Book Review > ‘The Lost Legends’ by Cait Marie

Hello, my angels ~

I hope you all are well and staying safe! And washing your hands and just keeping up with general hygiene, avoiding crowds, and all that lovely stuff!

Today, I have an ARC review/blog tour for you! A huge thank you goes out to the author of this book, Cait Marie, for organizing all of this!

Three things before we begin:

  1. All opinions stated in this review are my own!
  2. This book does deal with a plague and with everything going on in the world right now with COVID-19, I wanted you all to keep that in mind in case that is something you don’t want to read about.
  3. I’m incredibly stressed out right now between figuring out school work, moving out of my dorm, and other things so this review is probably going to be pretty short and sweet!

Alright, let’s begin, shall we?


Page Number

I honestly have no idea but I would guess around 300-350?

Genre

Fantasy; New Adult (IMO); Romance

Summary

A plague. A prophecy. A centuries-long curse.

All her life, Princess Adalina heard tales of the legendary, immortal warriors known as the Nihryst. Cursed and bound to a deck of tarot cards by her ancestors, the Nihryst were stranded on a remote island nearly a century and a half earlier.

Her brother, Prince Shane, is destined to rule the kingdom of Detmarya. Though preparing for this role has encompassed his entire life, control of the kingdom may come sooner than expected due to their father’s sporadic behavior.

Discovering the king’s plan to set a war in motion with a mass assassination, Ada unwittingly joins a crew of pirates in search of the only beings powerful enough to stop him: the Nihryst. Meanwhile, Shane and a group of underground rebels make a haunting discovery of a plague infecting the streets of Detmarya.

With a looming deadline to save multiple kingdoms and thousands of innocent lives, both royal siblings join quests worthy of Ada’s beloved fairy tales.

Trigger Warnings?

Descriptions of attempted sexual assault, descriptions of illness, and descriptions of physical assault and violence

Thoughts While Reading

“Sure, sweetie”
“TASTE”
“He? Needed? Them?”
“I really do love the brooding type”
“Duh”
“Oh I love this woman”
“If they’re the dudes I’m going to fucking lose it”
“HUH”
“SHIT”
“WELL???”
“Shit”

“Yeah shouldn’t we talk about that?”
“Huh”
“If there’s a cliffhanger, I’m gonna end it” (there wasn’t)
“Wait”
“He’s? Immortal?”
“WAIT HUH”

“With their faces on the cards, she cursed the crew. So long as their images remained intact, the Nihryst would remain whole. Never aging. Never dying.”

the Queen

Thoughts ~

I’ve been in a creative slump for the past few months so reading and doing basically any of my hobbies has been,,, a struggle to say the least.

With that being said, I got through this book in two days and the only reason I didn’t finish it in one is because I could barely keep my eyes open to keep reading.

This book sucks you right in from the very first page. I loved the beginning and it truly did an excellent job of hooking me in.

Moving on, I also just really liked the story. It was exciting, I was pretty invested — it was a good time.

This is one of those books where I enjoyed the reading experience, I would definitely continue the series, but it’s not one of my favorites — if that makes sense. It felt like a really good one-and-done kind of book and that’s honestly what I needed at the time.

“I will break their curse.”

Little Adalina

The Verdict ~

If you’re in a reading slump or just in general want something quick, easy, and will keep you engaged — this is your book!

“I can like flowers and still kick your ass.”

Gwyn

Links ~

Goodreads | Amazon


Alright, that’s all for me today! I’m sorry this one is so rushed, everything’s just a bit crazy right now.

I hope you all are staying safe! I know with isolation and quarantine, it can make us feel even more alone so make sure to call your friends or family if you can, interact with mutuals, and I’m always here if you need someone to talk to!

Stay safe, stay happy, wash your fucking hands, and have an amazing day/night.

Until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

— Ash

Book Review > ‘Winterwood’ by Shea Ernshaw

Hello, my angels ~

It’s currently snowing at my uni right now and my last class of the day was cancelled. Then I remembered I had yet to write the review (or take the picture) for this book — so I ran into the woods behind my dorm, awkwardly took a picture as other people were exploring snowy trees and shit, and now I’m here, about to share my thoughts on Winterwood with you all.

The snow was fitting, don’t you think?


Page Number

323

Genre

YA > Fantasy; Paranormal > Witches

Summary

Be careful of the dark, dark wood…

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.

For as long as there have been fairy tales, we have been warned to fear what lies within the dark, dark woods and in Winterwood, New York Times bestselling author Shea Ernshaw, shows us why.

From New York Times bestselling author of The Wicked Deep comes a haunting romance perfect for fans of Practical Magic, where dark fairy tales and enchanted folklore collide after a boy, believed to be missing, emerges from the magical woods—and falls in love with the witch determined to unravel his secrets.

Trigger Warnings?

Drowning and physical assault.

Thoughts While Reading

“Oh worm?”
“The writing is FUCKING gorgeous holy shit”
“She has a wolf?! Hell yeah!!”

