Review: Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories by Sarah Lerner (Editor) – (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: Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories by Sarah Lerner (Editor) – (Blog Tour)Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories by Sarah Lerner
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on January 22, 2019
Pages: 192
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Featuring art and writing from the students of the Parkland tragedy, this is a raw look at the events of February 14, and a poignant representation of grief, healing, and hope.

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School share their emotional journeys that began on February 14, 2018, and continue today. This revealing and unfiltered look at teens living in the wake of tragedy is a poignant representation of grief, anger, determination, healing, and hope.

The intimate collection includes poetry, eyewitness accounts, letters, speeches, journal entries, drawings, and photographs from the events of February 14 and its aftermath. Full of heartbreaking loss, a rally cry for change, and hope for a safe future, these artistic pieces will inspire readers to reflect on their own lives and the importance of valuing and protecting the ones you love.

TRIGGER WARNING: This book is about a school shooting, and everything that entails – guns, death, PTSD, anciety, depression, etc. Please be cautious in reading this review if those things are a trigger for you.


I’m not going to use my usual “Hey, everyone! I’m SO excited to be on the blog tour for….” intro for this post, because I can’t say I’m excited to be on a blog tour for a book about a school shooting. I don’t know if “humbled” is the right word, either. Honestly, I don’t know what word to use. But the minute I received the email asking if I’d like to participate, I knew I had to say yes. It’s too important a topic to say no to.

School shootings – mass shootings in general – are becoming far too commonplace. We as a nation are growing numb to them. We CAN’T grow numb. We have to stand up and demand stricter gun laws, among other things. The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School refuse to be silent, and we should do as they do.

As for the book itself… Parkland Speaks is a gut-wrenching read. Children should never have to fear for their lives while trying to receive an education. Parents should never have to fear that they’ll never see their children again after sending them off to school in the morning. For the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, everything changed on February 14, 2018. Seventeen families lost loved ones, and those who survived the ordeal lost friends – and their innocence.

This book contains poems, stories, diary entries, essays and more – both from students and from faculty who were there that day. Some of the poems are students reflecting in the aftermath of the shooting; others are stories of those who were in the freshman building during the shooting.

The most chilling passage, in my opinion, was one entitled “Nothing Bad Ever Happens in Parkland.” It was a testimony before congress by Stacey Lippel, language arts instructor at MSD. She was right in the thick of the shooting. She saw the shooter. A bullet grazed her arm. Yet she risked her life to save others. She saved many lives by ushering students into her classroom.

One truly heartwarming part of this book? All the stories about the therapy dogs, and how they comforted the traumatized students.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to EVERYONE. It’s a really hard book to get through, but it has a powerful message. Like I said earlier, we as a nation are growing numb to mass shootings, and we can’t let that happen. This book should be required reading for all politicians – for everyone, really, but especially politicians. These stories are heartbreaking and gut-wrenching and IMPORTANT. The lesson learned from reading this book is obvious: we must stand strong against gun violence and demand stronger gun safety laws.


I hate feeling like I have to say this, but if you don’t agree with my stance on gun safety, please don’t comment on this post. Don’t argue with me. Don’t try to start something, because I’ll just delete your comment and block you. Polite discussion is encouraged, but if you’re looking to pick a fight, you’re in the wrong place.


Memorable Quotes:

Please Note: Some of these quotes are snippets of longer passages. The Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) I read did not have page numbers, so I can’t include them here. Instead, I will include the title of the passage the quote comes from.

“Watching my students find their voices after someone tried to silence them…” – ReWrite

“Tears begin to stroke my eyes when I realize one of my messages will remain unread forever.” – Inside a Fearful Mind

“The text read ‘I just want you to know I love you all and don’t worry, I will be okay.’” – Third Floor

“Rose petals and blood covered the floor.” – Third Floor

“That’s when I realized… I left them in that building.” – 2/14/18: The Day My Whole Life Changed

“I didn’t know who the teacher was… I remember her saying something along the lines of ‘I want you to know that if anyone comes through that door, they will have to go through me.’” – Journal Entry #1

“Remember me when I’m gone.” – Immortal Dreams

“Together we will all stand strong.” – Political Puppets


Guest Review: Imprison the Sky by A.C. Gaughen

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.

