Twenty Spooktacular Fall Reads You Need to Checkout! 🍂

Hey everyone! Today’s post is a bit overdue, but will hopefully be a worthwhile one because I’m going to be giving you some books to read this fall season! I’ve separated the books into four categories; Middle Grade, Young Adult, Adult, and of course, the Classics. I hope you enjoy!

PS: Press the book covers for the goodreads links. I also summarised most of the book synopsis’ myself. However some I took from goodreads.

If you’re a bit of a scaredy cat like me, than I suggest these middle grade titles! But don’t let their innocent demeanor fool you…

1. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Small Spaces: Arden, Katherine: 9780525515029: Books - Amazon.ca

This is a gorgeously creepy story about a girl whose field trip to a farm goes wrong.

2. Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland

Ophie's Ghosts: Ireland, Justina: 9780062915894: Books - Amazon.ca

Set in 1922, Ophie’s Ghosts follows a girl named Ophie. She has no choice but to work as a maid in an old manor as her mother is tight on money. Little does she know that the manor holds secrets of its own.

3. What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie

When Ginny Anderson’s dad takes the family on a month long trip to a decrepit manor known as Woodmoor Manor, things take an uneasy turn. For the woods surrounding the mansion, hold a secret.

4. Thirteens by Kate Marshall

Thirteens by Kate Alice Marshall: 9780593117040 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books

After the death of her mother, twelve-year-old Eleanor moved to a town called Eden Eld where an eerie Mr. January collects his payment of three thirteen-year-olds every thirteen years. The kids are sacrificed in exchange for the town’s unending good fortune. This Halloween, Mr. January is back, and has their eyes on Eleanor and her friends. Will they break the curse before Halloween ends?

I feel like Young Adult thrillers are harder to find than YA mysteries, so here are some to add to your TBR!

5. The Woods Are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins

The Woods Are Always Watching: Perkins, Stephanie: 9780525426028: Books -  Amazon.ca


Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together—a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest. Simmering tensions lead to a detour off the trail and straight into a waking nightmare; and then into something far worse. Something that will test them in horrifying ways.

(Synopsis from goodreads)

6. Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

While this one isn’t entirely a thriller, it gives me such fall and back to school vibes!

Darcy Phillips gives relationship advice to her fellow students. However, one day she is hired by the popular guy at school who wants to get his ex back. What could possibly go wrong?

7. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

52339313. sy475

Cemetery Boys is a fall classic!

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free. However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

(Synopsis from Goodreads)

8. The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass: 9781984812537 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Sixteen year old Jake Livingston can see the dead. However, what happens when you become haunted by a ghost, and are able to see it?

9. Alice by Heart by Steven Sater

Alice By Heart: Sater, Steven: 9780451478139: Books - Amazon.ca

In this Alice and Wonderland retelling, Alice and her best friend Alfred must take refuge in a London Tube station during WWII. Alfred is gravely ill with Tuberculosis, and might not survive the night. So to cheer him up, Alice tells her favorite story; The Story of Alice in Wonderland. But what happens when wonderland is her only escape from the harshness of World War Two?

10. I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan

I Hope You're Listening by Tom Ryan

In her small town, seventeen year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago, she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again. At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way. When another little girl goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers, with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much is she willing to reveal about herself in order to uncover the truth? Dee’s about to find out what’s really at stake in unraveling the mystery of the little girls who vanished.

(Synopsis from goodreads)

11. The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

The Forest of Stolen Girls : Hur, June: Amazon.ca: Books

Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene. Years later, Detective Min―Hwani’s father―learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared from the same forest that nearly stole his daughters. He travels to their hometown on the island of Jeju to investigate… only to vanish as well. Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village―and collides with her now estranged sister, Maewol―Hwani comes to realize that the answer could lie within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.

(Synopsis from goodreads)

12. The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

Something is off about Snakebite. Teens keep going missing, and Ashely Barton’s boyfriend is one of them. When Logan Oritz-Woodley and her family move in town, they aren’t exactly met with a warm welcome. Logan frequently wonders why the town hates her family so much. Could Snakebite be hiding a secret?