“Ominous, but okay”
“Men?”
“Why is everything in this book so pretty??
“Is he dead?”
“That’s gonna bite you in the ass, you know that right?”
“Yeah, you probably should”
“Oh my god dude make up your mind”
“Called it”
“Thank you, I hope the same for you as well”

“My grandmother was like that — strange and beautiful, with stories resting just behind her eyelids. Stories about moonlight and riddles and catastrophes.”

— Nora Walker, page 3

Thoughts ~

Let me just start off with the writing —

It’s so ridiculously beautiful.

It’s very poetic and flowery — which I love but if you don’t, you may not like this book!

Furthermore, something that is an automatic read for me with books is when they have side stories — like the storyteller stories from the Rebel of the Sands Trilogy, the side stories from Wicked Fox, and so on — things like that!!

“I’ve always loved stories about impossible women”

— me apparently? (I don’t know I found this in my notes as a thought I wrote at page 332 but there isn’t a page 332 so that’s slightly frightening but it doesn’t matter because like,,, it’s true)

I’m so partial to bits like that and, as you’ve probably guessed, this book had them! The stories focused on the generations of Walker women and each one was more beautiful than the last — I especially loved Nora’s edition and I thought that was a perfect way to wrap up this book!

Going onto more things I love, I loved the atmosphere and the setting. I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere so having that environment, to a certain degree, was like a nice slice of my childhood for me. I read this book back in 2019 over Thanksgiving break and I wasn’t able to be with my mom but this book really helped set me at ease and offered me a sense of familiarity.

Granted, I didn’t live in the mountains where it would snow so high that you couldn’t leave, but there were places like that around me and honestly, it was close enough to remind me of my childhood home so 🤪.

Now, let’s get to the things that I didn’t necessarily love.

1. Oliver (our other main character and love interest) was lowkey annoying to me. He just made such childish decisions, but like the childish one when he’s “trying to protect” someone else by not telling them everything?? You know like that kind of thing? He did that a lot and I got more and more frustrated with him

(Though, him and Nora were kind of cute but that’s besides the point)

2. Honestly, I don’t know how much I cared for the plot outside of the Walker women — I could have spent the entire novel reading about their lives and probably would have enjoyed this book a bit more.

3. There were two big twists at the ending and I guessed one of them — but the other one completely blew me away and was a 10/10 twist.

“She was a wonder — her chin always tilted to the sky, craving the anemic glow of moonlight against her olive skin, a storm always brewing along her edges.”

— Nora Walker, page 3

The Verdict ~

All in all, I actually really enjoyed this book. It’s not my favorite thing ever, but the stories of the Walker women have a special place in my heart and are definitely going into my collection of side stories. Because of the weather outside, I’m actually debating if I want to reread this book instead of working on one of my term papers because it’s 1) a quick read and 2) atmospheric 👀👀

I think what I’m trying to say is that if you’re looking for a quick wintery or snowy read, pick this one up!

“Because I am more darkness than girl. More winter shadows than August sunlight.”

— Nora Walker, page 4

Links ~

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Chapters | Waterstones | Indiebound

“And that’s how they prefer it — to be made into legends.”

— Shea Ernshaw, page 319

That’s all for me today, angels! I hope you’re having a lovely day/night and until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

— Ash

Book Review > ‘The Unholy’ by Paul DeBlassie III

Hello, my angels ~

Today I have another blog tour post for you! This one was put on by the Blackthorn Book Tours. Huge thank you to everyone behind these tours for always emailing me about tours they think me and other reviewers would love and to being so unbelievably supportive.

Alright, let’s get into this!


Page Number

224

Genre

Fantasy > Urban Fantasy; Thriller

Summary

A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop.

Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, The Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision. PAUL DeBLASSIE III, PhD, is a psychologist and writer living in his native New Mexico. A member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association, and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he has for over thirty years treated survivors of the dark side of religion.

Trigger Warnings?

Descriptions of violence and gore.

Representation

Mexican/Native American rep! (possibly own voices)


Thoughts While Reading

“Ooooo edgy”
“Me too, girl”
“Werewolves???”
“We got some rep, my guy”

“Oh fuck off, dude”
“s p o o k y”
“Cannibalism?”
“We get it you hate women shut up”
“Cannibalism!”
“The theme of using religion to cover for your shit”
“Oooooo”
“She’s been goofed”

“Oh shit”
“Dude,,,,, you’re creepy”
“Mood”
“Sounds fake but okay”
“Snek”
“We get it you have mommy issues that doesn’t give you a pass for cannibalism”
“No?”
“Holy shit”
“Hey, dad”

“There are sacraments of evil as well as of good about us, and we live and move to my belief in an unknown world, a place where there are caves and shadows and dwellers in twilight.”

— Arthur Machen

Thoughts

The first thing that stood out to me while reading was the creation of the good and evil dichotomy and the war that ensued. The protagonist is from a line of Indigenous medicine women and her and others like her have been subject to ridicule because of their healing methods while the antagonist is a very highly respected priest, an almost universal symbol of good. But this book delves into breaking those stereotypes, looking beneath them, and ripping them apart completely by showing that a person’s occupation and society’s belief about that occupation doesn’t make the person automatically good or bad. Indigenous people in general face ignorant stereotypes that often lead to violence and make them out to seem like awful people. On the other hand, priests are seen as this symbol of universal good and, even when they do something awful, it’s difficult for that to come into the light and even when it does, there have always been an overwhelming group of people who don’t care about what awful thing they did or don’t believe it.

