Whisper Me This by Kerry Anne King

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  • My rating: 2/5 stars
  • Genre: mystery, contemporary
  • 362 pages
  • TW: domestic abuse/violence, alcoholism
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon

Single mother Maisey Addington has always fallen short of her own mother’s expectations—never married, a bit adrift, wasting her high IQ on dead-end jobs. The only thing Maisey’s sure she’s gotten right is her relationship with her twelve-year-old daughter, Elle…until a phone call blows apart the precarious balance of their lives. Maisey’s mother is in a coma, and her aging father faces charges of abuse and neglect.

Back at her childhood home, Maisey must make a heartrending life-or-death decision. Her confused father has destroyed family records, including her mother’s final wishes. Searching for answers, Maisey uncovers one unspeakable secret after another when she stumbles upon a shattering truth: a twin sister named Marley.

Maisey’s obsession with solving the mystery of her sister forces her to examine her darkest memories and triggers a custody battle with Elle’s father. Will Maisey’s love for her daughter be strong enough to break a cycle of abuse and create a new beginning for them all?

Read below for my spoiler free review.

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Reading shouldn’t be an obligation… (a discussion)

We all have that book (or…several books) that we’ve been wanting to read forever. Perhaps they’ve been sitting on our shelves for ages, or we’ve been meaning to borrow it from the library for a while now.

While TBRs are, of course, inevitable, lately I’ve been wondering if they’re contributing to this sort of obligation I’ve been developing towards reading. Reading has always been my greatest love, and my greatest escape, but recently it’s started to feel like a bit of a chore. I used to devour books, sometimes having to find a new one each day. Now, I find myself counting pages and growing impatient. There are many things that might be adding to this frustration: my reading goal, my desire to produce reviews at a consistent pace, my growing list of books I “need” to read…a lot of it stems from the pressure I put on myself to cycle through books. I’m beginning to wonder if this is affecting my reading, because now it seems like I read for quantity instead of enjoying a book to the fullest. Some of this might come from the label I’ve given myself: “reader”. As a reader, I must enjoy books, I must read a certain amount, then I must review them–or that part of my identity is false, it’s fabricated. I know this is not the case, but sometimes I can’t help feeling that way, especially since I’ve started blogging. I wanted this to be a cathartic experience, but sometimes it can be stressful because I feel that, to be a successful reader and book blogger, I can’t stop reading or posting–ever. 

Now I’ve realized: I need to give myself a little room to breathe. I’m not going to guilt myself over being 7 books behind on my Goodreads reading challenge. I’m not going to feel bad when it takes a couple weeks to read a book that would normally take me a couple days. It’s not healthy, and it’s not promoting this love that I’ve held for books my whole life. So, the books that have been sitting on my shelf can hold tight for a little bit, because I’ll get to them when I can. I want to crave reading like I used to, I want it to be a true release–not something I feel guilty about when I don’t feel like doing it.

41qhpu2riblWriting this down makes me realize that I have every right to focus on other aspects of my life and spend my free time doing other things. I think I’m going to relax my pace on my blog, and probably books as well. I won’t force myself to do it; I’m going to read when I feel the need and write when I feel the need. For anyone who’s read this far…I sincerely appreciate you tolerating my ramblings.
I’m going to start this new direction in my reading with something I recently picked up: Florence Welch’s Useless Magic. It’s a poetry book, which is a genre I’ve never really explored. It has a beautiful aesthetic with thick, creamy pages and gorgeous photographs. I’m going to take my time savoring it, and see if I can get a little of the reading bug to manifest itself meanwhile.

Happy reading,

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Some of my art

Hi everyone! I’d thought I’d share something a little different today. While this is obviously a book blog, and reading is my favorite hobby, I also dabble in drawing and painting. Recently I’ve started creating digital pieces through Photoshop, and I wanted to start documenting my journey with that as well. I don’t draw as much as I’d like to, but I want to share something once a week, or maybe more frequently. Here are a couple paintings that I’ve recently finished:


I have a more diverse portfolio of my art (including watercolor, ink, colored pencils, etc) on my Instagram @lwrendraws.

My current goals for my art are to first develop my technique for digital illustrations. I’ve been experimenting with different methodology to see what works best for me, and I think I’m starting to get a hang of all the different tools available. More importantly, though, I’m trying to develop a recognizable style. While working on technique is great, it usually produces some unoriginal images because I’m copying exactly from reference. Although using references is a healthy practice, even for professional artists, I’d like to start adding my own twists and style to the image.

(For those of you wondering, I work in the newest version of Photoshop. I use a Wacom Intuos tablet, which you can find here)

Thank you all for taking a look at my art 🙂

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Rule by Ellen Goodlett

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The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos.