Guest Review: Imprison the Sky by A.C. GaughenImprison the Sky by A.C. Gaughen
Series: The Elementae #2
Published by Bloomsbury YA on January 22, 2019
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Stolen from her family as a child, Aspasia has clawed her way up the ranks of Cyrus's black market empire to captain her own trading vessel--and she risks it all every time she uses her powerful magic to free as many women, children, and Elementae from slavery as she can.

But Cyrus is close to uncovering her secrets--not only that Aspasia is an air Elementa with the ability to sail her ship through the sky, but that she is also searching for her lost family. And if Aspasia can’t find her younger siblings before Cyrus does, she will never be able to break free.

Armed with her loyal crew full of Elementae and a new recruit who controls an intriguing power, Aspasia finds herself in the center of a brewing war that spans every inch of the ocean, and her power alone may not be enough to save her friends, family, and freedom.

A message from Meredith: Hey everyone! Today, I have Lissa here with a guest review for Imprison the Sky by A.C. Gaughen!

You can find Lissa on Instagram!

Without further adieu, here’s Lissa’s review! Enjoy!


I didn’t have time to re-read Reign the Earth before I read Imprison the Sky, and having just finished, I am a bit indecisive as to whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe both. It seemed problematic when I started Imprison the Sky because I felt like I remembered nothing and had no idea who anyone was. Then as I got into the story (it sucked me in completely, regardless!) I remembered bits from Reign the Earth and realized I would have mostly been clueless anyway. Which is when I switched my opinion on the re-read issue.

If I had re-read, I would have been clamoring for a direct continuation of Shalia’s story. And this was not that – it read almost as a companion novel rather than a sequel. For all I know, since I still haven’t read the blurb (I didn’t need to, I knew I wanted to read this book even without the blurb), maybe that is what it is supposed to be. It did, however, forward the overall story arc in the end.

Anyway, wanting/missing Shalia and Galen would have been a disservice to this wonderful, enthralling, couldn’t-put-down adventure. I have a thing for spunky seafaring heroines (like Sherwood Smith and Alex Lidell write) and this was just perfect – complimented by A.C. Gaughen’s characteristic grit (Oh, how her heroes/heroines suffer!).

So here I am, urging you to read this book (even if you haven’t read Reign the Earth) and already dying for the next one – though I imagine that will be companion-like as well, so now I know and will be better prepared for it.


Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

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: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid KemmererA Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Published by Bloomsbury YA on January 29, 2019
Pages: 496
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she's instead somehow sucked into Rhen's cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

I was a little bit uncertain about reading this and I can’t even remember why, but for some reason I picked it up days after receiving it at BEA and then… I just couldn’t put it down!! You guys know I normally don’t read ARCs that far in advance, yet I read this back in June/July 2018 and it comes out in three weeks! This book had so many familiar elements that made it so fun to read: a broody, tortured prince; a fierce female protagonist; a snarky, sneering second-in-command; royalty, a curse, and a love-to-hate romance.

I had MAJOR A Court of Thorns and Roses vibes the whole time I read. But I think I just like to compare all retellings to ACOTAR now because I love it so much (well, I love ACOMAF the most, but you know what I mean). ALSO… Random because I haven’t read Hunted (Meagan Spooner) yet, but it’s coming to mind as I read this for some weird, random reason.

I loved Harper. Like I mentioned above, she was a fierce protagonist. She didn’t let anything stop her or push her around. She didn’t let her cerebral palsy slow her down or deter her. I also really liked Rhen – his character, his voice, his chapters. I loved the snark between him and Harper; their banter was great! I especially loved their realistic relationship, and the progression of that relationship.

I’m probably not supposed to like Lilith, but how can you not like an evil enchantress??? I honestly think I want a book with her story (Psst, Brigid, please make this happen!!!).

I’m seeing a lot of Lucien (from ACOTAR) in Grey, but Grey is a LOT more likable. In the beginning, I really shipped him and Harper, even though we were supposed to ship Harper and Rhen. I just adore Grey so much! Plus, Drunk Grey was absolutely hysterical, and gave me major Bash vibes.

I loved Harper and Jake’s relationship!! And Jake’s and Noah’s relationship!!!! And then that thing happened and I can’t talk about it because spoilers but it was so epic and hilarious and I loved it!

This book had me crying hardcore. It was such an emotional read, especially near the end. It felt like a stand-alone with a satisfying ending, but I can see more stories in this world, exploring other elements (*COUGH*evil enchantress story*COUGH*).

