Life has been insane for the last month and a half. I am getting close to the end of my fall quarter at school so I have been nonstop busy with homework, papers, and projects. Then I spent most of November sick with a bad case of bronchitis (got checked and it was not COVID) so I haven’t had much energy to write up the reviews of the books I read in October and Novemeber. I decided for these two months, I am just going to list off the books I have read and what I rated them as; no reviews this time. That being said; if you want to know my opinion about any of the books on this list, feel free to send me a message on here or on my instagram, @staceyrz! My normal book review setup suddenly came back in December!
Here are the books I read in October and November!
Market Ghost Stories by Mercedes Yaeger
Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
Tales of the Slayer by Doranna Durgin
Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard
Burned to a Crisp by K.A. Miltimore
Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Kill Switch by Penelope Douglas
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd Jones
Tomie by Junji Ito
The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics
The Whisper Man by Alex North
Crave by Tracy Wolf
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
A Witch in Time by Constance Sayers
The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Wicked Saints by Emily A Duncan
Malevolent by Jana Deleon
Rival by Penelope Douglas
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Falling Away by Penelope Douglas
Aflame by Penelope Douglas
Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic
Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson
Battle Ground by Jim Butcher
Christmas Eve by Jim Butcher
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Inside the Magic: The Making of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Ian Nathan
Conclave by Penelope Douglas
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L Armentrout
The Fires of Vengeance by Evan Winter
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Nightfall by Penelope Douglas
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas
A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L Armentrout
This gothic horror thriller is set in 1950s Mexico in an isolated mansion where a family’s secrets might be ready to explode. Noemi is a gorgeous, independent socialite who travels to the Mexican countryside after receiving a disturbing and unsettling letter from her cousin who was recently married. Moreno-Garcia created a beautifully creepy atmosphere that pulls you in and you won’t be able to put this book down.
The Shadows by Alex North
The Shadows is a psychological thriller filled with lucid dreams and ritualistic murder thatfollows Paul who is coming back to his hometown after many years because his mother is dying and once back, weird and possibly supernatural events start occurring. These events are very similar to what happened 25 years ago to Paul and his friends. This book follows two different timelines, both revolving around Paul. Creepy, suspenseful, and dark, perfect for the fall season.
Eight Perfect Murder by Peter Swanson
Here is another psychological suspenseful thriller full of mystery and twists. Malcolm is a mystery book lover who runs a bookstore and a blog. After writing a blog post about “eight perfect murders” from mystery books, several murders start happening in the area that might be connected to this list he created. Malcolm along with an FBI agent work together to find out who is using this list to hurt people.
There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Mystery girl moves to the middle of nowhere, Nebraska and she starts dating the strange, loner boy. Then a bunch of murders start happening to the students at the high school. Who is doing this and why. It was a quick and fun mystery story.
Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
The last thriller to talk about is Home Before Dark and wow, was this great thriller. Maggie and her family experienced a haunting in their Vermont home 25 years ago although Maggie was too young to remember most of these events. Her father ended up writing a book about their experience and her family was met with skepticism. Now as an adult, she doesn’t believe in ghosts or the words in her father’s book so since she inherits the “haunted” home in Vermont, she doesn’t think twice about going to renovate the house in order to sell it. Strange and unnerving events start occurring at the house and Maggie has to come to terms that what her father wrote might be in fact true.
This was a novella for The Reckoners series. It was a fun, entertaining story that added more backstory to this world. I wish I could have known and read this book between Steelheart and Firefight because it would have added some hints to the mystery behind the Epic’s weaknesses.
The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
The Emperor’s Soul was another novella by Brandon Sanderson connected to Elantris. It is insane to me how good Brandon Sanderson’s world building can be in a novella under 200 pages. The heroine of this novella was incredible, intelligent and I just loved her. I would say you could read this novella without reading Elantris because although they are in the same world, they are two separate stories.
Secret History by Brandon Sanderson
Now let’s talk about Secret History. This is a novella connected with the Mistborn series, specifically Mistborn era one. I can’t really say much about this book because it would result in spoilers BUT I will say that if you missed reading about the incredible characters in Mistborn era one, read this book because some of them are back. I got literal chills while reading Secret History, being back in this world with some of my favorite fantasy characters was just so nice.
Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
John Scalzi is one of those authors that I always enjoy reading their work. Science fiction books are sometimes hard for me to get into but Scalzi’s writing and characters help me enjoy his sci-fi worlds. Agent to the Stars was another great read from Scalzi for me. The main character is a celebrity agent who is fairly successful so his boss decides to assign him a new client. This client just happens to be an alien whose alien race wants to make themselves known to humanity. This book is full of witty and smartass conversations that make you love the characters.
Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles
Okay so Where Dreams Descend was a fun book and the promo for this book was so accurate. I kept hearing that this story was a combination of Moulin Rouge, Greatest Showman, and a bit of Phantom of the Opera and if you know me at all, I am a musical theater lover! Everything I heard about this book made me so excited! There was magic, romance, a circus, dark pasts and intrigue; all of these things together make for a great book, in my opinion! Side note: I heard a lot of people comparing Where Dreams Descend to Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern but I disagree. I honestly didn’t like Night Circus, the idea was cool but I don’t like the flowery writing in that book at all. So if you are like me, dislike Night Circus, don’t let that dislike stop you from reading this book.
Hideaway by Penelope Douglas
Okay we are on book two of Devil’s Night and man, this series is SO GREAT! Penelope Douglas is my favorite Romance writer for sure! The main characters from the first book in the series, Corrupt, are in this book as well but the MCs we follow are now Kai Mori and Banks. Michael and Rika are trying to move on from the events of Corrupt but Kai and Banks are still very much invested in the mysteries that resulted from Corrupt.
