Posted in 5 Stars, Amazing Heroines, Book Reviews, Young Adult Book Reviews

Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake // Messy, Hard, and Absolutely Heartbreaking

31351689“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”

Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex-girlfriend and best friend since childhood, Charlie.

As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.


My Rating: ★★★★★– 5 stars

“This doesn’t make any sense. This isn’t…” This isn’t my brother, I want to say. He would’ve never hurt Hannah. But that would make Hannah a liar, and that’s not her either.

I’ve read so many reviews of this book, lauding it for how profound it was, but I never could’ve guessed at how truly heartbreaking it is. Girl Made of Stars is like a punch to the gut – it leaves you feeling winded, gasping for breath, and ready to cry all at once. Continue reading “Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake // Messy, Hard, and Absolutely Heartbreaking”

Posted in 4 Stars, Amazing Heroines, Book Reviews, Young Adult Book Reviews

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo #1) by F.C. Yee // I’m In Love *heart eyes*

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Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code.

But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tale and penchant for peaches.

Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance.


My Rating: ★★★★ – 4 stars

Welp. Nothing like having your personhood denied in the morning to start off the day right.

After attempting to start this review many different ways, and deleting every single one of them, I’m going to start this with the only way I seem to be capable of:

*claps very loudly*

I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. In fact, I expected to be kept vaguely interested throughout the story, but not really get involved in it.

But guess what happened?? My expectations did not become a reality, and I could not be happier! <– The one time I’ll ever say this. Continue reading “The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo #1) by F.C. Yee // I’m In Love *heart eyes*”

Posted in 5 Stars, Adult Fiction, Amazing Heroines, Book Reviews, Reviews

The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R. F. Kuang // Dark, Brutal, and My New Favorite

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Synopsis:

When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.


My Rating: ★★★★★ – 5 stars

TWs: violence (a LOT – please don’t take this lightly), classism, racism, rape (not actually described, but extremely graphic descriptions of horrors leading up to it), animal death and cruelty, drug use and addiction, self-harm (by main character), sexism, death (very graphic descriptions of it), maiming

This is a very brutal and very dark book. Please make sure you’re in the right head-space to read this. These are all the trigger warnings I found, but I know this list is incomplete, so I recommend checking both Melanie’s and Fadwa’s reviews to see more complete lists of trigger warnings.

Thanks to The Poppy War, I got an average of three hours of sleep over the course of two days. Because I made a mistake. That mistake was reading the first few pages the day before I had to take two tests, turn in a bunch of homework, and try not to die. And then I added reading this book to the pile because it was so. Amazingly. Addicting. And thus the aforementioned lack of sleep happened.

So. It appears I have a new favorite book.

War doesn’t determine who’s right. War determines who remains.

The Poppy War is a book that’s set in a world based off the Second Sino-Japanese War. And like all wars, many of its realities are frightening. The world is developed so vividly and realistically through the brutalities and injustices mentioned that it’s never too hard to suspend your disbelief and lose yourself in the story.

And. This. Story. Doesn’t. Pull. Its. Punches. Continue reading “The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R. F. Kuang // Dark, Brutal, and My New Favorite”

Posted in 3 Stars, 5 Stars, Amazing Heroes, Amazing Heroines, Book Reviews, Reviews, Tween Book Reviews

Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews feat. Crush and Amulet #1-2

As I said before, I’ve been in a graphic novel mood this month and I don’t regret a thing!! Even if not one of them was on my TBR!

I regret it a little actually, my TBR is suffering. But it’s okay, I enjoyed them! 🙂 They were all middle-grade, which might be why I enjoyed them so much. Middle-grade fiction is the best, mostly because they usually avoid the pesky romance in YA (because let’s face it, YA romance usually sucks).

Anyway, I read all of these three books in one day. Which normally I’d consider impressive, but they were graphic novels so they took way less time to read. The books were:

  • Crush (Awkward #3) by Svetlana Chmakova
  • The Stonekeeper (Amulet #1) by Kazu Kibuishi
  • The Stonekeeper’s Curse (Amulet #2) by Kazu Kibuishi

And they were awesome! Especially Crush!

Continue reading “Graphic Novel Mini-Reviews feat. Crush and Amulet #1-2”

Posted in 5 Stars, Adult Fiction, Amazing Heroines, Book Reviews

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Title: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Published: May 9th 2017 by Viking – Pamela Dorman Books
Buy on Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
(Blurb, image, and information via Goodreads)

★★★★★ – 5 stars

Trigger warnings: mentions of suicide, mentions of an abusive relationship, depression

This book encapsulates all of what it means to be a human.

My thoughts are all over the place, I can’t form anything coherent, all I know is that this book deserves the world. It struck so many chords within me that I felt such a deep connection and love for the characters, especially Eleanor.

Okay. Okay, for the sake of some coherency, I’ll try talking about my feelings in chronological order. Starting with the beginning. Continue reading “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman”

Posted in 4 Stars, Amazing Heroines, Book Reviews, Reviews, Young Adult Book Reviews

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published: October 20th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Buy on Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
(Blurb, image, and information via Goodreads)

★★★★ – 4 stars

gino;sfeifvnkashljfrn so I bought this book without looking in it, so when I finally opened it and saw it was told in a multi-media format, my groan could be heard in Africa. Yeah. People looked at me weirdly, but I was too busy getting prepared to be let down to be self-conscious because I hate books told like this.

And I ended up liking this a lot???

This story is told through documents gathered by the Illuminae group and sent to  Executive Director Frobisher (of Beitech). And it features exes Kady Grant and Ezra Mason, who have to flee their planet on the day they break up with each other. Weirdly enough, I was laughing by the first twenty pages, which I took as a good sign – maybe this book wouldn’t be so bad. I thought maybe it’d be a light, fluffy read.

Nope to the second one. But more on that later. Continue reading “Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff”

Posted in 4 Stars, Amazing Heroines, Book Reviews, Reviews, Tween Book Reviews, Young Adult Book Reviews

Summerlost by Ally Condie

Title: Summerlost
Author: Ally Condie
Published: March 29th 2016 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Buy on Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
(Blurb, image, and information via Goodreads)

★★★★– 4 stars

This book flew by way too quickly (like summer – hehe, get it?). It’s actually pretty short, under three-hundred pages. And, I will admit – that’s the reason I picked it up. I was going through a reading slump and page counts started scaring me, so when I saw this at the library, I just picked it up. I figured, Why not? I can do this. It’s short.

It was also extremely good. Continue reading “Summerlost by Ally Condie”