Overall, I highly recommend this one for fans of Beauty and the Beast and retellings of BatB, as well as fans of ACOMAF and stories along those lines. It was epic, emotional, and well written. The world-building is incredible, and the characters are ones you’ll root for and care for.


Favorite Quotes:

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.” – Freya


Review: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

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: Archenemies by Marissa MeyerArchenemies by Marissa Meyer
Series: Renegades #2
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 6, 2018
Pages: 471
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Time is running out. Together, they can save the world. But are they each other's worst nightmare?

Nova's double life is about to get a lot more complicated:

As Insomnia, she is a full-fledged member of the Renegades, a syndicate of powerful and beloved superheroes. She works with Adrian's patrol unit to protect the weak and maintain order in Gatlon City.

As Nightmare, she is an Anarchist—a group of villains who are determined to destroy the Renegades. Nova wants vengeance against the so-called heroes who once failed her when she needed them the most.

But as Nova, her feelings for Adrian are deepening, despite the fact that he is the son of her sworn enemies and, unbeknownst to Nova, he has some dangerous secrets of his own.

In this second installment of the Renegades trilogy, Nova, Adrian, and the rest of their crew—Ruby, Oscar, and Danna—are faced with escalating crime in Gatlon City, while covert weapons and conflicting missions have Nova and Adrian questioning not only their beliefs about justice but also the feelings they have for each other.

The line between good and evil has been blurred, but what's clear to them both is that too much power could mean the end of their City—and the world—as they know it.

I don’t think there are words adequate enough to describe my love for this series. After reading this book, I can say with 100% certainty that this is my favorite Marissa Meyer series – which, for those who know me and know how much I LOVE fairy tale retellings, you know that’s saying a LOT because I really loved The Lunar Chronicles. But the Renegades series is just absolute gold. The characters are some of my favorite characters ever. The plot is intriguing and exciting. And I’m BEYOND excited that there’s a third book because two definitely would NOT have been enough.

Nova is, without a doubt, my favorite book villain ever. She’s spunky and fierce and I love everything about her. Like I mentioned in my review of Renegades, when I picture Nova in my head, I picture Mal from the Descendants movie, purple hair and all. I love everything about Nightmare – her powers, her background – even just the name Nightmare and the feelings it evokes.

Adrian was awesome, once again. Adrian’s secret is on the cusp of unraveling and I’m getting anxious for certain people to find out. I love him and Nova so much, I’m terrified for when the truth – about both of them – is revealed because I NEED them to be endgame.

Now I have to be vague because spoilers BUT… Some absolutely incredible/terrifying/shocking/holy crap things happened in this book, and the majority of them kept me on the edge of my seat. And some of the things that DIDN’T happen frustrated me – but in a good way!! There were a couple things that I was positive would happen in this book, but I guess Marissa Meyer is saving them for the finale. I guess that just means book three is going to give me a freaking heart attack!!!!! AND THE WAIT FOR BOOK THREE IS WAYYYYY TOOOO LONGGGG!!!!!!

I don’t really know what else to say. This review doesn’t do this book justice AT ALL. But to be honest, I was enjoying it so much, I sorta forgot to take better review notes – I was just too captivated and enthralled by the story to stop to make note of things as I read them. So all I can say is READ THIS BOOK – THIS SERIES – ASAP BECAUSE IT’S AMAZING AND WILL MESS WITH YOU IN THE BEST WAY!

*Clears Throat.*

I mean, I don’t think I even need to say how much I recommend this book – i would hope it’s obvious. But, just in case it’s not, I seriously highly recommend this book. If you’ve read Marissa Meyer’s other books, you’ll love it! And if you haven’t read anything by her, I recommend picking this series up first! Also, if you’re a fan of superheroes and villains, this one is definitely for you!


Review: A Sorrow Fierce and Falling by Jessica Cluess (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: A Sorrow Fierce and Falling by Jessica Cluess (Blog Tour)A Sorrow Fierce and Falling by Jessica Cluess
Series: Kingdom on Fire #3
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on October 16, 2018
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

It's time for war.

After suffering terrible losses, Henrietta and Lord Blackwood have led their warriors to Sorrow-Fell, a vast estate where only those invited by a Blackwood may enter--and the ideal place to plan a final assault against the Ancients.

