September Wrap Up + Mini Reviews

September was a surprisingly busy month for me. My job became all-consuming for a little while in order for me to get a promotion I’d been after which drastically changed my daily life; I went on a week-long family vacation to Tennessee; and my witchy aesthetic girl gang started spending more time together. It was a complete whirlwind of a month, to say the least. I’ve had hardly any time to dedicate to my hobbies with how crazy things have been.

Unfortunately, that meant reading often got put on the backburner. I did read the Splintered Series by A.G. Howard, and honestly managing to read seven books this month in spite of everything else I had going on is still impressive for me. I actually read both of my Book of the Month picks in the month I got them! I only read one of my three books for my monthly book club, but four of the seven books I read were ones I own that I can check off the towering list that is my tbr pile, so overall, it was a good reading month!

I decided to do mini reviews with all the books I read this month, because while some were terrible, some blew me away, and some were tucked cozily right in between, I didn’t feel I had enough to say about each of them to warrant their own separate reviews.

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Review: Splintered Series by A.G. Howard

Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite stories, and honestly one of my favorite ideas. There’s something so purely magical about deserting real life by falling down a rabbit hole and discovering a fantasy world with playing card guards, a pool of tears, or a game of croquet with live flamingos and hedgehogs as equipment.

I’ve read a fair amount of Alice retellings: Heartless by Marissa Meyer, a prequel to how the Red Queen became who she is; Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter, a story loosely based on its namesake about a girl who has to fight zombies; Alice by Christina Henry, a dark, twisted version about a girl who escaped Wonderland; to name a few. The difference between those and the Splintered series is that they all deviate so much from the original story that they lose a bit of the magic and spark that comes from the original.

Splintered is certainly darker than Alice in Wonderland, but what I loved about the franchise is that it works so heavily to incorporate the original themes, characters, and ideas into this story. When you’re so familiar with the story and world of Wonderland, the Splintered series feels a bit like coming home. Alyssa realizes that Lewis Carroll fluffed up the story for a little girl when he wrote it, whereas the real world of Wonderland is more sinister and scary.

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Review: Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie

Summary: Twenty-six and broke, Skye didn’t think twice before selling her eggs and happily pocketing the cash. Now approaching forty, Skye moves through life entirely on her own terms, living out of a suitcase and avoiding all manner of serious relationships. Her personal life might be a mess, and no one would be surprised if she died alone in a hotel room, but at least she’s free to do as she pleases. But then a twelve-year-old girl shows up during one of Skye’s brief visits to her hometown and tells Skye that she’s “her egg.” Skye’s life is thrown into sharp relief and she decides that it might be time to actually try to have a meaningful relationship with another human being. Spoiler alert: It’s not easy.

Told in a fresh, lively voice, this novel is a relentlessly clever, deeply moving portrait of a woman and the relationships she thought she could live without.

Genre: contemporary, romance, lgbt
Rating: 5/5 stars

Most reviews I’ve seen for this book on Goodreads are either four-or-five-star ratings or the reader DNF’d it incredibly early on. The writing style here is so specific and I can understand readers not enjoying the book for that alone (because honestly, otherwise this is a flawless book). As someone who doesn’t read light, fluffy books usually, I felt that this was exactly what I needed. I welcomed the change with open arms and absolutely loved this book.

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Review: The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout

Summary: Growing up, Mallory Dodge learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. Now, after four years of homeschooling, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at a public high school. But she never imagined she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood. It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded.

Yet soon it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory must make a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants and the truths that need to be heard.

Genre: young adult, romance, contemporary
Rating: 2.5/3 stars

The young-adult contemporary genre is so difficult for me, because it’s often extremely hit or miss. Sometimes I love reading stories of high schoolers with OCD or bipolar disorder who meet a boy who accepts them for who they are. Sometimes I read stories about teenage boys who are battling schizoaffective disorder that made my heart ache. I cried vicious tears during The Hate U Give.

So I really thought I would enjoy a young-adult contemporary about a girl who escapes an abusive foster home and rekindles a relationship with a boy from her past while overcoming that trauma from her childhood. Sadly, I felt like The Problem with Forever focused so heavily on the wrong aspects of this story until the very end, which made it hard to enjoy.

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