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Returning to Riordan’s book worlds has been so much fun. He just never disappoints me at all. I loved how this book connects the Roman gods to the Greek ones we have come to know. Some of my favorite characters from the Percy Jackson series are back again in this series but we do have new teenagers that we are following mainly. I can’t wait to continue with this series!
The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski
This is the second full-length novel in the Witcher series and it was just okay. I wish I was more in love with this series but it is just not my favorite. I know I will continue this series eventually but honestly right now, it will not be my priority.
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
This was a hard book for me to read honestly. It is a heartbreaking story about several Latino immigrant families trying to make it in the United States. The main family we follow is the Riveras from Mexico who came to the US after their daughter Maribel had an almost fatal accident and they came here to get her help. The book ends sadly and there is definitely not a happy ending for the characters but I liked that because life is hard, not always happy.
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
Probably the best book I read in the month of September. I can’t believe I waited so long to read this series. Sarah J Maas has easily become one of my favorite authors especially when I want a fantasy romance book. So ACOMAF is the second book in A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Feyre is about to have a life changing moment but Rhysand had a different plan. Several things are revealed during this book and that is why I have to read the third book in October for sure; I need to know what happens!
Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
Oh Joe Abercrombie, you definitely know how to write a grimdark world so well! I would definitely consider him my favorite grimdark author for sure! This is the final book in the First Law trilogy and it didn’t let me down at all! Just like the last two books in this series, all the characters continue to surprise me and one of them more than the others! I can’t wait to read the series that follows this world but years later especially after the events in Last Argument of Kings because wow, I did not see that ending coming.
Blood and Honey by Shelby Mahurin
This is the sequel to Serpent and Dove and it follows the events of our favorite characters from the first book after they escaped near death. The MCs are on a quest to find allies against Lou’s mother and just protective against her and the church that is also after them. The romance between Lou and Reid continues to grow even though it would be easier to not be together. The cliffhanger at the end of this book was incredible and intense! I can’t believe I have to wait now to see what ends up happening with all of these characters!
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
This was a decently good book. It made me think of a fairytale where the princess is cursed and a charming guy wants to save her. I like how this fairytale was reimagined. There were several twists and I loved the different creatures that are found in this book. The book had strong Middle Eastern tones which I loved because I am trying to read more books that are not based around English history.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
This classic horror book is another haunted house story but that is okay because it was still good. I had watched the Netflix TV show LOOSELY based on this book so I thought I had an idea of what to expect but the book is so different from the book. I liked both though in the end. If you are looking for a classic horror book that is creepy and crazy, check this one out.
Wayward Witch by Zoraida Cordova
I am so happy that this book is out and I can continue reading about these amazing characters in this incredible world that Zoraida Cordova has created. Wayward Witch is the third installment in the Brooklyn Brujas series and it did not disappoint me at all. We follow the youngest sister in the Mortiz family on an adventure to save a fairy realm and in the process, repair her family back in the human world. People! Please read this series and anything by Cordova, you won’t be disappointed!
Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Book one of the Book of the Ancestor series and it has been recommended to me by several people, so I was excited to finally start this series. We follow Nona, a young girl who has had a difficult life, who is now training at the Convent of Sweet Mercy where young girls like her train to be assassins. I liked the magic system and the writing. I will definitely continue this series eventually.
Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennet
I am so glad that Foundryside was the last book I read this month because wow, it was so good!! The writing style reminded me of my favorite author, Brandon Sanderson, and the humor was very much a mix of Sanderson and Jim Butcher (in my opinion, anyways). Sancia, the main character, is a thief who has unique abilities that make her a great thief. She ends up stealing an ancient item that ends up putting her in the middle of a political, action packed situation. All the characters were incredible and there is not one that I hated even the villain. The twist in the end was amazing and I did not see that coming at all, which I love when that happens.
I got lucky with most of the books I read this month and I was happy that I picked this one to start out August with. We follow Kiko, an artist who is hoping to escape her emotionally and mentally abusive mother by going away to an art college. Kiko has a hard time with her anxiety and self-confidence because her mom is constantly telling Kiko she isn’t as beautiful as her because of her Japanese heritage on Kiko’s dad side, while her mom is white. At a high school party, Kiko runs into her childhood best friend, they reconnect, and after some trauma from Kiko’s past comes back to haunt her, she goes with her friend to his home in California. I absolutely loved how the author depicted anxiety, trauma, and struggling with one’s identity. I completely related to Kiko about her anxiety and struggling with identity.
Credence by Penelope Douglas
This is probably the most “scandalous” Penelope Douglas book I have read so far. The main character, Tiernan, lost both of her parents suddenly and ended up going to live with her father’s stepbrother Jake and 2 step cousins, Noah and Kaleb, in the middle of nowhere, Colorado. I just want to say this now, but this book is probably not for everyone. There was taboo content and some abuse. But even though there were some tougher subjects in this book, I still enjoyed it and I liked how Douglas handle these topics and troubled main character.
Devolution by Max Brooks
I feel like this book got a lot of hype, so I had decent expectations for Devolution. The subject matter that great and interesting but I felt like there was so much exposition. I thought most of the characters were cheesy and I just didn’t believe the relationships at all. I just didn’t care much about this book at all honestly.
Corrupt by Penelope Douglas
So, I am a part of a Penelope Douglas fan page on Facebook since I started reading her books a few months ago. Everyone on that page is absolutely in love with the Devil’s Night series, Corrupt being the first book in that series. This book is a multiple timeline book following Erika or Rika, who is in love with Michael Crist, her boyfriend’s older brother who seems to have no interest in her at all. We also follow Michael’s point of view. Michael and his closest friends are stars of their high school basketball team and they are infamous in their town for causing trouble. They want revenge against Rika for past events that landed Michael’s friends in prison. This is a dark romance. It could be read as a standalone book since there is no cliffhanger but there are 3 other books that follow Michael and his friends, known as the four horsemen.
Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova
Another brilliant book by Zoraida Cordova! Absolutely loved it! Renata is the main character who was kidnapped as a child by royal officials who want to use her powers of stealing memories to benefit the king. As an adult she is now part of the resistance group trying to protect those in the kingdom with powers. In order to save someone, she cares about, she must play double agent. The magic system is unique, and the world building is beautiful. Highly recommend
The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel
This was probably my biggest disappointment of the month. I had read from several people that Mandel’s storytelling and this book specifically would be perfect for me, but it just fell short. There are some ghosts, white-collar crimes, and a bunch of characters that make decisions that just don’t make sense to me at all. I still want to try another book by Mandel because I have heard good things about her books. This one just wasn’t for me.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Sarah J Maas has done it again! I am very impressed and satisfied with every book I have read by her so far. This book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and I am just a sucker for these kinds of books everyone! If you love faes, romance, magic, danger, and strong passionate characters, check this book out!
Obsidio by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Third book in the Illuminae Files and guys sadly, I ended still not liking this series. I had such high hopes for this series because it seems like everyone loves it but it just wasn’t for me. All the main characters from the first two books are back and trying to survive. It was just okay.
Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
I was a part of a book club in the month of August where they ended up picking this book to read. Even though I enjoy YA books, in general, YA romance is sometimes too predictable and that was the main problem with this book. It was cute and sweet like most YA romance books are, but I guessed exactly what was going to happen from the cover and the first page. It was a quick and easy read. If you like YA romance and are okay with predictable story lines, you would enjoy this book. It was just okay for me.
Rebel Mages (Wand Fasted/Light Mage) by Laurie Forest
This book contains two novellas from the Black Witch Chronicle series, Light Mage and Wandfasted. If you are going to read this series, I would recommend reading this book after the third book, The Shadow Wand. Rebel Mages will not spoil anything if you did read it before the main books, but it just adds more to this incredible world and explains a bit more the history that led to the events in the trilogy.
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
I feel like everyone probably knows the story of Dr Jekyll and My Hyde so I am not going to go into a description of it but I will just say, I enjoyed it. Not my favorite classic but definitely not the worst I’ve read.
Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron
This collection of short stories was filed with supernatural and cosmic horror and each story was unique. There were several stories that were disturbing but in a good way?! I am usually not a fan of short stories, but these were definitely a great read.
Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston
This is the third book in the Once Upon A Con series and man, I really like this whole series. Filled with nerds and book talk, great friendships, supportive parents, and a super cute romance; this book just had everything I wanted.
Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Now that I have read this book, I can safely say that I am mad at myself for how long it took me to finally read it! It was so great! Probably one of the best hate to love stories I had read in a while. We follow Lou, a witch, and Reid, a witch hunter, who end up married and of course, Reid has no idea Lou is a witch. There is an ongoing war between the Church and the witches, Lou being in the center of it. I can’t wait to read the sequel that just came out on the 1st of September.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
Another great book by Hendrix. After reading The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Killing Vampires by him, I was excited to continue reading his books. Abby and Gretchen became best friends when they were in fifth grade but now that they are in high school Gretchen has become very strange. This leads Abby to believe her best friend is possessed. It was a fun supernatural horror story.
Romanov by Nadine Brandes
I really liked this book that follows a fantastical story loosely based on Anastasia Romanov and the entire Romanov family. Anastasia “Nastya” is learning to dabble with magic in order to help her younger brother and hopefully protect her family. A young handsome soldier and Nastya slowly become friends but can she fully trust anyone outside of her family. I have always been interested in Romanov history and legends. Romanov was a new and fun approach to this story.
The Shadows by Alex North
I loved this book! It was a perfect horror thriller that definitely got me into the fall mood. We follow Paul who is coming back to his childhood town because his mother is dying. Paul hadn’t been back to that town in 25 years because it holds too many bad memories. The book follows two timelines, the present and the Paul’s past leading up to a gruesome murder by a couple of his friends. Strange events are starting up again, more murders, and an urban legend that haunted Paul and those close to him. Highly recommend
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
When everyone kept telling me how Stormlight Archive is Sanderson’s true epic high fantasy series, even more than Mistborn, I wasn’t sure I believe them just because I didn’t think it would have a different writing style than what I am used to from Sanderson. Boy was I wrong. This is definitely a different style and formula than any other Brandon Sanderson book I have read before. It reminded me a lot of Jordan’s writing style in The Wheel of Time. I can’t wait to find out more about this world, these characters, and especially the magic system. Kaladin was incredible, almost reaching Vin from Mistborn level.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
This was probably one of the best books I read in the month of August. I haven’t read a Gothic horror this great in a long time. A “haunted” house in the middle of the woods in Mexico, creepy hallucinations, strong and determined main character; I just loved it all.
Ninth House by Leigh Barbugo
Ninth House was the first book by Leigh Barbugo that I have ever read, and I was not disappointed. I will say it wasn’t my favorite book of the month, but it was still good. I enjoyed Barbugo’s writing style a lot. In this book, we follow Alex who is a student at Yale and is a member of a secret society that is in charge on mentoring the activity of the other secret societies at Yale. There is magic, demons, and murder mysteries. The main character has a lot of pain and issues to deal with and I really liked how Barbugo wrote this character. I am excited to continue reading more from Barbugo and continue this series when more books come out.
For the majority of my life, I have battled depression and anxiety. One day I am good, the next I am having a panic attack or I’m hiding away from the world because everything is just too much. I knew I wanted my first tattoo to represent my mental health and a reminder to myself to always focus on the good in my life.