It's time for a wedding.

Henrietta nervously awaits her marriage to Blackwood, but when the ritual to become his bride reveals a dark secret, she realizes that Sorrow-Fell is not a safe haven; it's a trap. Convincing the sorcerers of this, however, is not easy. So with Maria, the true chosen one, and Magnus, the young man who once stole her heart, at her side, Henrietta plots a dangerous journey straight into the enemy's lair. Some will live. Some will die. All will be tested.

In this stunning conclusion to the Kingdom on Fire series, Henrietta must choose between the love from her past, the love from her present, and a love that could define her future. While battles rage, the fate of the kingdom rests on her decision: Will she fall or rise up to become the woman who saves the realm?

It's time for Henrietta to make her stand.

Hey, everyone! I’m SO excited to be on the blog tour for A Sorrow Fierce and Falling by Jessica Cluess (October 16, 2018 – Random House Books for Young Readers)! Without further adieu, here’s my review!


This entire trilogy has been absolutely amazeballs. This book has been particularly epic in its craziness and WTF moments! The revelations and discoveries have had me on the edge of my seat, and I’ve basically just been going “?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!” and “Well shit….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” on my Goodreads updates.

Henrietta has grown sooo much from book one to book three. As I mentioned in my review of book two, she did have some stagnation in her growth; however, with this book, she really came into her own. I hate being super vague but spoilers, so let’s just say I loved her role in this story, the things that happened to her, and how her story ended. I was a little bit conflicted with two things that happened to her, but it worked out in the end, so it’s cool.

Magnus is literally my absolute favorite. He was THE BEST in this book for MANY reasons, but mainly one big reason. Again, spoilers – ugh – but.. READ THE BOOK AND YOU SHALL SEE! I love him, I loved his story arc, and I loved how his story ended. Like, it couldn’t have been any more perfect.

My love for Maria grew in this book. She was just absolutely brilliant – strong, fierce, powerful, etc. My only issue is, I thought she’d have a bigger role in the end game, and I’m surprised she didn’t. But I loved her character, and I’d kinda love to see a spin-off with her because I really want to learn more about her.

Blackwood… He had his moments, but overall, I didn’t really like him. And he did some especially awful things in this book. I don’t really think he redeemed himself in the end, but I think I understand him a bit better, and I’m.. at peace with him.. Mostly.. Another character I was meh on from the beginning was Rook, but I was shocked at how his story ended. Not sure I’ll ever get over that..

The deaths in this series have all been shocking and, for the most part, unexpected. I’ve mourned the loss of many great characters throughout this series, but this book in particular really “JK ROWLING-D” it. One death in particular broke my heart. Two other deaths shocked me because I didn’t see them coming at all. On the flip side, there were some characters that lived that shocked me, as well, because I fully expected them to die or (in some cases) remain dead.

The ending was insane and crazy and ridiculous and I still can’t wrap my mind around all that happened. Like I mentioned earlier, the revelations and discoveries were really mind-blowing in this book. I LOVED the ending, though some of it broke my heart. Yet I don’t think it could have ended any other way. I LOVED the “One Year Later” epilogue and the way it wrapped certain things up.

I highly recommend this amazing trilogy. The plot is beyond intriguing, the characters are epic, and the twists and turns will have you on the edge of your seat! I can’t wait to see what Jessica Cluess does next – she’s DEFINITELY going on the Auto-Buy Author List!


Review: A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess

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: A Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica CluessA Poison Dark and Drowning by Jessica Cluess
Series: Kingdom on Fire #2
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on September 19, 2017
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

The magicians want her to lead. The sorcerers want her to lie. The demons want her blood. Henrietta wants to save the one she loves. But will his dark magic be her undoing?

Henrietta doesn’t need a prophecy to know that she’s in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the bloodthirsty Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.

Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook’s system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own.

So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients’ past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth.

I need to apologize to this book. The beginning started out intriguing, but a little slow, so I accused it of having Second Book Syndrome. But I was SOOO wrong. The last 100 pages were SUPER EPIC INTENSE and had me GASPING AND FLAILING AND CRYING AND SCREAMING. I’m emotionally exhausted from this book, and I’m diving RIGHT into book three because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!!!!!!!!