13. A Dark and Starless Forest by Sarah Hollowell

Separated by the rest of the world, Derry and her eight siblings live on a lake near a merciless forest. One day Derry’s siblings start to go missing, forcing her to confront the forest once again.

So maybe Middle Grade and Young Adult aren’t your jam. If so, then that’s totally okay! Here are some adult reads instead.

14. Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau

Donut Fall in Love by Jackie Lau

This book isn’t necessarily spooky, but it’s most definitely cozy!

Actor Ryan Kwok is back in Toronto after the promotional tour for his latest film, a rom-com that is getting less-than-stellar reviews. After the sudden death of his mother and years of constant work, Ryan is taking some much-needed time off. But as he tries to be supportive to his family, he struggles with his loss and doesn’t know how to talk to his dad—who now trolls him on Twitter instead of meeting him for dim sum. Innovative baker Lindsay McLeod meets Ryan when he knocks over two dozen specialty donuts at her bakery. Their relationship is off to a messy start, but there’s no denying their immediate attraction. When Ryan signs up for a celebrity episode of Baking Fail, he asks Lindsay to teach him how to bake and she agrees. As Lindsay and Ryan spend time together, bonding over grief and bubble tea, it starts to feel like they’re cooking up something sweeter than cupcakes in the kitchen.

(Synopis from goodreads)

15. The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

The Ex Hex eBook by Erin Sterling | Rakuten Kobo

Nine years ago, young witch Vivienne Jones ‘pretended’ to curse Rhys, the guy who dumped her. Fast forward almost a decade, and he’s back in town to represent his prestigious family, and also to recharge the town’s ley lines. However, will the curse Vivienne thought she never placed on Rhys endanger the town she’s always called home?

16. Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

Dead Dead Girls : Afia, Nekesa: Amazon.ca: Books

Harlem, 1926. Young black girls like Louise Lloyd are ending up dead. Following a harrowing kidnapping ordeal when she was in her teens, Louise is doing everything she can to maintain a normal life. She’s succeeding, too. She spends her days working at Maggie’s Café and her nights at the Zodiac, Manhattan’s hottest speakeasy. Louise’s friends might say she’s running from her past and the notoriety that still stalks her, but don’t tell her that. When a girl turns up dead in front of the café, Louise is forced to confront something she’s been trying to ignore–several local black girls have been murdered over the past few weeks. After an altercation with a local police officer gets her arrested, Louise is given an ultimatum: She can either help solve the case or let a judge make an example of her. Louise has no choice but to take the case and soon finds herself toe-to-toe with a murderous mastermind. She’ll have to tackle her own fears and the prejudices of New York City society if she wants to catch a killer and save her own life in the process.

(Synopsis from goodreads)

17. The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

The Empress of Salt and Fortune: Vo, Nghi: 9781250750303: Books - Amazon.ca

If you’re a fantasy lover, then this is definitely the book for you!

A young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully. Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor’s lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for. At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She’s a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Can’t forget about the classics!

18. Dracula by Bram Stoker

ARC CLASSICS DRACULA, Book by Bram Stoker (Paperback) | www.chapters.indigo .ca

Dracula is a story about the infamous Van Helsing, a guy named Harker, and of course, evil. Filled with incredibly atmospheric writing, and a deliciously eerie setting, Dracula is a classic you don’t want to miss this Halloween!

19. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

ARC CLASSICS FRANKENSTEIN, Book by Mary Shelley (Paperback) | www.chapters. indigo.ca

This is the insane story of Dr. Frankenstein and his experiment that lead to the creation of the iconically creepy monster Frankenstein.

20. The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo

In the winter of 1937, the village of Okamura is abuzz with excitement over the forthcoming wedding of a son of the grand Ichiyanagi family. But amid the gossip over the approaching festivities, there is also a worrying rumour – it seems a sinister masked man has been asking questions around the village. Then, on the night of the wedding, the Ichiyanagi household are woken by a terrible scream, followed by the sound of eerie music. Death has come to Okamura, leaving no trace but a bloody samurai sword, thrust into the pristine snow outside the house. Soon, amateur detective Kosuke Kindaichi is on the scene to investigate what will become a legendary murder case, but can this scruffy sleuth solve a seemingly impossible crime?