“One More Light” is a reference to my favorite band Linkin Park and one of their songs. Their music has helped me so much during some hard times in my life and it holds a special place in my heart. When I am having a bad day, overwhelmed and depressed, this quote reminds me that there is always one more light in all of the darkness.
In the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson, the symbol next to “One More Light” represents the metal Brass that magic users use to soothe someone’s emotions. The reason I wanted that symbol as a tattoo is a reminder to myself to soothe my emotions when my anxiety is flaring up.
Books and music play an important role in my life and mental health so I couldn’t be happy with this tattoo.
Thank you to Sara at Brazen Heart Tattoo for this amazing tattoo amazing.
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalliand Adam Silvera
Arthur is in New York for the summer because of his mom’s job and he is a hopeless romantic. Ben lives in New York and he thinks the universe hates him. These two meet at the post office but they don’t exchange numbers so Arthur and Ben start hunting for each other because they felt like the universe had brought them together. Once together again, their relationship develops. This was a very cute book that makes you root for these two guys so much. It was a great way to finish my month.
The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
The finale to the Magnus Chase series and wow, Rick Riordan never disappoints me! All of our favorite characters from the series are back and we even got to see Percy Jackson within this series for a bit as well! Loki is trying to destroy the world yet again and our incredible characters are on a mission to stop him. My favorite part of this series and this book specifically is how Riordan introduced a gender fluid character and the developing love interest that happens with this character! Highly recommend pretty much anything by Riordan.
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
I went back to the Mistborn/Cosmere world by Sanderson and like always, it was an incredible journey. I had read The Alloy of Law almost two years ago (I think?) and for whatever reason, I didn’t finish Mistborn era 2 at that time but I think it is time to finish it! I love how this book shows us the world 300 years after the events of Mistborn era 1. We follow new amazing characters that are filled with humor, depth, and intensity. Some people say Sanderson does not write female characters very well but I completely disagree. This book had another main female character that I just loved especially because like me, she is obsessed with criminology.
Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
Next up was the final book in the Reckoners series again by Sanderson and man do I just love this man’s works. The third book opens up as the Reckoners are trying to survive as Limelight is hunting them down. They all have to decide if they can survive their friend or if they will have to kill them. The romance was just enough to keep me happy but luckily it didn’t take over the entire story. I like that Sanderson is not afraid to cripple or kill his characters. The story came full circle by the end and was completely satisfying to me.
Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
I am someone that is studying to become a forensic psychologist so true crime, serial killers, and cult leaders are subjects that have always interested me. Charles Mason is one of those individuals whose story I know but I just can’t fully understand his control over his “family.” I liked this book because it dove deep into the events leading up to the Mason murders and explained more of the mindset that several of the family members had before, during, and after the murders.
Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi
This was your typical fantasy romance story. A prince and a princess are in love, something separates them, a quest begins, and then they are together again. It was cute and a fun read but it was completely predictable.
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
This was the first Maas book I have ever read and wow, it will not be the last! My best friend Lauren bought me a copy and has been bugging me to start this book for so long and I will say, I was nervous! Maas is one of her favorite authors so I felt like I needed to love it or else she would have been disappointed! Luckily for her and me, I LOVED this book. Wow, I was surprised by how much I fell in love with this world and these characters. The main MC Bryce was constantly dealing with survivor’s guilt, PTSD, mistrust and anxiety and I absolutely love when an author isn’t scared to torment their MC. Her growth and strength throughout the entire book was so satisfying to read. The hate to love romance in this book was PERFECTION! The twist at the end was so clever and actually SURPRISING! If all of Maas’s books are like this, I will be a happy reader.
Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas
After last month when I read Birthday Girl by Douglas, I knew I wanted to read more of her books. In Punk 57, we follow Micah and Ryan, both 18 years old, who have never met but have been pen pals since they were kids. Micah is a singer in a metal band and Ryan is a cheerleader at a different school. A death happens in Micah’s family which leads him to pretend to be someone else and enroll in Ryan’s school, in order to achieve a few goals before leaving town. This is 100% a hate to love romance and the sexual tension is amazing. Another gratifying book by Douglas.
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
With everything going on in the United States, this is a book that was recommended to me and that now I am recommending to all of you. I am not going to review this book. Just read it. Books like this are important to be able to understand even a little bit about what is happening in our world and what has been happening this entire time!
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Another Sanderson book, another astounding read.This story is part of Sanderson’s cosmere world and I knew a lot of people who loved this book so I was excited to finally get to it. We follow three different main characters, a prince who is cast out, and princess from a foreign land, and a religious official trying to convert everyone in this city. This is one of the most political books by Sanderson that I have ever read and I loved that. There was a magic system but it was not the main focus. Again just like in Alloy of Law, the princess in this story was writing extraordinarily well, in my opinion, full of humor, strength, charisma, and intelligence. Yet again Sanderson wrote a phenomenal book and to know that this was his first book is just insane to me. He is so talented.
Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
Before They Are Hanged is the second book in the First Law trilogy following the same twisted and grim characters that we met in the first book. This world continues to surprise me with its brutality and scheming. What I love about this world is how the characters we follow are so dark and gray, yet you can’t help rooting for them to succeed, to survive. I am excited to see what the third book in this series brings.
Gemina by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Second book in the Illuminae Files, we follow different characters in the same world but different spaceships. Hannah is the spoiled party girl daughter of the ship’s captain and Nik is a member of a drug crime family. While getting ready for a party, the ship is invaded by a strike team and it’s up to Nik and Hannah to survive their loved ones, their home, and possibly the universe. Overall it was okay. I think I enjoyed the first one more and it just didn’t fully grab my attention.
