book review: sky in the deep

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
Wednesday Books, 352 pp.
Published April 24, 2018

DISCLAIMER: I received a free digital ARC of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for reviewing purposes. This did not inform or influence my opinion in any way.


Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

my favorite bookish b*tches

The word bitch often gets deployed against any woman, fictional or not, with more personality than a 1940's animated Disney princess. It seems as though the list of acceptable qualities in a woman that make her "likable" keeps getting shorter, while the ways in which she can offend grow ever more numerous. Sometimes there's a clear double standard at play: the level of selfishness, ambition, or independence that's acceptable in a man is a mark against his female counterparts. But sometimes, a female character really is bitchy—and that's okay!

To me, whether she's good or bad, a bitch is always interesting. Maybe she's the villain, or hasn't made up her mind if she wants to be one yet. Maybe she's just gotten tired of everyone else's nonsense. Or maybe she's a fundamentally good person forced into making unthinkable choices, ones that she could never win. Regardless of their personal narrative, I think it's time we celebrate the bookish bitches we love—or love to hate. Each of them is complex, challenging, and make a story more compelling because of their presence in it.

book review: the queen's rising

The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross
HarperTeen, 464 pp.
Published February 6, 2018

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

sunday post #23

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a chance to recap posts from the past week and tease upcoming content, as well as share new books, reading challenge progress, and anything else you've come across in the last seven days.

Happy Father's Day to those who are celebrating it—and a happy Sunday to everyone else! My family takes a relaxed approach to holidays, so most of our festivities today center around my cooking some of dad's favorite foods. It's a nice cap to a weekend highlighted by the film festival that I covered Friday and Saturday. Despite only going to a couple of movies, the commute to the theater and finding parking once you're there is a bit of a hassle; not having to deal with herds of inattentive drivers is nice!

I also went and saw Hereditary on my own this week. Have any of you seen it, or plan on seeing it? There were a couple on-the-nose moments but overall I think Ari Aster crafted a superb movie! He genuinely shocked me more than once—a hard task with this cynical horror fan—and Toni Collette deserves to be included in awards chatter at the end of the year. To top it all off I have a lovely little book haul down below, making up for the last few weeks of few to no new books coming in!

book review: lies you never told me

Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson
Razorbill, 336 pp.
Published May 29, 2018

DISCLAIMER: I received a free physical ARC of this book from the publisher via BookishFirst for review purposes. This in no way informed or influenced my opinion

Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide.

Quiet, shy Elyse can't believe it when she's cast as the lead in her Portland high school's production of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is usually the star, and Elyse isn't sure she's up to the task. But when someone at rehearsals starts to catch her eye--someone she knows she absolutely shouldn't be with--she can't help but be pulled into the spotlight.

Austin native Gabe is contemplating the unthinkable--breaking up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend. She's not going to let him slip through her fingers, though, and when rumors start to circulate around school, he knows she has the power to change his life forever.

Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive.