book review: the boneless mercies by april genevieve tucholke


The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke
Farrar, Straus and Giroux BYR, 384 pp.
Published October 2, 2018



DISCLAIMER: I received a free physical ARC of this title from the publisher for review consideration. This did not inform or influence my opinion in any way.

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies' one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

Full of fierce girls, bloodlust, tenuous alliances, and unapologetic quests for glory, this elegantly spun tale challenges the power of storytelling—and who gets to be the storyteller.

book review: damsel by elana k. arnold


Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
Balzer + Bray, 256 pp.
Published October 2, 2018



DISCLAIMER: I received a free physical ARC of this title from the publisher for review consideration. This did not inform or influence my opinion in any way.

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.

book review: red clocks by leni zumas


Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
Little, Brown and Company, 368 pp.
Published January 16, 2018



Five women. One question. What is a woman for?

In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

Ro, a single high-school teacher, is trying to have a baby on her own, while also writing a biography of Eivør, a little-known 19th-century female polar explorer. Susan is a frustrated mother of two, trapped in a crumbling marriage. Mattie is the adopted daughter of doting parents and one of Ro's best students, who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. And Gin is the gifted, forest-dwelling homeopath, or "mender," who brings all their fates together when she's arrested and put on trial in a frenzied modern-day witch hunt.

book review: the dark descent of elizabeth frankenstein by kiersten white


The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Delacorte Press, 304 pp.
Published September 25, 2018



DISCLAIMER: I received a free physical ARC of this title from the publisher for review consideration. This did not inform or influence my opinion in any way.

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

book review: small spaces by katherine arden


Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, 256 pp.
Published September 25, 2018



DISCLAIMER: I received a free physical ARC of this title from the publisher for review consideration. This did not inform or influence my opinion in any way.

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn't think--she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with "the smiling man," a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she's been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn't have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: "Best get moving. At nightfall they'll come for the rest of you." Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie's previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver's warning. As the trio head out into the woods--bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them--the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: "Avoid large places. Keep to small."

And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.

book review: rule by ellen goodlett


Rule by Ellen Goodlett
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 384 pp.
Published September 11, 2018



The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos.

Or rather, three unexpected options.

Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her band of Travelers. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she's already gone.

Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.

Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady's maid and scheming her way out of the servants' chambers. But one such plot could get her hung for treason if anyone ever discovers what she's done.

When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny...to rule.

book review: the 7 ½ deaths of evelyn hardcastle by stuart turton


The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
Sourcebooks Landmark, 512 pp.
Published September 18, 2018



DISCLAIMER: I received a free physical ARC of this title from the publisher for review consideration. This did not inform or influence my opinion in any way.

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed—again. She's been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden's only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle's murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend—but nothing and no one is quite what they seem.

book review: wildcard by marie lu


Wildcard by Marie Lu
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, 352 pp.
Published September 18, 2018



DISCLAIMER: I received a free physical ARC of this title from the publisher for review consideration. This did not inform or influence my opinion in any way.

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo's new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she's always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.

Determined to put a stop to Hideo's grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone's put a bounty on Emika's head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn't all that he seems--and his protection comes at a price.

Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

This review contains mild spoilers for Warcross.

what i'm reading: autumn 2018


It's that time again! Autumn is jam-packed with exciting new releases. Some are perfectly suited to the season, encouraging you to pull on a cozy sweater and fill a mug with your favorite toasty drink; some continue or conclude exciting series; and some are highly anticipated debuts from a diverse group of authors. As the nights turn nippy, I'm thrilled to have these particular titles to curl under the covers with!

book review: sadie by courtney summers


Sadie by Courtney Summers
Wednesday Books, 320 pp.
Published September 4, 2018



DISCLAIMER: I received a free physical ARC of this title from the publisher for review consideration. This did not inform or influence my opinion in any way.

A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial-like podcast following the clues she's left behind.

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

sunday post #34


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.

Y'all. This week...has been insane. I went from interviewing for a new job on Monday to actually starting it Wednesday—and hadn't even heard about the opportunity until a couple days before the interview! In the blink of an eye I've gone from being able to structure my time and work however I want to clocking in at a small office about half an hour away from home. The (enormous) positive to all of this is that I'm getting the opportunity to learn so many new things in a field that felt impossible to break into.

Where the struggle comes in is trying to rapidly adjust to having a supervisor and learning his style of management, along with the deceptively simple question of figuring out just how my weekdays will be structured now. So much change in so little time has provided the perfect ground for some added anxiety and stress, which makes me doubly grateful for the long weekend and an opportunity to pause, breathe, and remind myself that these situations become what you make of them. If I continue focusing on the stress, I only make it harder to take advantage of what's in front of me.

This also means I've fallen behind on basic blogging things like returning comments and visiting all of y'all's lovely new posts! I appreciate your support so much and I'm hoping to catch up with everyone later this week ♥

book review: not even bones by rebecca schaeffer


Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
HMH Books for Young Readers, 368 pp.
Published September 4, 2018



Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster.

blog tour: the sacrifice box + q&a with martin stewart


The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart
Viking Books for Young Readers, 368 pp.
Published August 28, 2018



A horror story about friendship, growing up, and finding a place in the world: Gremlins meets The Breakfast Club by way of Stephen King and Stranger Things.

1982, the summer before seventh grade. Five kids with nothing in common--Sep, Arkle, Hadley, Lamb, and Mack--become instant friends. On the last day of summer, they find a stone box buried in the forest, and each places an object inside to seal their friendship. And they make rules:

Never come to the box alone. 
Never open it after dark. 
Never take back your sacrifice.

1986, the summer before eleventh grade. The five haven't spoken since that day in 1982. Sep has gone through the past four years alone and plans to escape to boarding school. But strange things are happening--mirrors are breaking unexpectedly, electricity is flickering in and out, and people are coming down with inexplicable physical ailments.

Someone has broken the rules. And it seems the five committed more than objects to the box's ancient stone--they gave it their deepest secrets and darkest fears, and now these are being returned in a flood of shambling corpses, murderous toys, and undead pets. The gang must reunite in an attempt to discover the secrets of the sacrifice box--and Sep might be the only one who can stem its tide of evil before it's too late.

state of the arc #8


State of the ARC is a monthly meme hosted by Avalinah's Books. It's a way to track your reading progress and see how fellow book bloggers are doing as well.

The rules for State of the ARC are quite simple; I couldn't put them any better than Evelina already has:
  • Mention that you’re linking up with State of the ARC @ AvalinahsBooks, which is a fun way to share our ARC progress, challenges, wins, woes and mishaps.
  • Include the link to this post, or the current State of the ARC post. You can use my State of the ARC image too.
  • Don’t forget to visit all the other people in the link-up and comment.
  • And most importantly – have fun!

book review: city of ghosts by victoria schwab


City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Scholastic Press, 272 pp.
Published August 28, 2018



DISCLAIMER: I received a free physical ARC of this title from the publisher for review consideration. This did not inform or influence my opinion in any way.

Cassidy Blake's parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn't sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn't belong in her world. Cassidy's powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

sunday post #33


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.

This has been a week of getting work done, both on and away from the computer...just not necessarily for the blog! I had three film reviews expected by Friday, which took up a considerable amount of my free time, and finishing Muse of Nightmares has left with a bit of a reading hangover. Along with not getting much reading done, I'm sorry to say it's been an off-week for blog hopping and replies as well. My hope is to be caught up by this evening, although I have some work-related things to get through as well. However strange it may sound, I missed my blogging friends the last few days!

I did manage to make time to go and see Christopher Robin, which was positively adorable. The computer animation was gorgeous and I loved the theme of returning to the important lessons of childhood. Eeyore is totally my adult #aesthetic, too. I really sympathize with his benignly gloomy outlook 😂

book review: mirage by somaiya daud


Mirage by Somaiya Daud
Flatiron Books, 320 pp.
Published August 28, 2018



DISCLAIMER: I received a free physical ARC of this title from the publisher for review consideration. This did not inform or influence my opinion in any way.

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.

down the tbr hole #23


As my Goodreads to-read shelf creeps closer to 500 books, I've been eyeing it with a growing feeling of apprehension. It would take forever to get through so many...and that's not counting all of the new books I hear about along the way. Thankfully I discovered Lost In A Story's series (by way of Boston Book Reader) at the beginning of the year and it sounds like a great way to trim down my TBR.

The guidelines, per Lost In A Story, are simple:
  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  • Order on ascending date added
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
I'll be going through 10 books every week, meaning it should take me almost the whole year to reach the end! If you'd like to do this yourself, be sure to visit Lost In A Story's original post and let her (and me!) know you'll be joining in the fun.

book review: strange the dreamer by laini taylor


Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Hodder & Staughton, 536 pp.
Published March 27, 2017



The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around - and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries - including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

sunday post #32


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.

Yesterday I bid an unofficial farewell to summer at an annual pool party that doubles as a fundraiser for a local charity! It's held at one of the nice old hotels north of downtown and, provided you show up early enough to stake out a good spot, it makes for some fun people watching while sipping on a cold drink in the pool. You also need to be smart enough to leave before too many guests have had one too many cold drinks in the pool, but that's another story...

I also broke out of my film-going rut and saw Mission Impossible: Fallout earlier in the week. When I was younger, I didn't really enjoy Tom Cruise's movies (with a couple of exceptions) but I've warmed to him in the last few years. Overall MI:6 was a great deal of fun, particularly watching it on an enormous screen with surround sound, and I'll never not be impressed with the practical stunts on display. This coming week I hope to make it back to the theater for The Meg and Christopher Robin...and keep avoiding the heat that just won't quit!

book review: vicious by v.e. schwab


Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Titan Books, 420 pp.
Published May 29, 2018



Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?
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