The Golden Dynasty by Kristen Ashley
The story starts with Circe waking up in a weird corral filled with women who are about to be “hunted” by warriors to be claimed as their wives. She hopes its all a bad dream but soon realizes this is all actually happening. Circe ends up grabbing the attention of the clan’s chief and becomes his wife. She has to quickly learn the culture, the language, and try to survive in this brutal world. The entire time all I could think of was Khal Drogo and Daenerys from Game of Thrones. Trigger warning for sexual abuse
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
If Peace Talks by Jim Butcher hadn’t come out this month, this book would have easily been my favorite of the month! This was the first book I have ever read by Hendrix and it will not be the last. The book is set in the suburbs in the 1990s and we follow a group of wives that love reading thrillers and mysteries in their book club. When a stranger moves into town, kids start disappearing, and weird events keep happening, the book club tries to figure out what is happening in their small community. This story was creepy, intense, and so well written! The social and women issues that were addressed
Peace Talks by Jim Butcher
Guys! Guys! It is FINALLY here! After 6 years, the wait is over! I was so happy when I got my signed copy in the mail. I took my sweet time over a weekend to read this book and man, was it worth it. I can’t say much about it because it would lead to spoilers for some of the other books in the series. But pretty much, we follow our favorite wizard, Harry Dresden, as he is stuck yet again between a rock and a hard place. Honestly, the end was emotional, stressful, and so entertaining. I don’t know how they will survive the attacks that are happening in Chicago right now. Can’t wait for Battle Grounds!
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
On to book 2 in the Mistborn Era 2 series and man did the twist in this book slap me in the face honestly. I had a slight feeling about the twist but I didn’t think it was going to actually happen. I felt really bad for Wax in this book. Wax follows the advice and direction from the Gods in this world. Eventually Wax is a great character, Wayne steals the show for me a lot of the time with his humor and troubled past.
Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L Trump
I liked this book for what it was, a simple overview of Mary Trump’s family through her eyes growing up and how she saw her Uncle Donald Trump’s rise to power. There was no “tea” that the world hadn’t heard of before but the book explained how Trump’s family played a big role in making him the person that he is today. I do recommend this book to readers interested in the mind of Trump and why he is the way he is but don’t go in expecting some great revelations.
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson
I was a little sad to read this book because I didn’t want to be caught up with the Mistborn world, I just love it so much! There were so many twists and turns in The Bands of Mourning that I didn’t see coming! I liked the development we have seen with Steris, who I found boring in the first book but she has become so charming with her seriousness and list making. I loved that Sanderson had the readers venture out of the capital to explore more of this world and introduced us to some new characters from a distant land. Major cliffhanger at the end so I can’t wait for the next book.
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
This book has become one of my favorite books by Sanderson which is always hard to say because I love all his books. I didn’t know what to expect going into it because I like to avoid any spoilers when I read books. The magic system in Warbreaker was so interesting and unique and the political story line was amazing! There were several twists throughout the story that I didn’t see coming and that just makes me love the book even more.
Bully by Penelope Douglas
Penelope Douglas has easily become my favorite romance author and Bully was another incredible book by her. We follow Tatum and her neighbor Jared. Growing up, they were best friends and very close but after a summer away visiting his dad, Jared changed. After that summer, Jared became Tatum’s bully, constantly spreading rumors and harassing her. Now as seniors about to graduate, Tatum is finally standing up to Jared and that causes their relationship to change. Very fun and fast read.
For this Bad Mexican Daughter post, I don’t have a specific topic to discuss but I just want to talk about my recent experience with my family when I flew down to Arizona at the end of June. So I went back to AZ for my mom’s 50th birthday, she is the member of my family that I am closest to so I felt like I could not miss her birthday this year for any reason. I was excited to spend time with her and celebrate her birthday even though being around my family for 4 days straight with no place to hide is really hard.
To save money, I decided to stay at my parents’ house instead of booking a hotel room and honestly I think that was a mistake. Just like I always do, let me just say, I love my family but unfortunately, they agitate my anxiety so much. When I am hanging out with them, especially my sister and dad, I just feel completely judged and like an alien.
Let me explain the alien part. I am VERY different from my family. I love to read, love fantasy/science fiction/superhero movies, rock/metal music and I just don’t always connect with them about their likes. So when I am there and I am just reading or watching a certain show on TV, there is always someone in my family who comments on how weird I am. They like saying how “white” I am and that if I didn’t look like them, they would think I wasn’t part of the family because I am so different.
I have worked really hard over the years to like and love myself. I have worked hard to not be ashamed of my interests and just who I am in general. Which means that every time I spend a decent amount of time with my family, all of the work I have done on myself seems to go out the window. I find it so difficult to like myself and not be ashamed of myself when I have people constantly telling me how different and strange I am. I know they are not trying to be mean, they are just pointing out the obvious but when I have told them how those comments make me feel and they still continue, I don’t know what else I can do besides just stay away from them.
My sister is probably the person that says these kinds of comments to me the most and somehow makes me feel the worst about myself. She and I have always been opposites and while growing up, I was the good daughter and she was the troublemaker. Now those roles have reversed in my parents’ eyes because I choose to take care of myself first instead of focusing on the family and moving away.
Since we couldn’t have a party for our mom this year because of the pandemic, my sister came up with an idea to reach out to our friends and family to submit a happy birthday video message for our mom. I thought that was a brilliant idea and I helped as much as I could. She reached out to the majority of people though because she had access to our mom’s phone book since they live together and I don’t. She had to point out for the entire four days I was there that she did pretty much everything by herself. She also decorated the house for our mom’s birthday, did it while I was out, and then made comments like she did this all because she loves mom so much and that she didn’t get any help.
I just wonder sometimes if other people feel like aliens in their own family or if it’s just me. Honestly it feels like I am constantly speaking a different language from the rest of my family and I have to try so hard not to let it completely trigger my depression and my anxiety.
Sorry for the long winded rant about this. Hopefully some of you will understand my feelings and thoughts about this. Maybe there are a few of you that even feel like this too.
Hey everyone! I hope everyone is doing well and you are all safe!
I wanted to do a little life update right now because I haven’t really updated you guys about what is happening in my life for a while. The biggest change which I mentioned only slightly is I moved away from Arizona to Washington State. I have been here for almost two months and wow, am I in love. Honestly I have always wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest and now here I am! The weather is the best part in my opinion. Give me rain and clouds every day and I will be forever happy.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you have heard about my dog Wallaby. He is a mini pinscher, chihuahua mix who we adopted almost one year ago. He was unfortunately abused before we adopted him so he has pretty bad anxiety and separation anxiety. When we moved out here to Washington, I was worried that such a change would have upset him but I was pleasantly surprised that Wallaby absolutely loves it up here. He actually has a huge backyard to run around all day and he lives close to his dog cousins (my boyfriend’s family dogs) so he is never alone anymore. The only time he has had an anxiety attack since we moved to Washington was during fourth of July because of all the fireworks. It is so nice to know that Wallaby is happy and feels safe; he is my sweet boy and I just want him to always be happy!
We all are living in a stressful time right now because of the pandemic and social unrest. I know that for me, as someone who has depression and an anxiety disorder, my mental health has been struggling a bit. I like having control over everything, it is just part of my personality but of course, right now there is no way to have any control over what is happening to our world. Because of all of these stressors, my boyfriend and I decided to take a small weekend trip to Leavenworth, Washington. I was pleased that all of the shops and restaurants there required people to wear masks and there were hand sanitizer stations in every shop and throughout the city. It was so nice to go somewhere for a mini vacation to relax and not think about my current unemployment, social unrest, and it was hopeful to see everyone in Leavenworth working together to be safe.
Leavenworth was a perfect little town that made you feel like you were in a small German town. Every shop and restaurant created this amazing environment that transported you out of the USA to rural Germany. If you ever have a chance to go to Leavenworth, do it! You will not regret it all.
In the fifth installment of the The School for Good and Evil, all of our favorite characters are back but our heroes are all in danger because of the evil, false king that has taken control of the kingdom. With every new book in this series, a real danger and fear for my favorite characters becomes more intense. I absolutely love that, especially when it happens in a middle grade series! This book was a roller-coaster for my emotions in the best way! I immediately ordered the final installment for this series when I finished A Crystal of Time.
The Iron Flower by LaurieForest
Rating: 5/5 stars
The Iron Flower is the second book in The Black Witch Chronicles and it did not disappoint me at all! Our favorite characters like Lukas, Elloren, and Yvan are back and just trying to survive as they help the resistance. I loved reading about Elloren development and how she is finding out more and more about how wrong she was about her people, religion, and government. The love triangle in this series is intense so be ready for it. I know people might disagree with me about this but I prefer Lukas and Elloren together over Yvan and Elloren but still loved the whole triangle in this book.
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 4/5 stars
Second book in the Reckoners series by one of my favorite authors! I enjoyed this book more than the first one which makes me very excited to pick up book 3 in July! I liked how Sanderson explained the condition of the city after the events in Steelheart and then quickly moved on to another city where the Reckoners help was needed. Seeing the underground network of the Reckoners in another city added so much to the story for me. There were deaths, there were some serious revelations! Overall, a great book.
Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim
Rating: 4/5 stars
Okay so this book was incredible and I am so glad it didn’t disappoint me. All I knew about this book is that it was a retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo which is the favorite classic. I just love a revenge story with a sparkle of romance. I am very excited to see where this series goes. The sequel will be ordered as soon as it is out!
How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran
Rating: 3/5 stars
Caitlin Moran details her life experiences that have shaped her as the woman that she is today and talking about some basic “woman” characteristics that she didn’t agree with. It was very chatty and that is not necessarily a bad thing. She comments on pop culture and gender rights throughout the whole book. It was all overall okay but there were times where it was too much ranting for me.
The Shadow Wand by Laurie Forest
Rating: 5/5 stars
I was extremely excited to start this book, the third installment in The Black Witch Chronicles! There was a major revelation that happened at the end of Iron Flower and we start this book shortly after those events. Pretty quick into the story there is a major death and wow, that hurt! The author is not messing around! Definitely more adult content throughout this novel which I loved. I fell more in love with Lukas when reading Shadow Wand. I was so emotionally invested and moved while I read this. I may or may not have shed a couple of tears! I am so sad that I have to wait probably a year or more for book 4! At least there are a couple of novellas in this series to hold me over until book 4 comes out!
The Infinite Noise by Lauren Shippen
Rating: 5/5 stars
In this book, we follow Caleb who has the ability to feel the emotions of everyone around him, a true empathy. Being 16, in high school, and knowing everyone’s emotions makes Caleb’s daily life very difficult. Caleb befriends a boy named Adam who Caleb has noticed is very depressed. Slowly Caleb and Adam get closer and they have to work together to get through life and high school. It was a beautiful book that showed an incredible LGBTQ+ relationship.
One True King by Soman Chainani
Rating: 5/5 stars
I finally made it to the final book in The School for Good and Evil and wow was this final installment everything I wanted it to be! Tedros and his friends need to stop the false king and complete several trials left by King Arthur in order to save themselves and the kingdom. My favorite part was definitely Merlin and all of the crazy things he says and does. The way Chainani connects all of his books and kept revealing new information even in the last book was incredible. The humor and emotional moments that fill his books were definitely there. I loved how this store ended, it honestly made me tear up. This is a series that I would gladly read again and again.
Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
Rating: 3/5 stars
This was another LGBTQ+ book I read this month and it was overall okay. Rafe is a teenager living in Boulder, Colorado and he is openly gay. He isn’t teased or tormented because of his sexually but he gets tired of being only known as the gay kid. Rafe decides to transfer to an all boys boarding school in New England to start fresh and he decides to keep his sexuality a secret from everyone at the new school. Seeing Rafe navigate through this new school, new friendships, and new life is interesting and has several moments where Rafe needs to decide if keeping this secret is worth it. Overall, like I said, this book was okay but I was hoping for more honestly.
Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas
Rating: 5/5 stars
This was the first book I have ever read by Penelope Douglas but it will not be the last! I absolutely loved it! I can’t believe I have never read one of her romance books, they are adorable. In this book, we follow a young woman who meets an older man at the movie theater on her birthday and there is an instant connection. Come to find out, she is dating that guy’s useless son. The couple ends up having to move in with the father. Nothing happens between the older man and the young woman until after the relationship with the son has ended but wow, was there sexual tension! I think what I liked the most about this book is how these two people realize how much they need and want each other, not just sexually but emotionally.
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
Rating: 5/5 stars
I was most excited to pick this book up finally. I had heard so many amazing things and I was not disappointed at all. The fact that Evan Winter self published this book is incredible to me because of how good it is. We follow Tau as he is training to become a soldier to protect his people from their perceived enemy. Several things happen and Tau is now on a quest for revenge. The mythology, world building, magic system, all of it is fantastic in Rage of Dragons and I cannot wait for the next book in the series!
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
Rating: 4/5 stars
It felt good jumping into another Riordan world, especially one based on Norse mythology. Magnus Chase is a young boy who lost his mom and is now homeless. His uncle goes looking for him, saying that he is a danger and very soon after that, Magnus is thrown into a world of Norse gods, Valkyrie, and prophecies. This book has the same great humor and sarcasm one can expect from a Rick Riordan book.
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Rating: 4/5 stars
I have been wanting to read more books by Latinx authors so when I found this novel by a Latinx woman, I was sold. I have always loved books to tie into real world mythology, especially Greek or Norse mythology. This book is filled with Mayan mythology and as someone who is Hispanic with family from Mexico, I want to learn more about Mayan mythology. This book follows a young woman that is treated badly by her family because of who her dad was and one day when she is left alone in her grandfather’s house, she finds bones hidden in her grandfather’s trunk. Come to find out, these bones belong to a god who comes back to life and needs her help in order to reclaim his throne and full powers. I really enjoyed reading this book and the characters were all entertaining to follow. This author just had a new book come out this month called Mexican Gothic and I already know I will be purchasing it very soon.
Angles of Music by Kim Newman
Rating: 3/5 stars
This is a hard book to describe because the main plot is a little insane! So pretty much, the phantom of the opera, named Erik, runs an agency that solves crimes and mysteries in the city. Just think of Erik as Charlie from Charlie’s Angels, and the women that work for Erik are his “angels.” It was very insane but in general, a fun read. My only problem is this book, which caused the rating to be 3 out of 5, was the way to was written as more like short stories because there are multiple time jumps and new “angels” introduced too often. I felt like every time I got used to the angels and started enjoying those angels, they would change.
Wildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley
Rating: 4/5 stars
The main character is a wealthy woman named Seoafin “Finnie” Wilde and she lost her parents when she was young. She finds a witch that tells her that there are multiple dimensions where her parents’ twins or doppelgangers are still alive. All Finnie has to do is pay a million dollars to this witch and she are her own twin from that other world will trade places for one year. Her twin wants to switch with Finnie too. As soon as the switch happens, Finnie realizes that her twin tricked her into a possibly dangerous situation. She is forced to marry Frey Drakkar, a powerful and important warrior in this fantasyland. This book has a hate to love relationship, a lot of magic, dragons, and fairies. I am excited to see where book 2 goes.
The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
Rating: 4/5 stars
Book 2 of the Magnus Chase and man, do I just love this series and just books by Riordan in general! Magnus and his friends are back trying to stop Loki, find Thor’s hammer, and stop the possible giant invasion into Midgard. Riordan’s humor in this book is incredible and the new main character that was introduced adds so much to Magnus’ team. This character is gender-fluid which I just loved that Riordan is including more LGBTQ+ people into his books. We end this book talking about how Magnus needs to finally meet Percy Jackson and man, am I excited for that!
Books I didn’t finish:
The Twisted Ones by Ursula Vernon
If you have followed my book blog journey you would know that I don’t give up on books. It is not something I like to do. I usually try and force myself to get through books because there is always something positive that I can enjoy. But unfortunately, this book disappointed me and I just COULD NOT finish it! I was really excited actually about this book because I love horror but I got through about 180 pages and I couldn’t find anything to hold on to. I had to DNF The Twisted Ones unfortunately.
Hey everyone! Once again I am sorry that my wrap-up is a little late again but I just moved to another state so that took up a lot of my time. My boyfriend and I moved from Arizona to Washington State and I could not be more happy! It is absolutely beautiful up here and our dog, Wallaby, is loving the huge backyard. I am excited for this new chapter in my life and I have registered to classes at a college here in Washington so I am ready!
The book is the sequel to A Curse So Dark and Lonely which I absolutely loved so I was so excited to read this book! My favorite characters from the first book were back and the author showed us more of the world which just made me love this series even more. I was worried about the new characters that were introduced just because I loved the original characters so much but quickly, the main characters won me over. I highly recommend this series especially if you love retellings of Beauty and the Beast.
