Review: Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason June

Review: Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason JuneJay's Gay Agenda by Jason June
Series: Jay's Gay Agenda #1
Published by HarperTeen on June 1, 2021
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon

There's one thing Jay Collier knows for sure—he's a statistical anomaly as the only out gay kid in his small rural Washington town. While all this friends can't stop talking about their heterosexual hookups and relationships, Jay can only dream of his own firsts, compiling a romance to-do list of all the things he hopes to one day experience—his Gay Agenda.

Then, against all odds, Jay's family moves to Seattle and he starts his senior year at a new high school with a thriving LGBTQIA+ community. For the first time ever, Jay feels like he's found where he truly belongs, where he can flirt with Very Sexy Boys and search for love. But as Jay begins crossing items off his list, he'll soon be torn between his heart and his hormones, his old friends and his new ones...because after all, life and love don't always go according to plan.

From debut novelist Jason June comes a moving and hilarious sex-positive story about the complexities of first loves, first hookups, and first heartbreaks—and how to stay true to yourself while embracing what you never saw coming.

Oh my gosh, I don’t even know if I can properly put into words how adorable this book was. The characters were incredible, the plot was amazing. The story was so relatable. I just… It was such a fun, fluffy, emotional read. I laughed out loud so many times, I lost count. There were hilarious moments. There were awkward moments. There were “oh shit” moments. It was so realistic, so well-paced, so well-handled. The character development and growth throughout the story was perfection.

I highly, highly recommend this book for fans of growing-up narratives, as well as for fans of Becky Albertalli and fun, fluffy rom-coms with HEAs.

And… Yeah. Short review, I know. But I think this book really speaks for itself. Just go buy it ASAP and read it ASAP, and also get hyped for Jason June’s next book, Out of the Blue (coming May 31, 2022) because IT’S QUEER AND IT HAS MERMAIDS. Also, Jay’s Gay Agenda apparently has a book two??? NEED!



Review: The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley

Review: The Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin TalleyThe Love Curse of Melody McIntyre by Robin Talley
Published by HarperTeen on December 1, 2020
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover

Perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Nina LaCour, this #ownvoices romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Robin Talley has something for everyone: backstage rendezvous, deadly props, and a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to True Love.

Melody McIntyre, stage manager extraordinaire, has a plan for everything.

What she doesn’t have? Success with love. Every time she falls for someone during a school performance, both the romance and the show end in catastrophe. So, Mel swears off any entanglements until their upcoming production of Les Mis is over.

Of course, Mel didn’t count on Odile Rose, rising star in the acting world, auditioning for the spring performance. And she definitely didn’t expect Odile to be sweet and funny, and care as much about the play’s success as Mel.

Which means that Melody McIntyre’s only plan now is trying desperately not to fall in love.

I don’t even know where to start with this review. This book was just… an absolute roller coaster of a read. I laughed. I cried. I got angry. Sometimes all during the same scene.

First of all, I obviously loved the fact that this centered around musical theatre. The Dear Evan Hansen references! The Legally Blonde the Musical references! Just so, so, SO fun. Also, I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but I loved how almost all the characters names could be seen as references to broadway actors/characters. Maybe I was just seeing things that weren’t there, but.. Evan Newton? Evan Hansen and Olivia Newton John? Dominic Connor? Connor Murphy? Anyway, maybe that was just my broadway-obsessed mind getting the best of me, but it was still fun to think about, hehe.

I both loved Mel and was incredibly exasperated with her all at once, but she was also a very relatable character. She had so much character growth by the end of the story, and I was so happy for how her story ended. I also loved Odile – who gave me serious Serena van der Woodsen vibes. Am I the only one who saw it? I really loved Mel and Odile’s relationship and how real it felt.

I adored Gabby and Dom, as well, though I would have liked to see a little more of Mel and Dom’s friendship.

Even though I gave this book a 4.5, there were definitely a few things that bugged me. First of all, the slut shaming. I don’t even need to explain why. That should be obvious. The slut shaming was just absolutely gross. I think the worst offenders involved in this were Nick and Jasmin. I grudgingly admit that they had some redemption near the end, but I still don’t forgive them. Related to that, my other issue with this book was how horrible Mel’s friends were to her. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve encountered a friend group as bad as this since I read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I honestly can’t decide who had worse friends – Mel or Simon.

Other than that, I really loved this book. I loved the way everyone came together by the end of it to put on the best damn show they could. I loved the character growth. I loved the broadway references. And I loved how much it made me feel. Whether I was grinning like an idiot at it or glaring viciously at it, this book made me feel SO many feels.

Overall, I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book and HIGHLY recommend it for fans of broadway musicals and delightful rom-coms.


Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam SilveraWhat If It's Us by Adam Silvera, Becky Albertalli
Series: What If It's Us #1
Published by HarperTeen on October 9, 2018
Pages: 437
Format: Hardcover

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

This book has been on my TBR for a VERY long time. It was also the first book I read in almost a year – and I can’t express how happy I am that this was the first book I decided to read. It was fun, cute, fluffy and a little bit angsty. It’s by one of my favorite authors – Becky Albertalli – and it made me even more excited to read more of Adam Silvera’s books.

First of all, the Dear Evan Hansen references. Oh my god!!! If you read my newest On Meredith’s Mind post, you’ll know that I’ve been obsessed with Dear Evan Hansen for over a year now. So that, right off the bat, was one of the main reasons I wanted to read it. And it definitely did not disappoint! All the DEH and broadway references made me so happy!

Also, Arthur!! I adored Arthur to pieces. He was so relatable and adorable and anxious and Jewish and I just wanted to hug him. I loved him and being in his head. His relationship with Ben was adorable and felt so realistic. I loved the series of awkward dates. The “getting to know you” phase of a relationship can be SO awkward, and it’s a nice change from all the perfect fairytale dates that Hollywood always plays up. That’s not always reality and it was nice to see that acknowledged.

I also loved Ben and Dylan’s bromance. It was hilarious and adorable.

This book was also super quotable. Some of my favorites were:

“Box Boy dates guys. I’M A GUY.”

“I need to ship myself with me for a bit.”

“Speaking from the dick was never a logical step.”

My only issue with this book was the ending, but it definitely didn’t ruin the book for me, or lower my overall rating. I still loved the book with my entire heart. Knowing there’s a sequel also helped quell my disappointment. Waiting until October is going to be torturous, but I’m so so so excited for the sequel!!!

Overall, I LOVED LOVED LOVED this book and HIGHLY recommend it for fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, as well as for fans of rom-coms and broadway musicals.


Review: My Plain Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: My Plain Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi MeadowsMy Plain Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows
Series: The Lady Janies #2
Published by HarperTeen on June 26, 2018
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

You may think you know the story. After a miserable childhood, penniless orphan Jane Eyre embarks on a new life as a governess at Thornfield Hall. There, she meets one dark, brooding Mr. Rochester. Despite their significant age gap (!) and his uneven temper (!!), they fall in love—and, Reader, she marries him. (!!!)

Or does she?

Prepare for an adventure of Gothic proportions, in which all is not as it seems, a certain gentleman is hiding more than skeletons in his closets, and one orphan Jane Eyre, aspiring author Charlotte Brontë, and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood are about to be drawn together on the most epic ghost hunt this side of Wuthering Heights.

I went into this expecting to love it because I ADORED My Lady Jane. I expected the same level of hilarious snark, character development and plot. Also, GHOSTS!!!! And I DID actually enjoy reading Jane Eyre in high school, so there’s that, as well. Sadly, this book hardcore let me down and broke my heart because it was just.. meh. The plot was just okay, and the pacing was super slow and (I hate to say this, but it’s true) boring. And the characters were just okay. It had its moments, but overall, it was just… meh.

I’ll start with some positive things, because there were some. And I like to focus on the positive in every book. There were definitely some hilarious moments. For example:

“…young women of this time period felt faint regularly. Because corsets.”

-US Hardcover, Page 11


“…you’re suddenly Mr. Rochester.”

“It’s not sudden for me… it’s been coming on for quite some time.”

-US Hardcover, Page 81

I loved that Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre were BFFs. It felt oddly appropriate and led to some hilarious moments. I also loved that Jane’s best friend is a ghost. Again, it felt oddly appropriate, though I can’t explain why.

The chapters with Charlotte, Bran and Alexander were HIGHLY entertaining. Definitely my favorite parts of the story. I loved the tension between Charlotte and Alexander, and poor bumbling Bram was so clueless, but so sweet and so adorable! In contrast, the chapters with Jane and Rochester were… boring. Again, I HATE using that word but… I just can’t help it with this book. I’m just so disappointed and sad right now.

