Topic Tuesday – Hype Disappointments and Ratings

Today for Topic Tuesday I want to talk about some of the books that just didn’t live up to the hype for me and how I rate them. I feel like people think that Goodreads is the place to tell everyone how you feel personally when really we should be focusing mostly on critically – the characters, the plot, the setting… it drives me crazy when someone KNOWS they don’t like this author, or this genre and they rate the book poorly. “I don’t like adult romance so 1 star.” Like ? Why are you even reading it? Just say, “not for me,” and don’t rate it because you didn’t really give it a fair chance because you already didn’t like it!

I don’t believe that it’s fair for us to also rate books that are for an audience that isn’t for us poorly.  I’m a 31 year old, I’m not middle grade, or YA so when I rate a YA book and it’s too juvenile, I rate it as if I were that age. How would I feel back then? I see people on Goodreads reviewing books like City of Ghosts saying its too young and giving it 3 or less stars. Excuse me?!

I’m not trying to make this a negative Nancy post but I do think it’s important that we are honest with ourselves and our audience. I think we need to remember that authors are people to and we can’t bash them or rate their books poorly if we read it when it wasn’t marketed towards us. So with that being said, here are some books that for me, critically and personally, did not live up to the hype regardless of the issues listed above.


  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – There are so many problematic themes in this book just for the sake of being problematic. I have zero interest in reading TWK and QoN.
  • After by Anna Todd – Again, problematic and abusive themes that don’t really get addressed… it’s romanticized.
  • The Mortal Instruments by Cassie Clare – Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE THE INFERNAL DEVICES, but I cannot get into TMI. I’ve tried multiple times. I think the writing is poor and there is a weird taboo relationship theme going on here.
  • Dark Age by Pierce Brown – I am so beyond disappointed in this book. I was bored for so much of it. This adult scifi definitely needed some more meat.
  • The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young – Another book that felt like it had zero plot. I didn’t connect to any of the characters.
  • The Fever King by Victoria Lee – This book was just all around bad. It was promoted as a YA scifi/fantasy but I wouldn’t want my young teen kids to read this. The inappropriate language was flippant and unnecessary and seemed to be there for show. The plot had mega holes.

Now, although these books didn’t work for me personally or critically, that doesn’t mean they won’t work for you! I am a FIRM believer in people reading, no book should be shamed (unless it’s ridiculous… yall know what I mean), so if The Cruel Prince makes you happy, I’M HAPPY FOR YOU! I want you to be excited and to celebrate reading in any capacity!

I’m back posting this because I forgot to publish it yesterday LOL!

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Mood Monday – I’m feeling BLAH!

Happy Monday! I woke up feeling energized only to be hit with some serious laziness. I made the mistake of giving Chase Benadryl last night for his allergies and he woke up around 9:30am, groggy as hell so I let him stay home.

I turned on Muse of Nightmares that I’m buddy reading with Amanda (@bibliomaniacamanda) and I had forgotten how much heartbreak this book has. I know that Strange the Dreamer is rough, but the two new protags, Nova and Kora, and the insight to Minya just cracks your heart in two. I’m halfway through Part II and I know so much more awaits me.

The rest of this week will be spent trying to push through Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. I absolutely love his writing but with the House Cup Readathon going on the last few months I kept pushing it back. Now we changed the way points are tallied so I’d love to just knock it out!

I have a few book reviews to write, I recently read Rules of Vanishing and honestly I am so upset with how this book unfolded.. but that’s for another post!

I hope you guys have an amazing week!

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TGIF – FORREAL

Oh my gosh you guys! I haven’t posted anything for like.. 2 weeks? I am SO BEHIND it’s not even funny! I’m sitting here stuffing my face with leftover pasta, just thinking about the insanity that has been my life. Let’s rewind a little.

Last Wednesday – Chuck ran himself over with a power jack with a pallet of beer on it; busted his foot wide the hell open! We sat in the ER for 6 hours for them to give him 3 stitches, a boot that was too small, and no crutches even though they charged insurance for some. Luckily his work is covering the cost of the medical bills but DANG, his foot was gnarly! Chuck was off Thursday, Friday, and the following Monday so naturally we treated this like an unexpected vacation. Hence the reason for my lack of posts. My family will always come first y’all!

This Tuesday – This was Chuck’s first day back at work. I had so much catching up to do, mainly over on Bookstagram! I was so behind on my own comments, my algorithm group comments, my DMs… holy moly my DMs were wild! Most of them were well wishes for Chuck so that felt really good!!