(Synopsis from goodreads)

🎃 Still not sure what to read this autumn? Feel free to check out my spooky book reviews below for some ideas! 🎃

Alrighty, that’s a wrap! I hope you found some cozy books to read this fall season. What’s your favorite mystery or thriller? Have a spooktacular day!

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The Kids of Cattywampus Street | A Review

Hiya! Today I’ll be reviewing The Kids of Cattywampus Street, written by Lisa Jahn-Clough, and illustrated by Natalie Andrewson. I picked this one up because I had been looking for a whimsical book to read. So when I found this one, I just knew I had to pick it up. Not to mention that Lemony Snicket himself liked the novel! Anways, let’s get into it!

The Kids of Cattywampus Street by Lisa Jahn-Clough: 9780593127568 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

In this delightful chapter book filled with black-and-white pictures, you’ll meet Jamal, Lindalee, Hans, Matteo, and others–the kids who live on Cattywampus Street, not far from the Waddlebee Toy Store. Each of the eleven chapters in this magical, mysterious, silly, scary, happy, and sometimes sad chapter book tells an utterly unforgettable tale about one of the kids. Whether it’s about Jamal and his magic ball, which knows how to find him after its been stolen away; or Charlotta, who shrinks so small that she can fit inside her dollhouse; or Rodney, whose pet rock becomes the envy of all the kids on Cattywampus Street, here are stories sure to charm, captivate, and engage all readers of chapter books, even the most reluctant.

First let’s talk about the plot. The Kids of Cattywampus Street promises wacky tales about children that live on Cattywampus Street, or somewhere near it. The stories are also said to have some sort of connection to a toy store called The WaddleBee’s Toy Store. While the tales present in the book are bizarre, they don’t necessarily tie into each other. I was hoping for the stories to be connected in some way, but that wasn’t the case. Furthermore, the stories felt unoriginal, and already-done-before.

In addition, the characters had beautiful designs, but not all of them were likeable. There also wasn’t much character development, nor were there any learning opportunities present for children. 

The dialogue felt bland and tried too hard to be funny. For example, there was a typical mean kid and their ‘sidekicks.’ When a character was crying, the words ‘Boo Hoo’ were used to enunciate her sobbing. (I hope that makes sense!)

Moreover, I really struggled with the writing. It would always reveal the events that occurred before it happened. This left no space for the readers to predict or imagine what would happen next. 

Fortunately, the illustrations were stunning! They were whimsical and vibrant, which I’m sure young readers will love.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with The Kids of Cattywampus Street. (Pun intended.) While I disliked the writing style, I adored how bizarre and vibrant the book was. This novel is perfect for kids transitioning from picture books, to chapter books!

Age Rating: 9 and up

TW: Some scenes might scare younger children

Final Rating: 6/10 or 3 stars

⭐⭐⭐

What is your favorite short story collection? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have an amazing day!

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Sugar and Spite | A Review

Hi everyone! Today I’ll be reviewing Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva. I hope you enjoy!

Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva

Can a bully be defeated by a magical love potion?

Jolina can’t take Claudine’s bullying any longer! The taunts and teasing are too much. Though Jolina knows she’s still in training to use her grandfather’s arbularyo magic, she sneaks into his potions lab to get her revenge. Jolina brews a batch of gayuma, a powerful love potion. And it works. The love potion conquers Claudine’s hateful nature. In fact, Claudine doesn’t just stop bullying Jolina — now she wants to be Jolina’s BFF, and does everything and anything Jolina asks. But magic comes with a cost, and bad intentions beget bad returns. Controlling another person’s ability to love — or hate — will certainly have consequences. The magic demands payment, and it is about to come for Jolina in the form of a powerful storm…

First let’s talk about the plot. Sugar and Spite promises a magical enemies-to-friends story. And well, I’m happy to say that it delivered! Young readers will find this short and sweet novel both immersive, and exciting. 

Furthermore, the characters were very three dimensional! In many cases, I’ve found that middle grade protagonists don’t have much personality. Thankfully, Jolina and Claudine were very intriguing characters. The side characters also added quite the amount of liveliness to the story too. Jolina’s relationship with her grandfather was absolutely adorable!

In addition, I really liked how the dialogue was done. Many Fillipino phrases and words were used, which is great as it allows people to understand more about The Philippines. Moreover, the character interactions also felt very authentic and real.

“Your being brown doesn’t make you ugly. Mom always says we’re beautiful.”

― Gail D. Villanueva, Sugar and Spite

Unfortunately though, I didn’t love the writing. At times, the storyline became too confusing. The world building was done poorly as well. The only things the audience knows about the magic system is that it aids people, and that it’s passed down by generation. (I’m not entirely sure though, so please take what I said with a grain of salt.) However, I loved the talk about colorism and classism. The book promotes the idea that no one should be discriminated against, regardless of socioeconomic status, or race. And I think that’s such a beautiful message!

Overall, I really enjoyed Sugar and Spite! It’s educational and exciting. Younger kids will surely enjoy this story to the fullest!

Age Rating: 8 and up

TW: Natural disaster, bullying

Final Rating: 7/10, or 3.5 stars

⭐⭐⭐

What is your favorite Middle Grade novel? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Have a fabulous day!

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July Wrap-Up

Hiya! Before we start I just want to say that I’m so sorry for the month long hiatus. I’ve been very busy lately. Nevertheless, I am back and ready to delve into the book blogging world once more!

Novels I Read

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon: 4.5 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐⭐) I really loved this one! It was beautifully written, and was a lovely introduction to Nicola Yoon’s books. Review to come!

Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva: 3.5 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐) This was the perfect summer read. Review to come!

Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee: 4 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐⭐) Unfortunately, my expectations were too high. Nevertheless, it was still a good story! Review to come.

(ARC) Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the World by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: 4.75 out of 5 stars. (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) I adored the book! But the ending was not for me. Review to come!

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera: 4.25 out of 5 stars. (⭐⭐⭐⭐) Obviously, this was sad. However, I didn’t cry as much as I expected myself too?? In my humble opinion, it’s a teensy bit overhyped. Review to come!

Graphic Novels and Manga read

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Ostertag: 3.5 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐) I really enjoyed reading this! Unfortunately though, it didn’t stand out all that much. You can read my full review here!

The Promised Neverland Volume 19 by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu: 4.5 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐⭐) This volume had a lot of plot twists, some of which didn’t make much sense to me. Nevertheless, I’m very excited for the final volume!

The Delinquent Housewife! Volume 1 by Nemu Yoko: 3.25 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐) I had high expectations for this series, but the jokes weren’t that funny to me.

Levius/est Volume 1 by Haruhisa Nakata: 3.25 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐) I picked this one up on a whim. While I didn’t love it, the story was quite interesting. I recommend Levius/est to sci fi fans!

Paper Girls Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan: 3.5 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐) This was…interesting.

Pink Is for Boys by Robb Pearlman and Eda Kaban: 4.25 out of 5 stars (⭐⭐⭐⭐) This was such a cute picture book!

Total Number Of Books Read: 11

Total Number Of Posts Published: 2

Average Rating: 7/10 or 3.5 out of 5 stars

First, let’s recap! Last month I said I’d read two netgalley ARCs, and read 10 novels. Unfortunately though, that didn’t happen. I read five novels, and only one ARC. Reading slumps happen! And that’s totally okay! I think it’s better that I took a break and just read at my own pace. :))

Some of my goals for August include…

  • Finish two netgalley ARCs
  • Read 4 novels

And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed reading about my July in books. I’d love to know about yours too! If you’d like, you can read last month’s wrap up here. Have a fabulous day!

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Scritch Scratch | A Review

Hey everyone! I hope you are well. Today I’ll be reviewing Stritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie. I must say, this one scared me quite a bit. Yes, yes, I’m a scaredy cat. We’ve established that by now. 😆 Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

Scritch Scratch: Currie, Lindsay: 0760789294242: Books - Amazon.ca

(Synopsis from goodreads)

Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone.
Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.
Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late. 

Deliciously eerie and mysterious, Lindsay Currie brings us a story all thriller fans will adore! The plot hooked me right from the beginning, and kept my attention till the end! Scritch Scratch is fast-paced and gripping, so it’s definitely the perfect read to get out of a slump.

Furthermore, the characters were not that interesting. Although I respect the author’s ability to create semi-realistic kids without throwing in a gazillion references, I did not feel any connection to the characters. None of them were annoying per se, they were just lacking in development. Fortunately, the main character’s parents were very well developed. They each had their own unique personalities. The MC’s dad is a ghost story author, and runs his own spooky tour bus company. While their mom runs a baking business. How cool is that?!

“Love Ms. Mancini. She’s the only teacher I have who wouldn’t shame a student for falling asleep in class. I think she remembers what it was like to be in seventh grade and that’s what makes her so good at her job.”
― Lindsay Currie, Scritch Scratch

In addition, the dialogue fell short on personality. Most of it was trope-y, and uneventful. However, it’s the writing that really grabbed me.

Man oh man does Lindsay Currie know how to write a chilling story! I was very frightened, yet so intrigued throughout the book. What I found interesting, was that the writing was not very descriptive. This fascinated me as typically thrillers are quite descriptive. Luckily, this didn’t have a negative affect.

The overall enjoyment level of Scritch Scratch is very high. If you’re looking for a thrilling story with a wonderful message about friendship, and never forgetting those who came before us, then this is definitely the novel for you!

Age Rating: 10 and up

TW: Some scenes might scare younger children, lots of talk of a drowning accident, talk of abandonment

Final Rating: 7.5/10 or 3.75 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

What’s your favorite thriller? I’d love to know. Have a lovely day, and thank you for reading!

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April Wrap-Up

Hiya! Today I’ll be talking about the books I read in April! I’m actually quite happy with this month’s results. I read more books in this month than I have ever read in any month before! Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

Novels I Read

Rogue Princess by B. R. Myers: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) This was a gripping Cinderella retelling that also had a lot of sci-fi elements. Read my full review here!

(ARC) Made In Korea by Sarah Suk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars) I adored this!! Made In Korea is essentially a book about rival high school businesses but make it K-Beauty, and it was so much fun. 😆 I buddy read this one with Rania and Ritz. Do check out their blogs as well! Read my review here, and my interview with the author here!

Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Jackson: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.25 out of 5 stars) I read this one in two days! It was so intriguing! Yesterday Is History is a touching and quick read on time travel and love. Read my review here!

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A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was my first middle grade read of the year, and it did not disappoint! The premise is incredibly unique too. Review to come!

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(ARC) The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.75 out of 5 stars) This was a sweet coming of age about dance and musicals. Check out my review here, and my interview with the author here!

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Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) This was a chilling middle grade novel about a ghost that follows a girl home. Review to come!

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Graphic Novels and Manga read

Blue Lock Volumes 1-11 by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Yuusuke Nomura: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 out of 5 stars) I may or may not have binged this series. It was THAT good. I don’t think I’ve ever read something so interesting! I can’t recommend it enough.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is add-to-goodreads-1-1.png

Shortcake Cake Volumes 3-6 by Suu Morishita: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) This was just okay. The art is incredibly stunning, but I have major issues with a lot of things in the series.

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Ao Haru Ride Volumes 12-13 by Io Sakisaka: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.75 out of 5 stars) Only one more volume left! It feels so bittersweet, but I’m glad I enjoyed the series.

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The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 out of 5 stars) I didn’t like the Prince much, but it was still a cute story nonetheless.

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Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: ⭐⭐⭐ (3 out of 5 stars) This was just okay. I didn’t love the art style, and the ending felt rushed.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is add-to-goodreads-1-1.png

(ARC) Star⇄Crossed!! Volume 1 by Junko: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.5 out of 5 stars) This was a fun and light hearted manga on switching bodies with a J-Pop idol.