Another positive? WUTHERING HEIGHTS AND HARRY POTTER REFERENCES, FOR THE WIN!!!!!!!! The HP one, in particular, was hilarious and epic and wonderful and HOGWARTS IS HOME AND HARRY POTTER IS LIFE. *Clears throat.* Sorry, moving on… I also think there MIGHT have been a My Lady Jane reference near the end… maybe? Was that just me…?

The whole concept of the Society and what it did was incredible. The fact that someone corrupted its beliefs and values wasn’t surprising. I just feel like there was SO MUCH that could have been done with that storyline. I was SO EXCITED for GHOSTS and it just.. I mean, there WERE ghosts and they were central to the plot (i.e: Helen). But… I don’t know.. I really can’t explain what’s bothering me, I just wanted more, I guess…

Anyway, I don’t want to drag this review out too much, so I’ll stop here. If you liked My Lady Jane, you might still enjoy My Plain Jane. Also, if you’re a fan of Jane Eyre, you might enjoy this. Finally, if you’re a fan of one or all of the authors (Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows), I say give it a try. What I didn’t enjoy, you might love.


Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: One Dark Throne by Kendare BlakeOne Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns #2
Published by HarperTeen on September 19, 2017
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

The battle for the crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, the elemental sister once thought to be the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must confront the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

Three Dark Crowns (book one in this series) was one of my favorite books in 2016. It was dark and delicious, and helped get me (temporarily) get out of a reading slump. While I still enjoyed One Dark Throne (as evidenced by the 4-star rating), it wasn’t as epic as Three Dark Crowns, and I was just a bit disappointed with how certain things ended.

First of all, apparently this is now a 4-book series? When originally it was a duology? I mean… I LOVED book one, but this doesn’t need to be a 4-book series. One Dark Throne was way too long and started to feel dragged out around page 300. After 300 pages, I was restless and bored, and just wanted to see how the story would end. But lo and behold, at the end of 464 pages, I still didn’t know how the story ended because it’s NOT ENDING YET. I have to get through two more books for that. Maybe I can chalk this up to “Second Book Syndrome,” since it’s now technically the second book. I’m still excited for book three, and can’t wait to see what happens next; however, I really wish this could be wrapped up in book three – I really don’t think it needs two more whole books to wrap up…

…Yet, at the same time? All I’ve thought about for the last week is being back in this world. I keep thinking “Gee, I want to go home and read Three Dark Crowns/One Dark Throne” – and then I realize I can’t because I finished them. So… Clearly I’m obsessed with these books and this world.

In Three Dark Crowns, Katharine was my favorite of the sisters. In One Dark Throne, Katharine was wicked and a little bit scary. I was very intrigued by what happened to her, and I was dying to see what would come of it. I’m a little surprised by the way her story ended, though, and I’m upset there wasn’t more resolution (due to the 4-book series thing). As intrigued as I was, though, Katharine wasn’t my favorite in this book…

…Mirabella was! I found her chapters the most compelling, and I found the elemental power most intriguing of the three. I really loved her character development and the way her story ended, and I can’t wait to see what happens next for her.

And, as was the case with the first book, Arsinoe was my least favorite. I’m intrigued by the revelation from book one, and it was interesting to see how that played out in this book. But I just wasn’t interested in her as a character at all. The only good thing about her chapters was Jules and Camden. Jules is still my absolute favorite character, and I really really REALLY want her to get her own book!

Despite the book lagging around page 300, the ending was epic and incredible and suspenseful and things happened that I didn’t see coming. Again, I’m still VERY excited for book three, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. If I’m right about this book having “second book syndrome,” then I have a feeling book three will be a wild ride!

I definitely still recommend this book to those who loved the first book, and those who are Kendare Blake fans. It wasn’t as epic as Three Dark Crowns, but it was still a fun read.


Review: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon ThomasLong May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
Published by HarperTeen on February 21, 2017
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

I was really excited when I first heard about this book, but also nervous. I was excited because I LOVED the title and cover (GORGEOUS, GORGEOUS cover) and the plot sounded beyond intriguing. I was nervous because I read A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas back in 2015 and it was a disaster – I didn’t connect with the characters, I was bored by the plot and I felt let down by the ending and the surprise sequel, which I did not read. But I’m all for giving authors a second chance, if their new book sounds epic. And in this case, I’m so, so glad I did! This book wasn’t without it’s issues, but it was overall an enjoyable read and a HUGE improvement from A Wicked Thing.