But this book flips those ideas on their head and show the truth underneath the stereotypes — that no one is inherently good or inherently bad based on these aspects of their identity, it’s about what kind of person they are, not their job or their culture or what have you. And that was something that I thought was really important.

Another thing that I thought was important was the choice to make a priest specifically the antagonist because, especially in the past few years, crimes and violence perpetrated by priests have started to come out. Something that has been associated with clerical violence now is that it isn’t as bad because they’re serving their religion, their God, and that makes everything okay. But religion isn’t an excuse to be awful and to abuse and harm others.

Also, the true crime lover in me is about to jump out so — fair warning. But something prevalent in interviews and/or portrayals of serial killers is that they had some issue within their family. That was also translated to this book — the antagonist had issues with his mother that “caused” him to grow up hating women, leading him to kill them. But having awful things happen to you growing up doesn’t give you an excuse to murder people. Sometimes, that is used as an excuse but the argument will always remain that awful things, unimaginable things, happen to so many people every day, and they probably aren’t going to grow up to be serial killers.

So, generally, this book portrayed that, even though awful people will use them as an excuse, religion and familial trauma aren’t excuses to do awful things to other people!

Finally, I thought it was really cool how the author incorporated their own culture and something they’re obviously passionate about. It makes my heart happy when authors do that 🙂

My only complaint is that it felt like there was some loose ends, some things that we either didn’t get complete answers for or that were just left open-ended.


Verdict ~

All in all, I thought this was a really cool book that dealt in really important themes — so if it sounds appealing to you, I would recommend it!


Links ~

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Half Price Books | Indiebound


That’s all for me today, angels! Have a wonderful day/night and, until next time, don’t miss me too much ~

— Ash

Graphic Novel Review > ‘Heartstopper Vol.1’ by Alice Oseman

Hello, my angels ~

Today, I have a graphic novel review for you all!!

Which you could tell by the title, so I don’t really know why I wrote that. ANYWAYS —

I’m not exactly sure how long this one is going to be, but I would still like to share my thoughts with you all!


Page Number

288

Genre

Graphic Novel > Contemporary; Romance; LGBTQIA+

Summary

Boy Meets Boy.
Boys Become Friends.
Boys Fall in Love.

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore, and he’s sort of got a boyfriend, even if he’s kind of mean and only wants to meet up in secret.

Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. That is, until the start of January, in which Nick and Charlie are placed in the same form group and made to sit together.

They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner…

From the author of Solitaire and Radio Silence comes a bind up of the first two chapters of Heartstopper, an ongoing webcomic.

Trigger Warnings?

Depictions of physical assault and bullying. Depictions are relatively short and not extremely graphic!

Representation

Confirmed gay main character, confirmed bisexual main character, confirmed bisexual side character, and confirmed lesbian side character

“You can’t tell whether people are gay by what they look like. And gay or straight aren’t the only two options.”

— Alice Oseman

Thoughts

This was,,,, so incredibly adorable.

I read this graphic novel for my friend Chanelle’s readathon, the VSCO Girl readathon (if you guys want to read my TBR post where I mention this book, it’ll be linked here!), and I wasn’t disappointed at all!

Charlie and Nick’s budding relationship is so pure while also being so healthy and it was something that really stuck with me. They’re just so nice to/for each other and I love it a whole lot.

Honestly, my main things with this graphic novel is that I love the representation and I love the budding couple. I don’t really have any deep or drawn out thoughts for this one.

Verdict ~

Cute as hell and I can’t wait to continue the series! I plan on reading what’s been posted online so far but eventually, I do want to own all of the volumes physically!

10/10 cuteness, do recommend.


Links ~

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Chapters | Waterstones | Half Price Books


That’s all for me today, guys!

I hope you have a wonderful day and, until next time, don’t miss me too much ~

— Ash

Book Review > ‘Don’t Read the Comments’ by Eric Smith

~ A huge thank you goes out to NetGalley for providing me with this e-book. All opinions stated are mine and mine alone ~

Hello, my angels ~

And welcome back to another review — specifically, another blog tour! Thank you to Harlequin for putting on this blog tour and Netgalley for providing the book!

Oh! Before we get into the review portion, this book is an ARC and is set to be released on January 28, 2020 (which, funnily enough, is my brother’s birthday — which has nothing to do with this book but it’s a fun coincidence so there)


Page Number

368

Genre

YA > Contemporary; Romance

Summary

Divya Sharma is a queen.

Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.

Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.

At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…

And she isn’t going down without a fight.

Trigger Warnings

Physical assault, mention of sexual assault, stalking/doxxing, harassment (both online and in-person), and racist, sexist, and misogynistic speak.

Representation

Two main POC characters — I’m not entirely sure on specifics :/

Thoughts While Reading

“Oh hell yeah!”
“This is pure bonding times”
“Fuck yeah”
“I love her so much”
“Taste!”
“This entire interaction is the purest shit”
“Me after I say anything”
“They’re always named Chad!”
“Oh hop OFF”
“Fuck yeah I like her”
“That’s the purest shit omg”
“It really was”
“Hell yeah”
“I’m cry”
“I don’t trust that”
“Shut up”
“That’s,,,,,, oddly uplifting”
“Odd flex but okay”

“Anyhow, that’s my story, and you don’t have to share yours. I just hope it makes you laugh.”

