, so readers might find themselves lost.

When I started reading this novel, I was surprised to find that it was quite slow. Based on the premise, I think I was expecting a faster pace to the story. I also found Tess’s character to be … well, not to my liking. She is quite selfish and a little too impulsive. However, as I was thinking this, I also found myself liking this choice for a protagonist. I have always favoured flawed main characters to perfect one – and Tess is definitely in the former category.

As the story continues, there is an allusion to an incident that Tess was involved in that has made her undesirable and given her a bad reputation – and it is connected to a sexual encounter. The mystery surrounding this incident immediately made me want to know more, and it served as a pushing force for me to continue with the story. At the same time, I was surprised that the author wanted to discuss sex and sexuality; I hadn’t pegged this as the direction for this novel.

One of the major problems I encountered in this book was that it had very slow pacing. Not much happens in this story. Tess goes on a journey to escape life in a nunnery – and to escape the judgmental attitude of her family and friends. There are bouts of adventure but for the most part, there was just a lot of walking and talking and philosophizing. Now, I’m not really a fan of philosophy so I found some of these talks to be a little tedious to get through but I found that they were important for setting the stage for some of the moral issues the author explores.

Because while Tess was going through a boring outward journey, she was going through a rigorous inward journey. This novel was all about Tess’s ingrained views on sexuality and proper behaviour (as she was taught by her mother) and the way her experiences and the views of others’ challenges these beliefs. The reader gets to see how Tess has been bullied and shamed into feeling inferior and how she rises from this and starts to love herself again. I think that this theme is a really important one to cover and I think that, while the author had a shaky start with it in the beginning, it all came together quite well in the end.

This is a book that won’t work for everyone. The slow pacing and the initial un-likable-ness of Tess can be offputting for a lot of readers. But if you push through, you’ll see that this novel has its merits. It’s all about self-love and taking care of oneself. It’s about different ways to think about sex and sexuality, and the issues of being judged by traditionalist views on a female’s role in the bedroom. I like how the novel challenged these issues through Tess’s character and for that reason, I’m going to give this a 3.5/5 stars. The reason I can’t give it a higher rating is because the pacing was difficult to deal with and there wasn’t really much of a plot.

This is a novel I would recommend for fans of Seraphina and for those who are looking for a novel that looks into morality through the genre of fantasy.

Happy reading ~

Resist by Tracy Lawson – Resistance #2

Thank you to the author for providing me with an audio copy of this book. My opinions are my own.

After really enjoying my experience with an audio book, I was happy to continue with this series in the same format. In my review of Counteract by Tracy Lawson, I mentioned that this was a very well-written YA dystopian fiction. While the premise itself is one I’ve read about before, the way the story unfolded and the writing style really sold it for me. I was excited to see how I would find the second book in this series … here are my thoughts:


Synopsis (Goodreads): Knowledge comes with a price.

Tommy and Careen are no longer naive teenagers who believe the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense’s miracle antidote can protect them from a terrorist’s chemical weapons. After accidentally discovering the antidote’s real purpose—to control citizens’ thoughts and actions–they join the Resistance to fight back.

They soon realize that being part of the Resistance brings with it a whole new set of challenges. Not everyone working for change proves trustworthy, and plans to spark a revolution go awry, with grave consequences. Tommy and Careen’s differing viewpoints threaten to drive a wedge between them, and their budding relationship is tested as their destinies move toward an inevitable confrontation with the forces that terrorize the nation.

Where does love fit in when you’re trying to overthrow the government?


Review: Did I love this as much as I enjoyed Counteract? No. But that doesn’t mean this book was bad in any way.

I liked that this novel jumped right into the events that occurred right after Counteract ended. It was a smooth transition, and in the next few chapters, the author provided enough information to fill in the gaps to jog your memory. I would still recommend, however, that people read the first book in the series before reading this one; it will allow for better connection with the characters and their motives.

This novel, while generally fast-paced, did have its slow moments. These were probably because the story mainly took place at Resistance headquarters. This meant that there was less doing and more talking going on. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it did mean that there was less action than in the first book of the series. However, the benefit of this approach is that we got to see Careen’s character grow up and mature. She is no longer ignorant, and takes a much larger role and responsibility as a member of the Resistance. Having all of the central characters in one location also meant that there were more emotional interactions, and these were done quite well. I especially liked how Tommy struggled to understand his feelings, as it gave him more dimension. Once again, the author gave each character their moment to shine, which was awesome because we got to see how everyone was contributing – or worsening – the situation. Rebellions are a team effort! This also helped me connect with other characters that I didn’t necessarily think were important – but then they were.