First of all, can we talk about the fact that this book is a YA fantasy stand-alone?? How often does THAT happen?? It’s a nice break from all the fantasy trilogies and series out there. But after reaching the end of the book, I must say.. I actually wish there WAS going to be a sequel. This first book was basically all about securing Freya’s reign and finding the murderer. But now that the murderer has been dealt with, I’d love to see Freya’s ACTUAL reign, see what kind of a queen she’ll be. I still have a lot of questions that I want answered!

Freya herself was epic and incredibly relatable. She was a bit timid in the beginning and maybe even a bit of a puppet for her advisors – but only until she regained her footing, made some allies and really had a chance to let everything that had happened sink in. I mean, I don’t blame her for her confusion in the beginning – she was twenty third in line to the throne! She never imagined she’d be queen! It was a LOT to take in. But once she accepted her fate, she really began to bloom. This is VERY specific, but in my opinion, you see a clear and obvious change in Freya on page 342. At that point, you can truly see that she has grown into a more confident woman who knows what kind of queen she wants to be. At the same time, she did make some rash decisions that could have had severe consequences. But I think that was all part of the learning curve.

There were a LOT of secondary characters. I read the first 100 pages of this book really fast and then didn’t pick it up for two days (because life, not because of the book), and I actually had to go back to page one and skim 130+ pages to remind myself of who everyone was. But I don’t want to say that’s the fault of the book, necessarily. I think it was because of my reading situation.

I really liked Madeleine Wolff and William Fitzroy, but I had a very difficult time trusting them – along with Holt – for obvious reasons. I’m intrigued with the way all of their stories ended, though, and would love to see what happens to them next in a sequel.

Overall, I’m really, really happy I picked this up. Everything I couldn’t stand about A Wicked Thing was much improved in Long May She Reign. Thomas’s writing was SO much better and I liked the characters a LOT more. Though the book was still a bit long (in my opinion), it was a much faster read, with far better pacing, and it held my attention way more. I’m really glad I gave Rhiannon Thomas a second chance and I’m very excited to see what she does next.

I definitely recommend this to fantasy fans, especially if you love reading about royalty, intrigue and a good murder mystery!


Review: Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Blood of Wonderland by Colleen OakesBlood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes
Series: Queen of Hearts Saga #2
Published by HarperTeen on January 31, 2017
Pages: 336
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Dinah has been exiled from Wonderland. The vicious father she always feared has framed her for the brutal murder of her brother and turned the kingdom against her.

Now hiding in the lush and mysterious Twisted Wood with only her war steed at her side, Dinah is faced with a choice: leave Wonderland forever or stay and fight her father for the throne.

When a chance encounter with one of her father’s long-lost enemies brings Dinah more allies than she ever could have imagined, war starts to feel inevitable. But before Dinah can lead her people into combat, she must confront certain truths about her heart and her destiny—no matter how dark those truths may be.

Revolution is rising in Wonderland. Dinah’s battle has begun.

I absolutely loved Queen of Hearts, the first book in this trilogy. So it pains me to say that Blood of Wonderland was a bit of a let-down. Oakes’ writing is amazing and the imagery is lush and beautiful, and the story itself was a fast read; however, the first half was absolute filler/Second Book Syndrome.

Dinah was a great character in Queen of Hearts – fierce and fiery, if not a bit spoiled. Her character development in Blood of Wonderland, however, was amazing. She becomes very self-aware of the privileged life she had. She goes through a lot, learns a lot and comes out of it ready to fight for her crown in a war that could cost her everything.

I can’t say much about Wardley without spoilers. When we left him in Queen of Hearts, he was in a very precarious position and we don’t learn his fate for a very long time. All I’m going to say is this: What I said about him in my Queen of Hearts review was pretty much right on point.

As I mentioned in my review of Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat is an incredibly devious and self-serving character, someone you wanted to trust but knew you couldn’t. In Blood of Wonderland, he was… Well, I still don’t fully trust Cheshire, but I’m very intrigued by him. Also, WTH was with that revelation he dropped on Dinah?!?! I actually believe his story, but.. Whoa… I also don’t fully trust Gorrann but he’s very protective of Dinah and I like that. I WANT to trust them both, I just don’t know yet if I can.

I was totally intrigued by the depiction of the Caterpillar in this book. I can’t say too much without spoilers, but he was pretty intense and maybe a little crazy.. Possibly? Sort of..

One thing that concerned me was the depiction of the Yurkei tribes. I could be wrong, but it seemed they were supposed to be Native American-like in their style and behavior; however, it was done in a stereotypical way and could be viewed as problematic. Again, I could be wrong in my assumptions/evaluations of this, but I didn’t feel I could write a full, comprehensive review without mentioning this.