For the most part, the characters remained steady in their development. I think they grew a LOT near the end, but they otherwise were on point with where they were in book one. I still adore Henrietta, though I didn’t always agree with her choices in this book. She’s still bold and fierce and I LOVE that she’s … not what she thought she was… I don’t know how else to say that without spoilers, so.. If you read the book, you know what I mean. She defies a certain trope.

I STILL love Magnus and STILL want him and I Henrietta to be End Game. But, just as I said in my review of book one, he did have some moments where I hated him and the way he behaved and the way he treated Henrietta. I’m anxious, re: the way his story ended. And I’m nervous to see where it’ll go from here. I’m still a bit confused on how I feel about Blackwood. He was kind of an ass in this book, so I don’t like him as much as I did in the first book. But I’m still intrigued by him… is that weird??

I LOVED Maria. Right off the bat, I liked her but didn’t trust her. And then I had a super wild-ass theory about her and then I WAS RIGHT AND I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT THIS MEANS FOR HER IN BOOK THREE I’M SO INTRIGUED I NEED TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!!!!!!

I still don’t really like or care about Rook, and I don’t ship him and Henrietta. And I know it wasn’t his fault (not completely), but he did some pretty unforgivable stuff in this book… I’m a little bit curious to see what happens with him in book three, but I also can’t see him possibly getting any redemption, particularly after that one incident…

The revelations in this book – especially, as I mentioned, in the last 100 pages – were INSANE and INTENSE and CRAZY, but also super intriguing – and many of them made complete sense. I had another wild-ass theory regarding one of the Ancients and in that I was right as well and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVED Faerie. It was dark, twisted and creepy and I LOVE dark Faerie realms. It gave me Wintersong vibes, to a certain extent. Also, Holly Black/Tithe vibes.

Overall, this book was a bit slow in the beginning, but the ending absolutely made up for it. I HIGHLY recommend IT!!!


Review: Reach Higher: An Inspiring Photo Celebration of First Lady Michelle Obama by Amanda Lucidon (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: Reach Higher: An Inspiring Photo Celebration of First Lady Michelle Obama by Amanda Lucidon (Blog Tour)Reach Higher: An Inspiring Photo Celebration of First Lady Michelle Obama by Amanda Lucidon
Published by Crown Books for Young Readers on October 23, 2018
Pages: 112
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

A collection of striking and intimate photographs of Michelle Obama, coupled with personal reflections and behind-the-scenes stories from official White House photographer and New York Times bestselling author of Chasing Light, Amanda Lucidon, presented in a deluxe format for young readers.

This stunning and revealing collection of seventy photographs captures and celebrates Mrs. Obama's White House years and her dedication to improving the lives of young people in the United States and around the world.

As a former official White House photographer, Amanda Lucidon shares an insider's view on the role of the First Lady by documenting life at the White House and sharing personal memories that reveal what makes Mrs. Obama so special.

Newly adapted in a deluxe format for young readers from the New York Times bestseller Chasing Light, the collection also includes:

* The role of the First Lady, past and present
* What a White House photographer does
* The history of the People's House and the people who lived there
* And much more!

These strikingly intimate and candid photographs through the lens of a White House photographer are a beautiful celebration and powerful reminder of the impact of a remarkable First Lady.

Hey, everyone! I’m SO excited to be on the blog tour for Reach Higher: An Inspiring Photo Celebration of First Lady Michelle Obama by Amanda Lucidon (October 23, 2018 by Crown Books for Young Readers)! Without further adieu, here’s my review!


I’ve never reviewed a non-fiction book before – nor have I ever gotten political on here. But this book was absolutely amazing. It showcases Michelle Obama – a dignified, intelligent, kind woman who sacrificed her time and energy to make the world a better place.

The pictures are amazing. Amanda Lucidon did an incredible job ensuring that these pictures would go down in history. I especially loved the last one, with Michelle and the family dog. It’s so light and carefree, showing us a different side of the former First Lady.

I love the simple way this book broke down the job of the First Lady, the job of the official White House Photographer, and what the White House is – it makes it very easy for kids to understand. I also enjoyed the bits of historical facts – I learned things I never knew (or maybe once learned and had since forgotten), such as the fact that the White House wasn’t always called the White House, and that Dolley Madison was the first presidential spouse to be referred to as First Lady.