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Eyes That Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho and Dung Ho: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4.5 out of 5 stars) This was so adorable!! I loved it! You can read my full review here!

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Total Number Of Books Read: 30 (A new record!)

Total Number Of Posts Published: 7

Average Rating: 7.2/10 or 3.7 out of 5 stars

First, let’s recap! Last month I said I’d read three novels and post some of the things I was tagged to try. Luckily, I read five novels!! However, I only posted one tag. I don’t mind though. 🙂

Some of my goals for May include…

  • Finish all netgalley ARCs
  • Read five novels
  • Drink lots of water

And that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed reading about my April in books, I’d love to read about yours too! Have a lovely day!

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Thanks A Lot, Universe | An ARC Review

Hey everyone! I hope you’re all doing spectacularly! Here is my review for Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas. Thank you Netgalley and ABRAM Kids for providing me with an eARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Without further ado, here is the review!

Thanks a Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas

(The synopsis provided is from goodreads.)

Brian has always been anxious, whether at home, or in class, or on the basketball court. His dad tries to get him to stand up for himself and his mom helps as much as she can, but after he and his brother are placed in foster care, Brian starts having panic attacks. And he doesn’t know if things will ever be “normal” again . . . Ezra’s always been popular. He’s friends with most of the kids on his basketball team—even Brian, who usually keeps to himself. But now, some of his friends have been acting differently, and Brian seems to be pulling away. Ezra wants to help, but he worries if he’s too nice to Brian, his friends will realize that he has a crush on him . . .
But when Brian and his brother run away, Ezra has no choice but to take the leap and reach out. Both boys have to decide if they’re willing to risk sharing parts of themselves they’d rather hide. But if they can be brave, they might just find the best in themselves—and each other.

Before I get into the review, I would just like to mention how absolutely stunning the cover is. Just look at this beauty!

First let’s talk about the plot. It seemed like an average middle school coming of age. You’ve got the bullies, the awkward and quiet kid, and that one parent who loves sports. With that said, I’m happy to report that the plot was executed in a very intriguing and unique fashion. It tackled issues that I haven’t encountered all that much in other middle grade novels. My only complaint is that I feel as though the synopsis made me assume that Brian and Ezra would help each other out more than they actually did. Fortunately though, it was something pretty easy to overlook.

The main characters, thirteen year old Brian and Ezra, where so lovable! They were such interesting characters! Brian is socially awkward and has a hard time talking to the ‘popular kids.’ When I was their age, I could totally relate! Ezra was such a cool character! He loves old music, told hilarious jokes, and had great fashion sense! The only thing I found to be a little infuriating was when Brian talked so much about having trouble speaking to people, but then a couple pages later he swears at a teacher. I felt as though he went from zero to a hundred a bit too quickly. His parents also talked about how he was such a responsible kid, even though some of his actions in the book were rather questionable. Then again, I can only imagine how hard it is to be in the foster care system. My heart goes out to all of the children in these systems. Overall, our main characters are put into such heartbreaking situations that I was happy to see represented in a middle grade novel.

The side characters where also very diverse and intriguing. Thanks A Lot, Universe gave adults diverse narratives, and it really worked well in the story. It was also interesting to see Ezra lose touch with his supposed best friend. Friendship was widely explored throughout the book, and I absolutely adored that aspect of it! Moreover, I liked how although there are a lot of side characters, each character plays a significant role in Brian’s life. Whether it be positive, negative, or neutral. My only complaint is that the police officer associated with Brian wasn’t talked about that much, and we never really got to know his true intentions.

Furthermore, the dialogue was a lovely mix of lighthearted and serious. Brian’s conversations with his dad, Katie, and the police officer, seemed rather mysterious. While the conversations he had with Gabe, Brittany, his teacher, and Ezra, seemed more lighthearted. In addition, it was interesting to see how Brian explained their family situation to his little brother. Overall, the dialogue in Thanks A Lot, Universe was superb!