The ending was intense and curious. I’m definitely excited for book three. Since book two was mainly filler, I’m dying for some action and I think we’ll see a LOT of action in book three as the war comes to a head and the battle begins. To the Battlefield we go!


Review: My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi Meadows

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand and Jodi MeadowsMy Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows
Series: The Lady Janies #1
Published by HarperTeen on June 7, 2016
Pages: 494
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?

I finished this book ages ago and then fell into a reviewing slump. I’m FINALLY getting around to reviewing it now, but forgive me if I’ve forgotten some things and I’m not as eloquent as usual. I’ll do my best!

So… I waited WAY too long to read this book! I’m so sorry I didn’t read it when it first came out, because it was amazing. The history – though heavily fictionalized – was incredibly intriguing. The writing and dialogue were beyond perfect – never has a book made me laugh out loud as hard as this one! Though this was my first Jodi Meadows book, I’ve been a fan of Brodi Ashton and Cynthia Hand for a long time, so I knew it would be incredible just from being a fan of their previous books.

I’m normally very character-driven when I read, but I think I gave this book a bit more leeway in that department than normal because, while I loved the characters so much, I also felt a bit detached from them. Maybe because they’re real – if not slightly fictionalized – historical figures and it’s harder to get attached when you know – for the most part – their fates? I’m not 100% sure if that’s it or not, but I did still love the characters and I did still care about them and their fates.. Just in a bit more of a detached way.

If you’ve followed my blog and Twitter for awhile, you know one of my biggest current obsessions is Reign and Mary Queen of Scots. So, of course, her cameo was one of my absolute favorite things! Like, it was perfection. Of course, I completely pictured everyone at the French Court as their respective Reign characters, haha. But in all seriousness, I demand that Cynthia, Brodi and Jodi write a book about Mary Queen of Scots. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!!!!!! NEED NEED NEED!!!!!!!

This book was also hilarious. The dialogue, the jokes, the horse. Yes, the horse. No, I won’t elaborate. Except to share this quote:

“Was that a horse joke?”

If that doesn’t convince you to read this, nothing will.

The ending was incredibly satisfying. And I’ve since learned that Cynthia, Brodi and Jodi are going to write more books, My Plain Jane and My Calamity Jane, both of which I’m SUPER excited for! But if we got a Mary Queen of Scots story…. *Coughs* Just saying…

Anyway, I highly recommend this if you’re a fan of Cynthia, Brodi and/or Jodi and their previous books. I also highly recommend it to fans of historical/fictionalized historical books.


Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (Blog Tour)

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (Blog Tour)Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Published by HarperTeen on September 20, 2016
Pages: 416
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour her latest novel, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.


Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Hey everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (September 20, 2016 – HarperTeen) This book was an incredibly twisted, epic read that got me out of my months-long reading slump, so I’m really excited to be a part of this blog tour! I hope you enjoy my review!



It’s the best book I’ve read in a LONG time and it, more than anything else, has truly gotten me out of my reading slump. It was deliciously dark, intriguing and wonderful in every aspect and every way – the writing, the plot and the characters.

Katharine was my favorite of the three queens. She was said to be the smallest and ‘weakest’ of the three, but she was still fierce and strong-willed. There was something about her that made me want to root for her. For being small and weak, she’s definitely the most vicious of the three! And then the way her story ended… HOLY HELL!!!!! I can’t. My heart was in my throat!!! And then the final outcome? !!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to see what happens in book two!!!

Mirabella was a great, likable character. The elemental gift was the most intriguing to learn about, though the poisoner gift came at a close second. It was also intriguing the way she cared the most – though I can’t go into details without spoilers! I felt SO bad for her at the end, though! I’m curious to see how what happened changes her personality/attitude/etc in book two.

Arsinoe, on the other hand, was my least favorite character. I’m not sure exactly why, but I just wasn’t interested in learning more about her or her gift. Though I must say, that ending has me truly intrigued! I’m interested to see where it takes her in book two and what it means for another character, who I suspect will also be effected by this revelation…

There was one good thing about Arsinoe’s chapters, though: they brought with them Jules and Camden and I LOVED THEM – They should get their own book! Although my heart was in my throat for them near the end… I also really loved Elizabeth – poor Elizabeth!! She didn’t deserve what happened to her. On the flip-side, I DESPISED Genevieve – she was such a bully! – and Rho, who was a horrible, nasty person.