— Aaron Jericho, page 121

Thoughts

I don’t normally read books that take a more front seat approach to fan culture, but I have to say, I really enjoyed this book’s take!

The references made in regards to fan culture landed really well to me and made my heart happy when I recognized the root of them and related to them! Divya’s friend is actually a bookstagramer as well and when she named her ship after Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song, my heart felt a little lighter.

Beyond the references though, this book was also relatable in what fan culture, whether it be video games, books, or what have you, mean to some people. For a lot of us, especially people reading this, our passions for books or movies or video games or whatever probably represent a large aspect of our identities. And sometimes, other people understanding our passions, let alone finding others who share them, who feel them like we do, is incredibly difficult and can be discouraging when no one around us actually gets it.

For example, I live and breathe books. Yes, I have other parts of my identity but a large portion of who I am is based in books. But growing up in an incredibly small town, no one really got books the way I got books. And, because of that, I felt like an outsider looking in and . . . you almost feel like something is wrong with you — because you don’t fit it with everyone else. But then I found the book side of the internet — made up of this vast expanse of people who understand. And it makes me feel a little less lonely.

It’s like this quote from a book I read once —

“No, you’re alone in your own boat. That’s the most terrible part about dying — you have to do it alone.” “Even so, even though you’re alone in your boat, it’s always comforting to see the lights of the other boats bobbing nearby.”

— Dave and Unknown, page 172

I may have been alone in my reality, but virtually, I wasn’t anymore. And I think this book showed the power of having this — of seeing the boats bobbing nearby — quite well.

Well that got oddly deep pretty fast. Moving on!

A darker and unpleasant side to any fan culture are the racist, misogynistic, and sexist buttheads who have to make sure everyone knows that this person doesn’t belong and they do. Every sub-category of fan culture has one and this book explores the ones present in gaming quite well.

However, there are two things that I had a slight problem with over the course of this novel. Firstly, the book is pretty fast paced — which isn’t something I normally have a problem with! But this pacing was almost too fast in some places. I especially noticed it near the ending — I kind of wished we had gotten a more drawn out ending resolution because what we did get felt a little abrupt to me. Lastly, this book deals with a lot of deep topics but I think it only really delves into and fleshes out the ones present in fan culture — which is great! — but there were also problems with each main character’s family and ones in their personal lives that I don’t really think got the attention they deserved/warranted.

“In a universe of trillions of planets, the only place I want to be is here with you.”

— Eric Smith, page 368

The Verdict ~

All in all, a really great read that, if any of what I described appeals to you, I recommend greatly!


Links!

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Half Price Books | Indiebound


That’s all I have for you today, angels!

Until next time, don’t miss me too much ~

— Ash

Book Review > ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Hello, my angels ~

God, it’s so good to be back.

I’m sorry my upload schedule has been /so/ sporadic for the past view months — life has been crazy and I’ve barely been keeping up.

But! I’m finally back and am working towards a semi-coherent schedule and when I know what it is, so will you.

I’m going to shut up now so we can get into the juicy portion of this post — the review ~


Page Number

355

Genre

Fiction > Historical Fiction

Summary

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & the Six: The band’s album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ‘n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she was the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & the Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

Trigger Warnings?

Alcoholism, drug abuse/drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, abortion, sexual assault, rape, cheating, homophobia, biphobia, mentions of suicide, and emotional abuse

Thoughts While Reading

“I like that”
“I’m! Already! Sad!”
“Hell yeah”
“Damn”
“I’ve had a few of those”
“They’re so cute omg”
“Hell yeah”
“Bitch”
“I love this scene”
“Hell yeah, we are”
“Does he???”
“Wait what”
“Pls shut up”
“Shut up, Graham”
“I will beat you”
“Oh shit — author = *redacted*”

“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse. I am not a muse. I am the somebody. End of fucking story.”

— Daisy Jones, page 16
Thoughts

Let’s start with the stuff that I liked!

I loved the setting. I loved reading scenes in which Daisy was at a concert or meeting the singers and the bands that I grew up listening to. I’m only 18, so there was no way I would have been around in the rock scene in the 60s and 70s so this book was almost like a way in which I could go to the concerts and experience the atmosphere associated with the bands that I listened to.

“It is what I have always loved about music. Not the sounds or the crowds or the good times as much as the words — the emotion, and the stories, the truth — that you can let flow right out of your mouth.”

Daisy Jones, page 119

I also really enjoyed the emphasis on music. Which I know sounds like a given with a book literally set in the rock music scene but hear me out. I loved that I could connect with how Daisy and Billy felt about music. I’m the kind of person who always has something playing around me. Now, my music taste ranges across a multitude of genres, but 70s-80s rock will always be my first love. And I love it for the reasons these characters talked about — so that was something I really connected to.

Now, for the things that I didn’t like/didn’t care about —

Virtually everything and everyone else.