In today’s violent and volatile political climate, kids need this book. They need to know that there are good people out there; that people in power are not all corrupt, and often DO have our best interests at heart. Kids need to know that Michelle Obama is a beacon of kindness, and a person who values humanity – ALL humanity. Kids need to know what we’re fighting to get back, and that the journey will be worth the struggle and sacrifice.

I highly recommend this book to… basically everyone. But I especially think it will be great for teachers and librarians – a must-have book for classroom libraries and library collections. I recommend it to kids who need to understand where we came from and where we’re going, as well as for adults who need a reminder that their hard work will pay off – and that future generations will appreciate all they did.


Review: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White (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: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White (Blog Tour)The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Published by Delacorte Press on September 25, 2018
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

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.

Hey everyone! I’m beyond excited to be on the blog tour for The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White!! This book was SO good!! I hope you enjoy my review!


I hated reading in school (because it took away from my own personal reading time), but Frankenstein was one of the few books I was forced to read and actually loved. And as you guys know, I LOVE retellings – especially creepy/dark/twisted ones. So for me, this book was wickedly delightful, creeptastic and intriguing!

Elizabeth is a manipulative bullshitter, a charmer. She’s blunt and to the point. She’s mean, by her own admission. But I love it. She’s flawed and that’s okay. She does what she has to to survive. She has no use for anyone or anything that doesn’t help her or advance her in some way, but considering the time period she lived in, and the things women endured – what we saw her endure – I get it.

Victor is… a complete psychopath/sociopath. I mean, that’s obvious to anyone who has read Frankenstein. But seen from Elizabeth’s perspective, it’s even more obvious.

I adored Justine and her friendship with Elizabeth. She was the one person Elizabeth truly loved, and remained friends with for reasons other than selfish ones. I completely related to her, hardcore, for various reasons. Her fate broke my heart.

Another character I absolutely adored was Mary. I had a weird theory I was desperate to prove, but alas, we received no confirmation on this one. I still loved her. She was strong and fierce in the face of personal turmoil.

I loved the ending. It left things a bit open-ended. I don’t see there being a sequel, but it allows your mind to wander and come up with your own wild theories, re: what happened next.

As always, Kiersten’s writing was phenomenal. She’s one of my favorite writers – has been for years, and always will be. I’ll read anything she writes, and am especially excited for her upcoming novel, Slayer (I mean, I’m a HUGE Buffy fan, so this should come as no surprise!!).

This book felt different from some of Kiersten’s others, but in a good way. It had more of a gothic fiction/classic feel to it and I liked the pace and how things played out. I do wish the atmosphere had been a touch darker and creepier, and I wish there had been a bit more thriller/edge-of your-seat-type intrigue, but I still really enjoyed it.

The only thing that frustrated me was that I couldn’t remember enough of Frankenstein. And that’s NOT a point against this book, that’s just me remembering bits and pieces and flashes, and wishing I could remember more. I had some theories and it was hard to develop them when I couldn’t remember certain things (for example: why did I blank on who Henry Clerval was?!? I read Frankenstein like 3 times. The name rings a bell but ???). But again, that’s NOT a negative or a point against this book. I just wish I could have remembered, because I think it would have made certain things more intriguing.

Overall, I really really loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone who is already a fan of Kiersten White, as well as to anyone that loves horror, classics, retellings and especially – obviously – Frankenstein.


About the Author: 
KIERSTEN WHITE is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, the And I Darken series, comprised of And I Darken, Now I Rise, and Bright We Burn; the Paranormalcy series; Slayer, and many more novels. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even further-away times.

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Blog Tour Schedule:

Week One:
10/15/2018 – Under the Book Cover – Review
10/16/2018 – Simply Daniel Radcliffe – Review
10/17/2018 – Novel Novice – Review
10/18/2018 – My Fangirl Chronicles – Review
10/19/2018 – Pandora’s Books – Review

Week Two:
10/22/2018 – Jessica Writes – Review
10/23/2018 – Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews – Review
10/24/2018 – Here’s to Happy Endings – Review
10/25/2018 – Savings in Seconds – Review
10/26/2018 – Vicky Who Reads – Review

Week Three:
10/29/2018 – Smada’s Book Smack – Review
10/30/2018 – YA Books Central – Interview
10/31/2018 – For the Lover of Books – Review
11/1/2018 – Malanie Loves Fiction – Review
11/2/2018 – Oh Hey! Books. – Review

Week Four:
11/5/2018 – The Hermit Librarian – Review
11/6/2018 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Interview
11/7/2018 – BookHounds YA – Review
11/8/2018 – Eli to the nth – Review
11/9/2018 – Portrait of a Book – Review


Review: A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

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: A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinneyA Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
Published by Imprint on September 25, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she's trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn't always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice's handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she'll need to use everything she's learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.