The one main issue that I had with this novel was that it had the stereotypical love triangle issue. While there was a setup for it in the first book, I was hoping that it wouldn’t be carried out in the way that it did. But it happened. I think that it was one of those things that really didn’t add to the story, and I generally don’t like reading about teen angst so it didn’t work for me.

At times, the chapters had an abrupt ending. I feel like one more sentence that acted as a zinger would have been the perfect way to close it off and keep the writing tight. However, this didn’t really detract from the quality of the story.

The story ended on a cliffhanger, which means I am now going to binge listen to the next book in the series! I’m giving Resist a solid 3/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – Arc of a Scythe #2

I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You might recall that I recently read Scythe by Neal Shusterman. I had loved the premise of the novel and while it did have its flaws, I still enjoyed reading it. When I found out there was a sequel, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and I’m so happy that I was able to receive an ARC! Here is my review of Thunderhead, the sequel to Scythe and the 2nd book of this series:

After just narrowly escaping death, Rowan has gone rogue. He has taken it upon himself to cleanse the Scythedom through a trial by fire. In the year since Winter Conclave, Rowan has gone off-grid and has been striking out against corrupt scythes. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”. Citra – now Scythe Anastasia – is a junior scythe under Scythe Curie who also sees the extent of corruption within the Scythdom – but has her own way of dealing with it. Her style of gleaning is more compassionate – but her methods are questioned by everyone in the Scythedom. But when her life is threatened, it becomes clear that not everyone is willing to accept her into the fold. Will the Thunderhead finally intervene? Or will it watch as this perfect world unravels?

A note to Goodreads readers before I actually talk about my feelings on this novel: the synopsis that talks about Citra is not accurate. At no point does she go “deadish” in this novel in order to talk to the Thunderhead. I’ve included in my summary a more accurate portrayal of what occurs in this novel.

To me, it felt like this novel suffered from Second Book Syndrome. What is this syndrome? It’s basically when the second book doesn’t live up to the expectations of the first book in the series. It’s typically characterized by an increase in angst instead of action, a dragging in the plot, and the characters are pretty stagnant. All of those things happened in this book. I found the story to be tedious in length because not much happened. Scenes that could have been high impact didn’t deliver the punch and there was a lot of filler. I don’t really want to read about how Citra and Scythe Curie are wandering around, trying to figure out who is after them. I don’t care about all of these other characters you are introducing that I know will explain some twist in the story but don’t actually matter. There was just this lack of connection between me as the reader and the main characters in the story. Even though the author took the time to write from the perspectives of a bunch of characters, it still didn’t allow me to empathize with them. Just like in Scythe, the author included excerpts from journals of other Scythes … but more often, there were excerpts from the thoughts of the Thunderhead itself. I thought that was really interesting, and it was a nice touch because it allowed the reader to watch the Thunderhead transform emotionally. However, there could have been more done here. Some of the excerpts of the Thunderhead were overly redundant and could have been taken out. I think the reason that this novel suffered in my eyes is because the plot was just a rehashing of the time-old tale of new vs old clashing. There was nothing very new introduced in the novel and with a lack of growth on the part of the characters and a slow pacing, this novel really didn’t deliver the punch I wanted. The last 50 pages of this novel were definitely eventful, and as is the norm with Second Book Syndrome, the story ended on a cliffhanger, which now means I’m going to have to read the next book in the series. Despite all of the shortcomings, I still find myself invested in the concept of this series and interested in how the author plans on resolving the conflict in the story. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 3/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

My Top Books for 2017

This year, I challenged myself to read 300 books. I am pleased to note that I exceeded this amount by 58 books for a total of 358 novels! I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of my favorite books of the year! So let’s go!

  1. A God in the Shed by J. F. Dubeau. This was hands-down one of my favorite horror stories of the year! There was so much suspense and mystery to the story, and I was genuinely scared out of my wits! Anyone who loves horror would enjoy this novel!
  2. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. While this novel may have targeted young adults, I found the story would work for adults as well. With a mesmerizing story of strength and a Russian folklore background, this novel really delivers a punch. It was one of my favorite fantasies of the year!
  3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This as such a powerful story about race and gun violence! The author took the difficult subject matter and portrayed it in an impactful way. It really made me shift my own views on the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the issues of police brutality and accountability. Especially given the way society is like today, I think this is a very relevant novel that everyone should read.
  4. Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig. This novel tugged at my heart strings. It has such a wonderful innocence to it, and it is heartbreaking. Readers cannot help but connect with Ginny Moon and root for her. This is a book that is not easy to dismiss or forget!
  5. The Ghsotwriter by Alessandra Torre. I absolutely loved this mystery/thriller. I loved the premise and the style of the writing. The plot had me hooked and I could not put this book down for a minute! If you are looking for a thriller like no other, then this is one you should definitely check out!
  6. Radium Girls by Kate Moore. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction but this was worth it! It broke my heart to read about the poor working conditions that the women in this novel faced and how hard it was for them to get the medical care and fair treatment that they deserved. But their struggle and determination were so inspirational to read about and it made me feel proud to be a woman. This is definitely a novel to read if you want to feel empowered and proud of how far we have come in terms of workplace safety and equality.
  7. Bright Air Black by David Vann. Having never read the story of Medea and Jason and the Argonauts, I thought this was a fantastic read that featured an amazing female character. I was entranced by the story, and by the sheer ruthlessness of Medea. Definitely a novel I will be recommending to people for years to come!
  8. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. My first time reading a book by this author and I absolutely loved it! It was funny and engaging and mysterious! It was so hard to put down and I loved the different female characters who got their chance to shine in the story.
  9. Monstress by Marjorie Liu. This was such a wonderful graphic novel! It had beautiful artwork and an amazing story to boot! It’s got steampunk and fantasy and mystery and politics so what’s not to love? If you like graphic novels, then this is one you should definitely be reading!
  10. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This was just such a funny and exciting novel to read! It was completely out of my comfort zone but I enjoyed it nevertheless. I loved the whole video game story line, and I loved all of the references to pop culture, which I myself was not familiar with. It may not have been the most deep story but it was definitely entertaining and well worth the read!

So there you have it! These are the top 10 books of 2017 for me! Of course, there were a lot of other books I loved reading and gave very high ratings for, but these ones really stuck out for me! I can’t wait for the new year and all of the books that it will bring with it! But for now, I hope you all have a happy new year, surrounded by family and friends! See you in 2018!

Happy reading ~

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – Winternight Trilogy #2

I’m so lucky to have gotten my hands on this book as soon as it released! I have been really bad when it comes to series; I almost always preorder the books, but when they arrive, I never read them. This is what has happened with the Queen of the Tearling series (I promise I will get to it soon!), but I was determined to not let it happen here! As soon as I received my copy, I put aside all of my other books. So now, here is my review:

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya has very few options: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both restrict her freedom and her chances of seeing the vast world. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

As usual, the author has delivered a stunning historical fantasy novel. I love how true the author stays to historical Russian events and Russian mythology throughout the story. It is so easy for the reader to imagine this vivid setting and fall into the story. There are loads of supernatural elements in the story but they are worked into this intricate political plot. I’m always surprised to see this combination work as well as it does, because it just seems so contradictory! I also love learning about Russian culture and mythology through this novel; it’s something I’ve always been fascinated by and the author really does an amazing job of making it come to life through Vasya’s adventure. This story takes place almost right where the first book left off. I found it interesting that the first perspective wasn’t Vasya’s but one of her siblings, instead. I thought that this novel had more action and adventure than the previous novel in the series. This kept my interest up, but I also wish that there had been more mystery, which is what I had loved about The Bear and the Nightingale. In all fairness, I think I preferred the first book to this one. The Bear and the Nightingale had this wonderful depth and development of character even though it lacked the fast pace of The Girl in the Tower. I almost wish that there had been a little less action and a little more focus on the character relationships (especially between Vasya and Morozko!) and the mythology. Overall, this was still a really great novel and I cannot wait for the third book in this trilogy! I’m giving this a solid 4/5 stars!

Happy reading ~