Now, let me explain, starting with the main characters. I would lay my life on the line for Karen Karen and Camila Dunne, but everyone else? I range from either not caring about them to straight up not liking them — and that goes for Billy and Daisy, too.

I didn’t care about Billy and Daisy at all, separately or in whatever weird romance thing they were doing. I think they had a lot of good quotes and important moments together, but I think those would have been valued by me a whole heck of a lot more if the pair had just remained bandmates and friends. In this book, it seemed like there was this omnipresent idea that all of the main female characters had to have a romantic interest, whether or not it lasted, and that’s never been something I particularly enjoyed. But, I was okay to put this book at a 3.5/4 stars and move on — just because I loved the atmosphere and nostalgic effect it had on me that much.

“It’s like some of us are chasing after our nightmares the way other people chase dreams.”

— Daisy Jones, page 164

The last page, that email, is where I have a problem. So, if you haven’t read the book and don’t know what email I’m referring to, stop reading now 😉

Before I get into this, I feel like I should issue a reminder that all of this is my own personal opinion. You don’t have to agree with me and I’m not trying to convince you that I’m right — I’m just writing about what I felt/feel about this book. SO ~

In my eyes, Billy and Daisy were toxic together. I think a friendship/partnership between the two would have the potential to be forged into something beautiful, but the pair as they were in that time were romantically toxic. To me, in that email, Camilla was insinuating that the pair would meet up and possibly become romantically involved since songwriting between the pair was virtually always about love or heartbreak.

Now, there is the total possibility that because Billy and Daisy had both matured and healed greatly since 1979, any relationship between the two would have been healthy and wonderful and maybe could have offered a sense of closure. But to me, it felt like a cop out and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

“Art doesn’t owe anything to anyone. Songs are about how it felt, not the facts. Self-expression is about what it feels to live, not whether you had the right to claim any emotion at any time.”

— Daisy Jones, page 213

Finally, my last problem. This book floats over a lot of heavy topics. I say floats over because, to me, these issues aren’t really touched on as much as I would have liked.

In my eyes, it’s more like we talk about these issues as they happen and not really the aftermath of them, which is something I personally look for in novels that deal with topics such as drug abuse, sexual assault, and so on.

So, I felt pretty unfulfilled in that area as well.

The two of you think you’re lost souls, but you’re what everybody is looking for.”

Camila Dunne, page 320

The Verdict

I wanted/was expecting something heavier out of this book about the true pros and cons of the whole sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll scene told through someone who was living in it, and that just isn’t this book. And that’s okay.

If you’re interested in a glimpse into this world, I would recommend this book but if you’re looking for something that really dives into it, I would caution you.


Links ~

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Bert’s Books | Chapters | Waterstones | Half Price Books | Indiebound


That is all for today, angels — it is so good to be back.

Until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

– Ash

VSCO Girls Readathon TBR

Hello, my angels ~

I’m /so/ excited about this post because one of my dear friends, Chanelle (@chanelletime), has created a readathon around VSCO girls and that,,,, is just incredible.

This readathon runs from January 1-31 and we’ll run over the prompts as I run over my books!

Before we begin, you may notice that this post is uhhhh pretty late and that is because I’ve been busy with my new semester beginning and getting re-acquainted with university. So I’m sorry about that! But because of this, I’ve already knocked out a few challenges and we’ll go ahead and talk about my thoughts when we get to them!

Let’s get into it!


Hydroflask > A hard hitting contemporary or a book that’s 400+ pages

For this prompt, I’m going with a book that’s 400+ pages!

(That may be a mistake because I’m back at uni this month but WHO CARES)

I’ve been in a /loose/ process of rereading the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series and this is the perfect time for me to get to the next book in the series!

Let’s see how it goes 🤪

A few days older Ash here! So, I’ve been thinking about this pick and I realized that there’s another book I could use for this one, and I’ll probably choose between the two by whatever my mood reading self wants more whenever I get to this prompt.

This other book is . . .

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman!

I tried to read this book in December but I got into a reading slump so I just put it aside and didn’t read much in for a while.

Whether I get to this book during this readathon or after, I do want to read it because, based off of what I’ve seen in other reviews, it seems like it will most likely break my heart.

Love that for me!


Scrunchies > a book with a gorgeous cover

SO

First, I had The Starless Sea as this prompt’s book but that was before my dear friend Allie sent me 3 books — Illuminae included.

With the hardcover copy, when you take off the dust-jacket, the cover looks like a blackout file and it’s the coolest shit.

No doubt that The Starless Sea has a gorgeous cover, but Illuminae‘s made me lose my shit.


Over-Sized T-Shirts > a book out of your comfort zone

I don’t read a lot of historical fiction and when I do, it’s primarily true-crime related historical fiction *cough* *cough* The Stalking Jack the Ripper Series *cough*

But I picked this book up on a whim at Target a few months ago because I had seen it floating around and thought about giving it a shot! I’ve only ever read one other book that was historical fiction in relation to the Holocaust so I feel like this one was a good pick for this prompt!

I’m also in a history class this semester at uni that focuses on the Holocaust specifically so it turned out being perfect!


VSCO > a book loved by one of your faves

When I saw this prompt, I knew I was going to do one of the many books that I’ve read because of Nikki.