Wednesday I was finally getting back into the groove of  my social media life. I was caught up on my partnership posts and started reading An Ember in the Ashes via audio with @bibliomaniacamanda because she’s never read it *GASP*. I love that series with my whole heart.

Thursday I had to help at my son’s school for a teacher luncheon and then I had Chase’s parent teacher conference. Chase’s reading score is off the charts for second grade and the rest of his report was so impressive. I am so proud of my little guy!

Friday – today… BOO BLAST. I woke up this morning and loaded the kids up, met my cousin at Lowes to pick up hay bales, delivered them to the school and started setting up for the Boo Blast/Trunk or Treat event. This was for the catholic schools in the region. It started at 5 so I went and set up a cute little trunk (a camping scene lolol) and made a ton of Mom jokes that the kids didn’t laugh at but the parents did (SCORE). Chase had a blast! My in laws had Xander and took him to the event for a little bit, but it was just so cold!

So… here I am, sitting at the computer trying to give an update of the whirlwind that has been my life for the last two weeks. Xander is asleep and Chase is off with his bio dad for the weekend. I hope everyone has been enjoying their Friday and I hope you’re loving what you’re reading! Along with AEITA, I’m also reading Royally Screwed, which is an adult smut novel and my oh my is it steamy! Shane East (who is Steve West) narrates it and it is just so good! If you’re looking for a good adult, non cheesy romance with a good plot, This series is for you! They are all standalones as well!

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Soulwalkers by Cassidy Thomas

Soulwalkers by Cassidy Thomas
Publisher: Little Big Books
Publication Date: December 3rd, 2019
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis:

Kia LaStrauss can see into your soul with the touch of her hand. She can see your fears, desires, wants. She can see your past. Your present. Your future. She is a Soulwalker. 

New Orleans is the city Kia calls home: a city of revelry, jazz, wonder, and magic. She grew up listening to stories of magic and mysticism, but they were just stories… or so she thought. After experiencing two visions of the future, Kia learns of the existence of Soulwalkers, and that she is one of them. With the help of her mentor Ian, she begins to learn what she is capable of, and the consequences of her newfound power. But even Ian cannot prepare her for what she will discover. 

Kia is thrown into a world once unimaginable, where the touch of a hand could kill her and every new discovery can change the course of her life forever. 


DISCLAIMER:
Thank you Cassidy Thomas for this free finished copy to read and review. This is no way shapes my opinions, all thoughts expressed are my own.


REVIEW

I really enjoyed this YA urban fantasy! I love stories that center in New Orleans because the world-building is always so rich. Within this world, we have Soulwalkers, people who can see your soul with a touch… however, there is a balance to this magic system. This adds a level of stress to this ability, throwing me for a loop when you learn about Kia’s first walk. This book explores more magic than soul walking but I don’t want to say too much and spoil the surprises! This book has many twists and turns, some totally unexpected! This is a super quick, exciting read and I would recommend this to anyone who likes books you can devour in a sitting!

I liked the multiple points of view as I’m always wondering what everyone is thinking other than the MC. It just gives a book more depth to me.

***could be considered spoilery***

I enjoyed the romance aspect as I’m a total romance sucker. The only thing I think can be worked upon is the term of endearment. Ian would call Kia kid when they had a “mentor/student,” relationship but once it was more it seemed a bit demeaning. Calling the person you’re interested in as “kid,” isn’t for me, but honestly I think it could just be my own opinion! Other than that, I was totally rooting for the characters!

This book is available for preorder on Amazon and will be available 12/3!

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TGIF – I’m Going to LA!

Tomorrow I fly out with my mom to Los Angeles, CA! This will be my first time in LA and my second time in California! I’m a midwestern gal and I typically stay put! Ha! I cannot wait to eat all of the food! I’m hoping to also find a Korean bookstore… maybe pick up the Korean edition of Harry Potter! How cool would that be? I’m going to read a few chapters of The Ten Thousand Doors of January tonight for a buddy read with my gal Kat (@kathardistywrites) and then I will start All the Stars and Teeth with Kelli (@starlightfaerytale) on Monday!

This week I re-read via audio Clockwork Angel and I forgot how much I missed Will and Jem. Knowing Will and his backstory just made it that much more heartbreaking. The first time I read this series I didn’t really feel bothered by any of the characters but OH MY GOSH, when Nathaniel came around and Jessamine was all over him, y’all, I wanted to reach into the phone and choke both of them! So annoying! This was also my first time listening to the audio. I don’t necessary enjoy the narrator. Tessa is supposed to be young but she sounded in her 70’s. It was perfect for the Dark sisters, LOL!