Unfortunately, the writing style felt repetitive at times, which was a bit of a turn off. At certain times in the story, the pacing escalated and de-escalated very quickly. For example, sometimes Brian’s mindset would change from I-am-so-shy-and-responsible to edgy-bad-boy-has-been-unlocked in almost an instant. However, as mentioned in my A Song Below Water review, I love when books have no swearing in them. There’s just something so refreshing about books like this one. I also liked how there wasn’t necessarily any romance. The main characters aren’t even fourteen yet, so it makes sense for there not be any romance. One aspect of the book that I really enjoyed reading about was the setting! It takes place in (I believe) Nova Scotia, which is a maritime province in Canada. It was very fascinating to read about a place I’ve never been to before.

The overall enjoyment level of Thanks A Lot, Universe is very high. The plot was gripping, the characters are intriguing, and the story is fast paced. Must I say more?

Age Rating: 11 and up

TW: bullying, displacement of homes, running away, some violence

Final Rating: 8/10 or 4 stars

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What is your favorite coming of age novel? Let me know in the comments down below! Have a wonderful day!

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Author Interview With Francesca Burke

Hiya everyone! Today I am here with a special treat; An author interview! I am super excited to be introducing the lovely Francesca Burke who is here with me today to answer some questions about life as an author. I hope you enjoy!

First let’s talk about Burke’s newest novel; The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes. Here’s a quick synopsis!

Princess Amelia’s home, the Kingdom of Mirrors, is on its knees, ravaged by the cantankerous Sapphire Dragon. She must find a way to rid her country of its unwelcome guest and work out how to restore its fortunes before her parents marry her off to clear the kingdom’s debts. Prince Richard of the Valley of Dreams knows he’s not very heroic… he’d rather read about quests than actually go on one. But when he finds himself travelling to a haunted tower, he discovers a treacherous conspiracy that could rip the Three Kingdoms apart… and learns there might be some heroism tucked up his sleeve after all. Esme Delacroix is a psychic living in Stormhaven, the only part of the Three Kingdoms where magic is taboo. A terrifying vision sends Esme and her friend Violet on a perilous quest that shakes Stormhaven and the Three Kingdoms to its core.

Without further ado, let’s get right into the interview!

1. Was there anything that inspired the making of The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes? If so, what inspired it?

Ms. Burke: Yes! I wanted to write the sort of fairy tale I wish I had read as a child/teen. Something with all the magical elements and questing, but with fewer irritating princes and helpless princesses.

Saniya: I totally agree!

2. If you could give your past writer self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Ms. Burke: Learn to plan! Or at least try to know where your story’s going before you start. It’s going to make the editing process so much easier.

Saniya: That’s a great point! Effective planning is really important, regardless of if it’s for writing or not.

3. Did you always want to be a writer? Or did you have something else in mind?

Ms. Burke: I think I wanted to be a pilot when I was very small! I sort of fell into writing when I was 12 or so, and I’ve been doing it ever since (I’m 25 now), so I think I’ve wanted to do it and been doing it for long enough that I can’t really remember a time when it wasn’t part of my life.

Saniya: That’s very cool!

4. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Ms. Burke: Is that… is that…do people do things other than write? Just kidding. I like to read, obviously, and I like walking, which is good because there’s not a lot else to do at the moment… I have a blog, Indifferent Ignorance, where I chat about books and writing and sometimes more intense things like politics. It’s kind of part of my writing work but doesn’t really earn any money, so I think it counts as a hobby. Or I hope it does, I really don’t do much else. Let’s blame the pandemic for that, and not my being an introvert.

Saniya: Reading and walking are wonderful things to do!

5. Do you have a specific writing routine? Is there a certain time of day that you write the most?

Ms. Burke: I yo-yo between a strict routine and no routine. I work best when the rest of the world’s still asleep, and my general routine fluctuates with the seasons, so in the summer I’m usually up early and working away at 7am. Left to my own devices, I do nothing between about midday and early afternoon, and then I work in the evenings. This is not conducive to being a student or having a job, I should add. Why does no one in the UK take a siesta?! Anyway, in the winter I’m in hibernation mode so I do write in the morning and evenings, but more in the evenings.

Saniya: I can totally understand how your routine would fluctuate depending on the season you’re in!