My options were The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, The Devouring Gray, and They Both Die at the End —

I went with The Devouring Gray because I really wasn’t in the mood to cry I’m in enough emotional turmoil as it is.

As of me writing this post, I have already reread this book and I’m feeling everything I felt this first time, all over again.

God, I can’t wait until The Deck of Omens is released.


Sksksk and I Oop > pick a random book

My grandmother got me this book for Christmas and I knew I had to read it right away!

But that feeling intensified when one of my dearest friends Allie (whom I mentioned above) also bought it (she’s so sweet please check her out I love her bye) for me for Christmas!

So, in truth, I don’t really have a choice.

I actually finished this book last night, as of me writing this, and my thoughts are still incoherent fresh, but I will say that this book holds the ranking for my favorite book of the year so far. It was so beautiful, so entrancing, and so lovely — I could spend forever immersed in its pages and not get bored. I’m planning on writing a full review for it but, honestly, who knows when that’ll be.


Polaroid > a non-fiction or nostalgic book

So, I actually had Alice in Zombieland for this prompt because it’s the source of so much nostalgic for me but I had planned on reading it as part of a buddy read with one of my university friends (who you guys may be hearing from later ;)) but we pushed off Alice in Zombieland and replaced it with another book, which I’ll talk about in a bit.

I was planning on reading it alone and then rereading it with her later, but then it hit me —

I have the perfect book for this prompt!

Love’s Executioner is a non-fiction book about a psychotherapist who describes 10 of his patients. I used to want to be a clinical psychiatrist and one of my high school teachers actually gave me this book, hence the nostalgic. Even after I decided to pursue English, this book has kept it’s space in my heart and I will always come back to it —

And it’s the perfect time for a reread!


Mario Badescu > a book that’s overhyped

Originally, I was going to read the first volume of Paper Girls (a recommendation from the readathon’s founder herself) until one of my fave’s (Allie has made her return) bought me the first volume of Heartstopper for Christmas!

So I read that on February 4th, in the passenger seat of a car which was taking me back to Uni.

And it was so cute :<

I can’t wait until I get the second volume so I can gush all over again.


Puka Shell Necklace > buddy read with a friend

Honestly, it could be that I end of finishing both of these books this months, I don’t really know.

But! Both of them I am buddy reading with a uni friend of mine. I know for sure I’ll finish The Catcher in the Rye, but Ninth House is still up in the air.


Stickers Galore > a manga or a graphic novel

Listen, I made the decision to read some pretty big books during my first month back at university —

I had to give myself a little bit of a break.

I’m good, but I’m not that good.


Group Book > Frankly in Love by David Yoon

And finally — we have the group book!

I’ve actually already read Frankly in Love, so yay for me!


That is all I have for today, you guys!

Happy New Year, angels and until next time — don’t miss me too much.

– Ash

Top 10 Reads of 2019/2019 Wrap Up

Hello, my angels ~

And Happy New Year’s Eve (or Happy New Year’s Day, depending on where you are)!

My last post of 2019 is going to be a quick wrap up of my reading/blogging year and my top 10 reads of 2019! I’ll do the wrap up first and if you’re not interested in that, you can scroll down to the next section and stop when you start to see pictures of books!

I have a feeling that this may be a long one, so let’s go ahead and get into it!


To start off, I set my Goodreads goal to read 60 books —

and I ended up reading 92 instead! That was incredibly surprising to me but also a really amazing feeling. For 2020, I’m thinking I’m going to set my goal to be 100, but I’m not completely sold on that idea yet. 100 reads just seems very daunting to me.

Though I had a good reading year, one of, if not the, best I’ve ever had, my blogging year wasn’t as great — but only at a personal standpoint. My blog grew so much this year and I think I really found my niche this year but around June, my posting schedule all but diminished. I took an official hiatus for a bit, and then it got the point where I would post sometimes, but not near as much as I used to and, more importantly, not near as much as I wanted to.

There are a lot of reasons for this that I can point out. I graduated high school in June and the day after my graduation, my family life was turned upside down in both a good and bad way. It was a relief, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry a lot and am still reeling in the aftermath — but I’m so much better than I was! I’ve had a lot of support from my friends (online and in person alike) my family, and my therapist. But going through that and trying to heal from it made being any sort of productive during that time very difficult and unappealing to me. It was also my last month of being with my friends before I moved, so I wanted to make the most of it, in terms of being with my them. For most of June, pretty much all I did was spend time with my bros, watch Ghost Adventures with my little cousin (who I probably shouldn’t have exposed this show to but whatever we’re like 15 seasons in and he’s FINE), read, and journal.

Then, in July, I spent most of the time with my ma and my grandmother prepping for university. And in August, I started uni!! It was really busy but also so much fun. I love my school so much and the community and city around it is just perfect for me.

The amount of aesthetically pleasing cafes is fucking unreal.

Basically, my life was a mess, but most of the time a fun one, during the last six months of 2019 — but I’m catching up on the reviews of books I read in that time and I’m going to do everything in my power to keep up better with you guys come next year.

Thank you for sticking with me while I was being flaky, it means so much to me.

Now! Let’s get into my top 10 reads of 2019!