Overall, this book was seriously dark and twisted and epic in so many ways! The writing and world-building were so incredible, I don’t think I can put it into words. This is my first Kendare Blake book, despite owning several others by her, and I’m already obsessed with her skills. Definitely a new favorite author! I need to read more of her books ASAP!

If you’re looking for an epic, intense book to read, this is the one you should pick up! And if you’re already a fan of Kendare, this may end up being your favorite book she’s ever written (which is weird for me to say, since I haven’t read her others to know. But I’m 98% sure I’m right…)! So yes, I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend you read this ASAP, either way!!!


And now for the giveaway! Thanks to the publisher and tour host, we have 3 finished copies of THREE DARK CROWNS (US Only). To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below:

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kendare-blakeAbout the Author:
Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories, most of which you can find information about via the links above. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, Richard Linklater, and the late, great Michael Jackson, I mean, come on, he gave us Thriller.

She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their two cat sons (Tybalt and Tyrion Cattister) and their red Doberman dog son, Obi Dog Kenobi.

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Review: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Queen of Hearts by Colleen OakesQueen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
Series: Queen of Hearts Saga #1
Published by HarperTeen on May 3, 2016
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.

When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinahs furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath.

Familiar characters such as Cheshire, the White Rabbit, and the Mad Hatter make their appearance, enchanting readers with this new, dark take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

I absolutely loved this book! I would almost go as far as to say it was my favorite Alice in Wonderland retelling, even! The world was fascinating – dark yet whimsical – and I loved the depictions of the characters in this retelling! There was always a feeling of creepiness, of a lingering danger. I had a hard time putting the book down and when I did, I couldn’t stop thinking about it!

I really liked Dinah! She was fierce and fiery – and kind of scary (I mean, she is the future Queen of Hearts) – when she needed to be, but she was also really vulnerable. At her core, she’s a princess who’s eager to be a great ruler – to remembered and appreciated. It’s funny, even knowing this was a prequel story and knowing nothing truly bad could happen to Dinah, I still found myself constantly fearing for her and worrying over her safety. I’m really intrigued with the way her story ended and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Two of my favorite Alice in Wonderland characters are the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, so I always love seeing what an author will do with them in a retelling. And Queen of Hearts did NOT disappoint with either character. The Cheshire Cat was an incredibly devious and self-serving character, someone you wanted to trust but knew you couldn’t. I could easily picture that signature mischievous grin on the character Oakes described. As for the Mad Hatter in this retelling.. Whoa!!!! I seriously can’t go into details for fear of spoilers but… Holy crap, he’s by far my FAVORITE version of the Mad Hatter since Morpheus in Splintered.

The White Rabbit was another intriguing character. He had all the classic personality traits of the White Rabbit we all know and love from the classic, but he also had this caring, grandfatherly persona that made me really like him.

Personally, I never fully trusted Duchess Vittiore. Her story just never sat well with me. But I also don’t put all of that blame on her – I never liked or trusted the King of Hearts or Cheshire and I think they conspired together behind Duchess Vittiore’s back, as well as Dinah’s. Also, Duchess Vittiore’s description was suspiciously similar to that of Alice Liddell.. Curiouser and curiouser…

While I liked Wardley, I never really felt/believed the connection between him and Dinah. I saw them more as just friends. Given more time, I can see that friendship growing into a relationship, but as of the end of the story, I’m not yet convinced. I do appreciate Wardley’s protectiveness over Dinah and his steadfast loyalty.

The Towers were creepy A.F.!!! They reminded me of Azkaban.. But actually maybe worse? There are basically two types of retellings when it comes to Alice in Wonderland… 1) Whimsical 2) Dark and Twisted. And Queen of Hearts DEFINITELY fell into the second category, especially with the introduction of The Towers!

The ending of this book was INSANITY. The twists and unexpected revelations completely threw me. A couple of things were definitely hinted at, but I still didn’t expect them to end quite the way they did. I’m seriously so excited (and impatient) for the second book that I’m actually tempted to find the UK version of it…. *Tiptoes to Amazon….* Just kidding! …Sort of…

If you’re a fan of retellings and, particularly, Alice in Wonderland retellings, I HIGHLY recommend this book. Such an epic read! Not only am I super excited for the second book in this trilogy, but I’m definitely putting Colleen Oakes on my auto-buy author list! I can’t wait to see what else she writes in the future!


“Wonderland is a much darker and more twisted place than you imagine.”
-Cheshire to Dinah, page 29
(Quote taken from ARC. Page numbers/exact wording subject to change in first edition)