I honestly don’t even know how to begin this review. This was one of my most anticipated books of 2018 and it was SO GOOD. It exceeded my expectations in every way. I loved the world – this version of Wonderland was original, incredible, dark and creeptastic. I loved the characters – heck, I even loved the villains!!! How does THAT happen?!?!? I loved the writing. And I loved that it had a black heroine because YA books need more strong WOC. I don’t want to talk too much on that, though, because I don’t want to speak outside my lane; instead, I recommend you check out Goodreads, where there are a number of reviews by own voices reviewers.

As for the rest of my review.. Wow. There really are no words, so please ignore my babbling. I’ll start with the characters, since you all know I’m very character driven and the characters in this book were all so amazing.

Alice was strong, fierce, snarky, and sassy. She also cosplayed Sailor Moon, so she’s a girl after my own heart! Like, Alice saying “cosmic moon power” to psych herself up gave me life!

I LOVE The Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat, so whenever I read an Alice in Wonderland retelling, I’m always eager to see how they’ll be represented. I’m not 100% sure who this book’s version of the Cheshire Cat was (maybe Chess?), but Addison Hatta made for an EPIC Mad Hatter. He was described as being a “punk rock Prince Charming.” So, naturally, I swooned. But the thing that really sealed the deal for me? THE REVELATION ABOUT HIS PAST!!!!!!!!!!! I KNEW IT BUT IT WAS STILL A SHOCK AND I TOTALLY LOVED IT!!!!!!!!! I can’t go into further detail without spoilers but SO GOOD OMG!!!!

In my opinion, Maddi was this book’s Caterpillar. I was super intrigued by her, and I’m eager to learn more about her – what she is, who she is, her background – especially after THAT ending. WTH?!?!?!?!

Dee and Dem were clearly Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and THEY WERE DESCRIBED AS BEING TEENAGE VERSIONS OF SPIKE FROM BUFFY, I’M GONNA CRY!!!!!! Like, at one point, Dee said something and it was such a Spike thing to say, I actually saw and heard Spike saying it in my mind, bahaha!! Also, can we talk about the Duchess and the fact that she was basically Anastasia?

I should NOT like the Black Knight. He’s the VILLAIN! But he was so cheeky and hilarious and there’s DEFINITELY something more to him than we’re seeing so far. I want to know who he is, where he comes from, why he’s doing this, who he works for – like, I NEED to know. Now. Please? I NEED TO KNOW!!!

And let’s not forget Xelon and Odabeth and all that adorableness!!!!!!! Also can we talk about the Frubbles and how badly I want one?!?!?!?!?!

I mean, honestly, this book was just perfection, and so were the characters. I LOVED this version of Wonderland. Figment Blades. Nightmares. The Veil. The Looking Glass Pub. I loved that nighttime in Wonderland was so creepy and dangerous – it was very fitting. Also, HER TWO CATS ARE NAMED LEWIS AND CAROL LIKE COME ON HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THIS BOOK AND THIS WORLD??

The pop culture references gave me life. Obviously there were Alice In Wonderland (duh), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (duh) and Sailor Moon (duh) references. But also, like I said, it had Anastasia references and Harry Potter (!!!!) references.

And then that ending. Wow. Like… Whoa. Like… I don’t think I assumed this would be a stand-alone, but I didn’t think about it in terms of it potentially being a series, either. So now that we have a cliffhanger ending and I know there’s potential for a second book, I’m SERIOUSLY FREAKING OUT!!! Like, I NEED IT, GUYS!! I NEED IT ASAP!!!!

Obviously, if you couldn’t tell from my flailing, fangirly review (seriously, if you couldn’t tell.. are you okay..?), I HIGHLY AND COMPLETELY AND 100% recommend this book to everyone. It was utter perfection and everyone needs to read it. Don’t argue with me, just do it! Now! ASAP!!! Seriously, you won’t be disappointed – especially if you love Alice in Wonderland retellings, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sailor Moon.


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.