6. What is the main message you would like your readers to take away from The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories?

Ms. Burke: That evening dresses should always come with pockets. There are other, more serious, ‘messages’ in the novel, but telling you any of them would be a GIANT SPOILER so you’ll just have to read it to find out!

Saniya: All dresses should come with pockets!!! Well there you have it folks, now you just have to read Francesca Burke’s newest novel!

Alrighty~ That’s a wrap! I hope you all enjoyed the interview! Here is some information about Ms. Burke!

Journey To The Center Of The Earth | A Review

Hi everyone! Today I bring you the long awaited review of ‘Journey To The Center Of The Earth’ by Jules Verne. After six long months, I finally finished it! I didn’t DNF it, I just got carried away into other books. (And that’s on reading 4 books at the same time.) For those of you who don’t know, this novel is a 295 page classical adventure that takes place in, for the most part, Iceland, England, and the center of the earth.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne - Penguin Books New  Zealand

When German professor Otto Lidenbrock stumbles upon a mysterious, ancient manuscript, it’s the first step in an epic adventure-one which will take him to the planet’s very core! Lidenbrock, together with his nephew Axel and Icelandic guide Hans, mounts an expedition downward through the layers of the Earth, coming face-to-face with strange creatures, overcoming terrific obstacles, and discovering truly wondrous sights.

First, let’s talk about the initial premise of the story. A journey into the earth sounds exciting and fun! I for one have never heard of such a unique plot, so I was rather intrigued to see how it would turn out! However, the plot execution is where the novel falls a bit short. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely did enjoy reading this classic, but the ending is what really bummed me out. The story had so much potential to grow! There were so many amazing species they talked about, and even saw, but never really discovered. Then again, there is only so much you can do in 295 pages. So overall, the plot execution was just okay. Not incredible, but considering the fact that this was most likely THE FIRST adventure novel out there at the time, I’ll give Mr. Verne a pass.

The characters where actually really interesting. First we have Professor Lidenbrock, who is absolutely hilarious. The novel is told through the eyes of Axel, the professor’s nephew. His sarcastic and rational reactions to his Uncle’s outgoing and determined behavior keeps the story lively and interesting. Hans, their Icelandic assistant, literally saves their butts ten times in row, and it gets even funnier every time. Overall, the characters were simple, yet well-crafted. Not to mention that despite being published in the early 1860s, there were no sexist or racist remarks made by the author in the novel! That pushed me to give this book an immediate extra star.

“Is the Master out of his mind?’ she asked me.
I nodded.
‘And he’s taking you with him?’
I nodded again.
‘Where?’ she asked.
I pointed towards the center of the earth.
‘Into the cellar?’ exclaimed the old servant.
‘No,’ I said, ‘farther down than that.”

― Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth

The dialogue was absolutely hilarious! I never ever got tired of it. The language was so easy to understand, yet it was very descriptive. Speaking of descriptive, Journey To The Center Of The Earth had me playing a literal movie in my head. It was so descriptive, but in a great way! You also learn A LOT about geology and science. However, due to the stressful situations the characters go through, it isn’t nearly as boring as reading a high school geology textbook. (No offense.)

The writing style was surprisingly simple yet energetic. It was quite easy to understand. So if classics intimidate you due to their formal and hard-to-understand nature, this book is a wonderful place to start!

I must say, I really did enjoy Journey To The Center Of The Earth. In my 2021 Winter TBR Post, I talked about how I’ve been reading this book for a while now. The reason behind that is because adventure is simply not my style. I love realistic fiction and contemporary, so that’s why I decided to take a break from the novel for a while. Nevertheless, it was an incredibly spontaneous read, and I highly recommend it to anyone eager to read a good classic novel. If classical reads aren’t your style, this is the story that will hopefully get you out of your comfort zone! (In a good way of course.)

Journey To The Center Of The Earth is a charming classic that everyone should read!

Age Rating: 10 and up

Final Rating: 8/10 or 4.5 stars

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you read Journey To The Center Of The Earth? If not, what do you think of classical novels? Let me know in the comments down below! Take care and have a fabulous day everyone!

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