I’m planning on reading Conversations with a Killer this weekend while traveling. I have a fascination with serial killers, but Ted Bundy in particular, people seem to romanticize him. So before I write about him for Topic Tuesday next week (along with the book review), I want to see what that book is about. I mean, everyone says he was a handsome, unassuming man, but is that really how he was perceived? Most people look at photos of Ted Bundy and do not feel that way!

Chuck (@mr.rqdavis_) will not be traveling with me on this LA journey! He is going to the Leigh Bardugo book signing for me in St. Louis, MO! How sweet is that? He’s bringing Shadow and Bone to get signed and is getting a signed copy of Ninth House for Amanda! Shadow and Bone is such a special story to me because Chuck reminds me so much of Mal… I know everyone loves the Darkling… but I’ll always love Mal more! I can’t wait to see his stories! Follow him on his insta to see! The signing is tomorrow!

Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I’ll be back for Mood Monday with stories of my whirlwind 24 hours in LA and hopefully have some cool new things to share!


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Thirsty Thursday – Fireborne by Rosaria Munda

Wow wow wow, where in the heck did Thursday go? Let’s talk about an upcoming release that I am lucky to be a part of! Fireborne by Rosaria Munda!

Fireborne is a debut trilogy published by Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers! I am so excited for this as this is supposed to be like Game of Thrones x Red Rising! SIGN ME UP! I am so excited to have the chance to read this book early as it releases on October 15th, 2019! I plan on binging it all weekend long! You can pre-order HERE or from most online book sellers!


Synopsis:

Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that’s full of rivalry, romance… and dragons.

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders. Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city. With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.


Will you be reading Fireborne when it releases? I cannot wait to see the reviews!

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Wild Wednesday – WWW!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and brought back by Taking on a World of Words.

Rules are to just answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently reading: Soulwalkers by Cassidy Thomas
This book is an urban fantasy set in New Orleans! Kia learns that she is a Soulwalker; she can see the past, present, future, hopes, wants, dreams, etc in a person’s soul… but that doesn’t mean anything is set in stone. I am about halfway through and I am enjoying it! I really like the setting as I love NOLA! We don’t have enough stories written in that place. I am already finding myself attached to some of the characters but I have a feeling the author is not going to give us much mercy! This hits the shelves December 3rd, 2019 and you can pre-order the Kindle edition right now for $1.99!

Recently finished: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
The Wicked Deep is a story about three sisters who were drowned after being accused of being witches. The sisters posses the body of young women in the town and lure men to their death by drowning as revenge for what happened to them. This book has plot twists all over the place and it was perfectly witchy for October. I wrote about some of the problematic themes in my Tuesday post but other than that, I felt like it was a decent read! Solid 3.5!

Reading Next: The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring
I’ve been seeing this book around Bookstagram for a while now so I think it’s time for me to dig in.

Synopsis:
Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life


I hope everyone had a marvelous Wednesday! Tomorrow I’ll be talking about some of the upcoming releases I am excited for!

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Topic Tuesday – Problematic Themes in Literature

Hellllllo everyone! I hope everyone is having an amazing Tuesday! I had to wait until nap time before I could jump on! Below is a triggering topic, so if you are triggered and upset easily, please do not continue reading. I want my blog to be a safe space for everyone! It’s going to be a doozy!


After reading The Wicked Deep, I wanted to talk about problematic themes in literature. Now, I’m not one to get offended easily. I have gone through a fair amount of trauma in my past, which I am very open out; thankfully for me not a lot triggers me into panic. However, there are some topics that make people upset. There are many problematic themes like violence against women, rape, abusive partners that make it into our books.

I for one do not like reading Bully Romance, which is a huge reason as to why I did not like the After series. The reason why I don’t like it is not because of the topic itself, but it’s because sometimes those themes do not serve as a vehicle for the plot. Sometimes these characters are just shitty to be shitty and I can’t stand behind that. With books like The Cruel Prince, Jude and Cardan are SO MEAN to each other and there really isn’t much reason for it other than to be a dick (in my opinion, don’t @ me LOL). In After, Harden and what’s her face (I forgot already), were abusive to each other and then they would make up and then everyone would just gloss over it. They would have intense sex and then all is forgiven until they are screaming at each other in public and emotionally manipulating each other. That is NOT okay for me.

What I mean for a problematic theme to be a vehicle for the plot, is that it has to be addressed in some way and have a meaningful impact on those characters. There are many books out there that talk about race and prejudice and we see those characters go through some tough stuff, but it gets resolved. Someone learns something from it. The aggressor realizes that it’s NOT okay to behave this way. Most of the time, especially in YA literature, we don’t see it addressed – everyone just sweeps it under the rug.