Honorable Mention > The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This book is so beautiful.

It has one of the most wonderful and immersive atmospheres I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about and the side stories that were in second person made me lose my shit.

I love tidbits like that in books and I always find myself coming back to them, especially the ones in The Night Circus.


X. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Yes, yes, I know — surprising.

I feel like this book was on everyone’s top reads of 2018 and weaseled its way into the hearts of everyone who picked it up. Which is very valid because that’s what it DESERVES.

I finally picked this book up because of Nikki but I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as everyone else did.

Plot twist — I did.

To this day, I still find myself thinking about this book and different elements and themes from it and omg it’s just so good.


IX. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Loved this one so much that I read it twice!!

This is the 2nd Nikki recommended book I have on this list and it’s uhhhh not the last.

Whoops.

But anyways! This book is my second favorite standalone novel (second only to Girl in Pieces) and it also holds the record for the book that I’ve sobbed the most during.

I feel like that’s all you guys need to know.


VIII. Stalking Jack the Ripper Series by Kerri Maniscalco

I know there are four books in this series, but I’m not putting the picture of Capturing the Devil up because I haven’t read it yet (but oh my GOD I want to).

This series has made its way to be one of my favorite series of all time and my favorite series of four books or more.

It has everything I love — a badass female lead, a cute romantic interest/endgame, a young feminist in the making cousin, and murder. I know that last one sounds creepy but I’m leaving it!


VII. Sadie by Courtney Summers

Speaking of murder, my number 7 is Sadie by Courtney Summers.

This book is a masterpiece and one of its major themes is something I’m incredibly passionate about.

As a lover of true crime, one of the first things you realize is just how easily an investigation can be misled or screwed up due to a lack of training, discrimination against the victims, etc.

Sadie focuses on the lack of instruction and training given to small town police stations in cases involving rape or murder and tells how important it is by making the main character, Sadie, chase after the man who killed her little sister, Mattie.

There are so many unsolved cases of murdered girls, teenagers, and women that hopefully will be solved one day but Sadie talks about one — and even though it’s fiction, it doesn’t make the general consensus any less true.


VI. The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

We are up to the last of the Nikki recommendations!

Nikki actually bought me this book as a graduation present and mayhaps I cried.

The characters and their interactions hurt my heart in the best possible way (I would die for Isaac and Harper ESPECIALLY) and this book’s exploration of mental illness and trauma is done in such a beautiful and emotional way.


V. The Shadowglass by Rin Chupeco

This series as a whole is one of my favorites but the last book in the trilogy was the only one I read this year and BOY LET ME TELL YOU

it was so incredible.

I wish more people knew about this series because has some of the most dynamic and gorgeous works I’ve ever read okay I’m in love.

This book within itself was the perfect ending and I couldn’t have asked for more, honestly.


IV. Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

This is the only non-fiction book I have on this list and for good reason.

This is a dual-memoir written by the co-hosts of one of my favorite podcasts, My Favorite Murder.

These women talk about the worst and most memorable moments in their lives and how those made them love true crime. And they do this while branching off of one of the quotes that have blown up due to the podcast.

It’s just so good OOF.


III. Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food and Love, An Anthology

This book made me laugh, cry, and go into a slight existential crisis about death and I loved every second of it.

It reminded me of the best times of my childhood and the best people who were in it. I read this book twice this year, both in times when I needed it the most.

One was in June, when my life was a mess, to say the least, and the other was when I was away at university, in a time when I was really missing my ma and grandmother.

It’s one that I think I’ll always need by my side.


II. The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff

I can’t believe that I read this entire series this year. It feels like it simultaneously took away and added years to my lifespan.

This series is my favorite trilogy I’ve ever read and it has some of the most memorable characters and plot points that still keep me awake at night, in the best possible way.

(I need to do a reread asap omg)

And finally, at number 1, we have . . .


I. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

This book was hands-down my favorite from this year.

I don’t want to talk about my thoughts too much because I still need to write my review for it but I will say this.

Ninth House is for the survivors. To the people who have lived through the worst that humanity has to offer, this is for you. Grab your metal baseball bat and raise hell, angels.

(Figuratively, of course)


And, with that, I say goodbye to you, 2019.

Again, thank you to every angel who reads and subscribes to my ramblings. I wouldn’t be who I am today without all of you and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

What are you guys planning on reading come Jan. 1? Are you doing a Goodreads goal? Let me know down below!

Until next year, don’t miss me too much ~

~ Ash

End of the Year Book Tag (2019)

Hello, my angels ~

We’re almost done with 2019 (and the decade) and I couldn’t be happier! I hope you all had a wonderful year/decade and I hope I get to come into the new year with you all.

This is the first of two “end of the year” type posts that I’m going to be uploading, so stay tuned for the second one!

In this post, I’ll be doing the End of the Year Book Tag! I’m not exactly sure who created it (if you know, please let me know in the comments) but I’ve seen so many book bloggers and booktubers alike do this tag and I just wanted to do it myself! I saw this for the first time over on Tomes with Tea — my reference post actually being her 2018 tag ~

Alright, I’ve gone on long enough — let’s get into it —


I. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

Need is a strong word.

