Aces Wild – review

Author: Amanda DeWitt
Publication date: September 13, 2022
Genre: YA contemporary
My rating: 3.5/5 stars

Okay, so. The blurb on this one had me 100% sold–a heist in the vein of Six of Crows featuring an all-asexual cast? You’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect intersection of my interests. The thing is, this marketing tactic really did the book a disservice. This is not like Six of Crows, minus perhaps the found family element and some teens engaging in illegal activity. It was a fun read, and the ace rep was wonderful, but I’ll admit, I felt rather let down. Were it not for my extreme soft spot for good ace rep, this would likely have been a lower rating. Read on for a better breakdown of my thoughts!

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Backlog Mini Book Review – Nothing but Blackened Teeth

Author: Cassandra Khaw
Publication date: October 19, 2021
Genre: horror
My rating: 3/5 stars

Hello, friends! It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but I’m on a mission now to post more regularly again this year. My first order of business is catching up on some reviews from old NetGalley titles over the past year or two; my second will be more regularly sharing my reviews of this year’s reads. To that end, some of these reviews may be abbreviated, in part because I read the books a while ago, but also because I’m trying to get better at just posting rather than insisting on perfect, lengthy opinions. Kicking things off, this is a title I got a while ago but only just got around to reading this past fall: a horror novella set in a crumbling Japanese manor populated by ghosts, following an incredibly tense wedding party.

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Belladonna – ARC review

Author: Adalyn Grace
Publication date: August 30, 2022
Genre: Gothic YA fantasy/romance
My rating: 3.5/5 stars

A murder mystery featuring Gothic vibes and a romance with Death himself. A beautiful cover (seriously, look up what is under the dust jacket on the US versions of this one). An author with an impressive resume (including a stint interning on The Legend of Korra). This book is perfect in theory. And while it certainly delivered on all the vibes and atmosphere, I must confess that the book as a whole was just…okay. It wasn’t bad; it just didn’t live* up to its full potential.

*pun about living (since this book deals with death so much) was not intentional, but now that I’ve noticed, I have to leave it in.

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Flip Turns – blog tour (ARC review)

Author: Catherine Arguelles
Publication date: September 12, 2022
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary/Mystery

My rating: 3.75/5 stars

Summer may be over, but that’s no reason we can’t enjoy a middle-grade summer swim team mystery! Flip Turns is an easy read, replete with humor, the casual bluntness of young teenagers, and the trappings of a classic whodunnit, but also deals with serious topics (including stalking-like behavior and anxiety) in a context that’s approachable for younger audiences. I’m so glad to have been a part of TBR and Beyond’s tour for this book–read on for my thoughts on the book!

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Violet Made of Thorns – blog tour (ARC review + awesome quotes!)

Author: Gina Chen
Series: Violet Made of Thorns duology (#1)
Publication date: July 26, 2022
Genre: YA fantasy
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Fantasy politics. Morally questionable main character. Lies and prophecies and the blurry lines between the two. The girl who wants to kill Prince Charming instead of flirt with him. Enemies-to-lovers romance. Have I convinced you yet? Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen was one of my most-anticipated books of 2022, and reader, it delivered. This is the sort of debut that makes me incredibly excited about this author’s future works (and has me chomping at the bit for the sequel!). Read on for my review of this riveting title, along with a (somewhat lengthy) list of quotes I loved from it.

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Not Good for Maidens – blog tour (review, quotes, and ace rep!)

Author: Tori Bovalino
Publication date: June 21, 2022
Genre: YA fantasy horror
My rating: 4/5 stars

A modern take on the Goblin Market fairytale. Queer rep galore. Themes of belonging, family, duty, bonds, and bargains. Old English villages. Witches. Creepy-as-heck body horror. You’ll find it all in Not Good for Maidens, a dark YA fantasy full of bargains gone wrong, temptations too strong, and yearning to belong, unfolding over two timelines and two continents.. Read on for more of my thoughts, including some favorite quotes of mine from the book!

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Game of Strength and Storm – blog tour

Author: Rachel Menard
Publication date: June 7, 2022
Genre: YA fantasy

Look, I may not have had time to read this one yet (if you knew how many hours I have spent on editing school- and work-related things this past week, you’d see why), but I am quite excited for when I do get the chance. I mean, come on–it is a gender-bent retelling of the labors of Hercules, featuring badass girls and cool magic. Plus, it has sapphic and demisexual characters (perfect for Pride month!), as well as anxiety rep. I’m tremendously looking forward to it. In the meantime, perhaps my posting here will encourage you to give this one a look as well. Read on for a synopsis and more info on the book!

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The Words We Keep – blog tour (ARC review + quotes + mental health rep)

Author: Erin Stewart
Publication date: March 15, 2022
Genre: YA contemporary
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

By turns painfully real and softly hopeful, The Words We Keep is a striking exploration of the effects of mental illness not just on an individual, but on an entire family. It addresses the pervasiveness of mental health struggles across all types of individuals–social butterflies, high-achieving academic types, and nonconformist artists. And it does so through the eyes of anxious girl doing her best not to come unraveled even as her world seems to be falling apart around her. I couldn’t get over how much this story resonated with my own memories of high school and college–through those years of my life, so much of this main character’s experience could have been my own–and I sincerely hope this book is picked up by students working their way through high school today, as the stakes and anxieties have only gotten higher the past few years. Read on for a full review, as well as some quotes from this book that I really appreciated.

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Sundial – blog tour (feat. giveaway!)

Author: Catriona Ward
Publication date: March 1, 2022
Genre: horror

As some of you may recall (at least those of you who follow me on other platforms–I’ll admit, I’ve been slacking somewhat on this blog, though my Bookstagram and Goodreads are far more lively), The Last House on Needless Street was one of my favorite books of 2021. With its creepy atmosphere, shocking twists, and psychological complexity, I was completely hooked–so, of course, when I heard that the author had a new book coming this year, I had to read it and promote it as widely as possible. School has been absolutely destroying me lately, so this is just a promo post, but it does have a giveaway at the end, and more info on what is sure to be a chilling, mind-bending read. Stay tuned for a review from me in the very near future, too–I just started the book, and I’m already hooked!

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All the Right Reasons – blog tour (ARC review + EDS rep!)

Author: Bethany Mangle
Publication date: February 15, 2022
Genre: YA Contemporary
My rating: 4/5 stars

Fans of Gilmore Girls, this book was basically made for you. A story of a single mother and her daughter, both struggling to find love, propelled by hefty doses of sarcasm and coffee, this is a great read if you’re looking for something sweet, fast, and fun. And, more importantly, it has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome representation! Read on for more about the book and my thoughts on it.

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