We follow different timelines throughout this book, one during WWII times in England and then in present day. One timeline follows the grandmother of Gillian and the other one is Gillian’s present day. This story was heart wrenching and moving, filled with mystery, family drama and suspense. I was sucked into this world from the very beginning.
In this book, we follow Ana who is Jesus’ wife. As someone who grew up Catholic and just love learning about religions in general, I was interested in this book even if it was historical fiction. Ana was a great character all around, who knew herself very well and knew that she didn’t want to follow the norm for women back then. When she meets Jesus, her life changes and soon, she needs to find out who she is again because she realizes she is not just Jesus’ wife. This was a very interesting read and I am excited to read more by this author in the future.
During WWI, there were many spy networks and one of them was the Alice Network, run by women. We follow two different timelines, one by a spy from the Alice network during the war and another one set years after WWII, following a young woman looking for her cousin. These women end up crossing paths and working together to find out the truths and justice they have been seeking.
My best friend Lauren has been recommending me this series for a long time and I am so happy I finally picked it up. We follow Sophie and Agatha who are taken from their normal life into a world full of magic and fairy tale characters. They end up going to the School for Good and Evil in a magical forest, but things are not as they expected. Even though this series is considered a middle grade, I think anyone who reads it will enjoy it.
I have always been skeptical about the Shadowhunter books by Cassandra Clare for no real reason honestly. I had only read the first book in the Mortal Instruments series so when Chain of Gold came out, I figured I wouldn’t read it. In the end, booktube won and I just could not resist! I am happy to say that I love this world now and I can’t wait to read more Shadowhunter books soon. I love that Cassandra Clare writes several LGBT characters in this story and the characters, besides one, were all fun to read. Excited for the next book in this series to come out.
This is the second book in the School for Good and Evil series, and it was okay. Book 2 and 4 are probably my least character in this series only because a few of the characters act immature for quite a while. In the first book, the main conflict is between good and evil characters but in this one, it is between boy and girls. It was not as captivating as the first book, but it was a fun, easy read in the end.
This story was a sweet and simple YA romance that added some political plot lines throughout it. It felt real and what I appreciated was how the romance was not the main point of the book, the friendship and political aspects were. Plus, there was a decent amount of diversity so that was a nice change.
Book 3 of the School of Good and Evil and this one was probably my second favorite in the series so far! For a middle grade book, there are some dark subject matter throughout these books and the author is not afraid of killing or harming main characters. One of the best things about this book and the whole series is how often I am surprised by a plot twist. In this book, we meet some new characters that just add so much to the world like Merlin! Yes, the Merlin from the Arthur legends. He is just as whimsical as ever. If I wasn’t sold on this series before, I was after reading this one.
I loved this book so much which I was not sure about because I am always iffy about romance books. In this story, we get a Cinderella retelling but set in the modern and geeky world. I loved that both main characters were such nerds about a science fiction TV show, just imagine Star Trek. I was rooting for these characters from the very beginning.
I was excited for this book because I am currently studying towards my forensic science degree, but I was a little disappointed. I liked learning about his cases and how he used blood spatter analysis for the first time. His personal life was kind of boring though and I felt like the book lagged.
This is the sequel to Geekerella where we follow a few different characters that we met originally in Geekerella. Still set in a fan convention, we follow a movie star that feels trapped in this sci-fi role and a girl who feels invisible that wants to make a difference in the world. The writing in these stories is simple but engaging and again, like with the first book, you will find yourself rooting for all the main characters.
If you guys couldn’t tell, I love historical fiction books especially those based on WWII era. We follow a woman named Hedy whose intelligent and very beautiful, who ends up married to a powerful man assisted with the Nazis. After hearing the Nazis’ plans in 1937, she flees to America to continue acting. The story follows her life as she works to help the US fight against the Nazis. It was a decent book, not my favorite but I was glad to have read it.
So, The Bride Test is typically a sequel to The Kiss Quotient, but I did not know that when I picked it up. Luckily, you don’t have to read the first one in order to understand what is happening with the second book. We follow Khai, Vietnamese and autistic, whose mother decides the only way that he can find a woman to marry is to arrange a marriage with someone from Vietnam. Esme goes to America in hopes of finding a better life for herself, her daughter, and her mother. Slowly we see Khai and Esme grow close but Khai needs to find out whether, he can accept love.
It is safe to say that The Black Witch was the best book I read in the month of May. I didn’t know anything about it, but the synopsis caught my attention, so I decided to pick it up. We follow a naive, sheltered young woman named Elloren, who’s grandmother was the most powerful witch that “saved” her people from the evil ones. At university, Elloren finds out slowly that everything she thought was true was a lie and she joins the resistance to try and protect everyone she loves. I have already read the second book in this series during the first couple of days in June and it just got better. I can’t wait for June 9th when the third book in the series comes out!
In this book, we follow Stella, a brilliant mathematician with Asperger’s, looking to learn how to have sex and be in a relationship. To teach her these skills, she hires a male escort named Michael. Extremely sexy, lovable romance, and great characters. The author, Helen Hoang knows how to write romance books that I want to read.
On to the fourth book in the School for Good and Evil series and unfortunately, it was my least favorite of these books. I loved the new villain that was introduced but the other original characters were frustrating me honestly. I felt that it was too long for the plot that we got but the last 100 pages almost made up for the rest of the book.
Trigger warning for this book, there is a lot of psychological and physical abuse of children by a parent. They were several parts of this story that were hard to read because of the gaslighting and manipulation but it was a great read in the end. One of the best lines in this book was, “I loved my mother because I didn’t know I had a choice. I had to love her.” It was just so powerful and moving. Highly recommend!