I started The Guinevere Deception earlier this month and I’m about 40-ish pages in . . .

but I’m not really in the reading mood right now! I’m currently on winter break and so I’ve just been trying to take this time to unwind, catch up on netflix and youtube, spend time with my ma and grandma, and journal to my hearts content.

Truthfully, I don’t have a huge urge to read right now and I think I’m just going to wait until the new year to pick up another book, unless something catches my eye before then!


II. Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

I don’t have any for the end of the year, but I already have a few books in mind to start off 2020!

One of my dear friends Chanelle (you can find her @chanelletime on Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram) is hosting a readathon called the VSCO Girls Readathon and I think her challenges and prompts are going to help me transition into the new year (and new semester) quite nicely!

Over to your left are the five books that I have in mind for the new year!

First up, we have The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern — a book I got for Christmas, is covering the challenge of read a book with a gorgeous cover, and that I truly am so excited to read. Next, we have the White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter. I plan on rereading this entire series in January with a uni friend of mine, but for the purpose of the readathon and the challenges, Alice in Zombieland will be fulfilling the challenges of a buddy read with a friend and a nostalgic read.

As we get closer to the readathon! I will be making a post about my full TBR and posting pictures of my bullet journal spread to my instagram, so stay tuned for that!


III. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

I don’t have anything for the end of 2019!

This year, I actually haven’t been keeping track of releases as well as I would have liked, but that is (hopefully) set to change next year!

Also! Sometime before or around June of 2020 (YES, I know that’s very vague but it’s fine lol), I’m planning on making a post about my anticipated releases/thoughts on ones that are already out and I’ve read!

I’ll figure all the details next year oof, let’s just go to the next question ~


IV. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

I think I’m done, my guy.


V. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favorite book of the year?

Lol, nah.

If you guys are interested in a post about my 2019 reading year, keep an eye out for the second “End of the Year” post!


VI. Have you already started making reading plans for 2020?

Hell yeah!!!

Besides participating in the VSCO Girls Readathon, I have so many plans for blog/book related spreads for my bullet journal (a lot of people keep separate journals — I find that having it all in one place is a lot easier for me — but that also means I’m probably going to need a new journal come June 🤪). Hopefully, these spreads will help me be more on top of my posting and reading and hopefully I’ll be talking to you angels more than I have in the past few months.

I can’t wait to be back here regularly ~


And that is IT for this tag! Thank you for tuning in 🖤

I hope you guys have an amazing day/night and until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

~ Ash

Blog Tour Book Review > ‘The Devil’s Apprentice’ by Kenneth B. Anderson

Hello, my angels ~

I got a quick review for you guys today because I have about 15-20 minutes to write it!!

Yay for procrastination.

But! Before we get into it, this book is apart of TheWriteRead’s Blog Tour and you guys should definitely check out everyone else’s posts!!!

Now, let’s get into it.


Page Number

311

Genre

YA > Fantasy, Paranormal

Summary

Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy. Philip is terrible at being bad, but Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training him in the ways of evil. Philip gets both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld—but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?

Trigger Warnings?

None spotted! But if you guys have read this book and found some, let me know!

Thoughts While Reading

“Fucking nerd
“He’s going to regret that in Uni”
“You little psychopath what the fuck”
“That’s legendary”
“Nah, I think you’re dead my guy”
“I hope the cat’s okay”
“That’s what they all say”
“I would like to have some
words with them”
“They were both hit by cars that SUCKS”
“Of course he does”
“I would kind of die for Lucifer”
“👀👀”

“Because good exists because of evil, and vice versa. Without darkness there would be no light. Without night there would be no day. And without evil, then there would be no good. If we separate things, then we’re left with nothing.

— Lucifer, Loc. 658
Thoughts

Gonna be real, I read this in the middle of finals session (oh my GOD) when I was in a sort-of reading slump, and I was fully expecting to not get into it.

I’m happy to say that that didn’t happen!

I was engaged throughout the entirety of this novel and I read it in 2 sittings (probably could have done one but I had to study SO).

I really liked most of the characters! Lucifer was such a fun evil dude and the demons we meet are so wonderful and funny as well. There were multiple times in which something a demon said made me laugh out loud! And how could I forget Lucifax, everyone’s favorite demon black cat!

On the other hand, I had a hard time connecting with Philip. He just wasn’t /that/ interesting to me so I found myself skimming the times in which he was alone and really paying attention during his times with other characters.

Another thing I really liked about this novel was the pacing! I could see how some people may say that it’s almost too fast, but for me when I was in a slump, it was perfect!!

The mystery component was pretty cool as well!! It all came to a head pretty fast and I guessed who the culprit was, but it was still a good time!!

“She was the one producing the light. It glowed from beneath her skin, as if each bone in her body was forged in fire. To look directly at her was like staring into the sun.”

— Kenneth B. Anderson, Loc. 3812

The Verdict

This book was super enjoyable, relatively engaging, and I would definitely like to read the rest of the series!

Totally recommend if the premise interests you, if you’re in a slump, or if you like a pure dad-like Lucifer and a demon cat 😉


Links ~

Goodreads | Amazon  

(I can’t find it on other common book buying websites I’m sorry bye)


Bye for now! Until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