Now to The Wicked Deep. If you haven’t read it, don’t read this paragraph as I will be discussing spoilers. The Wicked Deep is about the spirit of 3 dead sister witches who inhabit the body of girls and lure boys to their death out of revenge from their drowning. Penny, the main character, has what I believe is sex with the main love interest, Bo. Later on it is revealed that it is a sister witch, Hazel, inhabiting her body and she used Penny’s body to get close to Bo. The author literally swept this under the rug. No one even talked about how fucked up that was, not even Bo! Hazel says, please don’t tell Penny what happened, I will leave the good memories for her. Like ? Then we are not told if Bo reveals the truth, which I’m sure he doesn’t since the ending he’s still obsessed with Hazel even though he’s with the real Penny.

That is rape you guys. Penny did not consent to this. It doesn’t matter that she was unaware and that a witch possessed her. It doesn’t matter that Hazel left the “good memories.” Penny could not consent. I am not pointing all of the blame on Bo as he did not know at the time, but I do think it was his responsibility to tell her the truth once he knew and she was Penny again. I had a long conversation with Kibby (www.somethingofthebook.com IG: @somethingofthebook) about how wrong this, in fact she’s the one who initially brought it up and I was like wait no, wtf, I didn’t even think of this!

If the author were to have made Bo reveal what happened and discussed how wrong that was even for a freaking paragraph, I would be singing a different tune. This is how we perpetuate rape culture. It is NOT cute that Bo and Penny are now together and Hazel is a ghost in the wind still whispering she loves him. NO! It’s like Bo got to have his cake and eat it too (thank you Kat IG: @kathardistywrites for this phrasing because it’s PERFECT).

Don’t get me wrong, I still think this is an enjoyable book, but those things need to be fixed. We cannot keep sweeping these problematic themes under the rug. They have to be there for a reason, it has to drive the plot forward. I heard people are boycotting Ninth House because of a problematic theme but then from others I hear it’s addressed in the story. It’s okay to have traumatic events in book! What’s not okay is acting like it’s normal and not discussing the issue for those characters and for the readers.


Well,  thank you all for reading my rant if you’ve made it this far! How do you view problematic themes in literature?

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Mood Monday – New Week/New TBR!

How can it be the second week of October already? This week will be a whirlwind for me as I’ll be headed off to LA with my mom on Saturday morning for a quick trip to KoreaTown! Words cannot express how excited I am! It’s also the last week of the #housecupreadathon19 for October over on Instagram! I’m excited to see who is in the lead!

I am starting off this week with a brand new TBR! I am going to be reading The Wicked Deep and Blackbirds! Kelli (@starlightfaerytale) is going to the Morristown Book Festival soon so we are trying to read books from authors going to that event (Chuck Wendig). I’m also trying to fit in a few short books (Soulwalkers) and write some reviews! Lord only knows where I’ll find the time!

This weekend I read Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (gothic novella) which was Narrated by David Tennant, Rose Leslie, and Phoebe Fox! This audio drama was SO STINKING GOOD y’all! I mean it was legit like listening to a movie. The voice acting was just phenomenal! It’s a super short audible original, the book is about 100ish pages. This was written in 1872, 26 years before Dracula! The female vampire is in love with another woman! Yay LGBT in the 1800s!! I totally recommend this novella via audio!

I hope everyone has an amazing week!

TGIF – Who Else is Busy AF?

WOW! This week just flew by! I totally forgot to post my Thirsty Thursday new and upcoming release post! I might post that this weekend. Chuck and I have spent a lot of time redoing our nook’s flooring! The old owners put laminate over the hardwood so we tore out the old and installed stuff that looks like wood!

Don’t mind my crazy mess 😂 we are going to paint the walls and of course clean up my shelves when everything is done! We still have some to go along the edges but hopefully that’ll be complete by Sunday!

I finished reading A Thousand Pieces of You last night and needless to say I’m not that impressed. I’m going to go ahead and finish the series and I will write a review for the series as a whole. Today I’m going to finish up To Kill a Kingdom, which I am reading for research purposes with my friend to help her with her book! Then I will get to The Wicked Deep!

I’ve heard some mixed reviews about this book, especially about the last page so I’m curious if I will feel the same way. I’m typically an easy raider because I rate critically rather than personally which I think is important. I can’t stand when people write books that are for younger audiences or forgenres they know they don’t like and rate the books poorly!

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

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