Or rather, three unexpected options.

Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her band of Travelers. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she’s already gone.

Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.

Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady’s maid and scheming her way out of the servants’ chambers. But one such plot could get her hung for treason if anyone ever discovers what she’s done.

When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny… to rule.

Magic, mystery, and blackmail abound in this sensational and striking fantasy debut.

Read below for my spoiler-free review. (Thanks to Netgalley for sending me this ARC. This is an honest review and all opinions are my own) Continue reading

Discussion: Physical or E-Reader?

Hello everyone! I thought I’d break up the monotony of reviews I’ve been posting in favor of one of the most frequently debated topics of bookworms: do you prefer physical books, or eBooks? Like most people, I’d say there are pros and cons to both.

I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember, and until recently I was a staunch advocate of physical books. A project I was forced to do in my Language and Writing class forced me to take a look at both sides, and now I find myself (reluctantly) using my Kindle more often than usual. Here are my thoughts on the two formats.

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Just some pretty physical books I’d like to share 🙂

Physical books: pros and cons. So, I think this one has a lot of pros. It’s all about sensation–the weight of a book in your hands, the smell of the freshly printed ink and creamy paper. While researching, I found that this haptic connection we have with physical books actually helps us form deeper connections because we remember plot and sequences better when we can feel the pages shift from one side of the book to the other, which absolutely fascinates me. The format of books in a culture is directly tied to how we perceive the events that take place in it. How cool is that? Plus, who doesn’t love collecting, or browsing at a bookstore? It’s one of my favorite feelings to place a new book on my shelf…though this leads to some of the cons of physical books. The main issue I have is sustainability. It’s pretty clear that books use a lot of paper, and mass consumerism means that many more books are printed than are actually needed. And then what? They sit on our shelves, collecting dust, until we decide that we don’t need them anymore. Then they get donated and passed on to libraries, where they’re discarded when they aren’t presentable anymore. Yes, I’m sure some end up in recycling–that’s great. But how many more end up taking space in a landfill? Of course, there’s also the convenience factor. While I don’t think this is a big deal (I have spacious purses), this is one of the main reasons people have for liking eBooks better. What do you guys thing of this?

eBooks: pros and cons. It is with great reluctance that I admit that eBooks are very convenient. Not only are they cheaper, but they’re easily accessible from almost anywhere–no shipping or printing necessary. I can buy a new release on the midnight it comes out, right from the comfort of my home. I can borrow and return digital library books with the touch of a button. I can read on the bus, on the subway, while standing in line. I see the benefits for publishers as well, especially with ARCs–it’s a practically free way to publicize new novels. Of course, there’s also the lack of environmental footprint. While there is energy used to create and read eBooks, it’s almost nonexistent compared to physical books. So, there must be a trade-off for this seemingly magical way to read. That brings me to this question: what are we sacrificing for convenience? Are there connections we can make with a physical book that are impossible to forge with an eBook? What do you guys think about this? For me, the answer is absolutely. There’s something about real books that an eBook can never capture, and I think it comes down to a sense of ownership. In a way, when we buy or borrow a book, we become the masters of that story. We are holding it in our hands–the way we read and perceive it belongs solely to us. Each book feels different, just as all of the stories they contain are different.

I think there needs to be a balance between the old souls inside of us and our more practical, modern selves. For me, I’d say that balance needs to start with buying books that I know I’ll like. I’ve found that, for the most part, I agree with the general population of Goodreads. If a book has more than four stars, I’ll probably enjoy it enough to buy a physical copy. If it has bad reviews but I still think I’ll like it, I borrow it from the library. Anything that doesn’t fall under those categories will be found on the Kindle store, Kobo, or Netgalley. (You guys just witnessed me make a promise to myself. Hopefully this will help my wallet and cut down on my TBR of books that I own).

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you agree with me? Which format do you prefer, and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Quick side note: Thank you all for 150 followers! I know this may not seem like a lot to some bloggers out there, but I think this is a pretty hefty milestone. Huge gratitude to those who have followed since the beginning as well as those who have recently decided to join me on my journey. I was thinking about maybe hosting a giveaway when I reach 200 or 300 followers, so stay tuned :). I’m so glad that I’ve become a more active blogger, because I love this bookish corner of the internet. Everyone is super friendly, responsive, and informative! I’ve learned so much from everyone’s thoughts, opinions, and comments, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

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The Last Wish of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young

  • 34802290My rating: 4.5/5 stars
  • Genre: Young adult contemporary
  • Publisher: KCP Loft
  • 320 pages
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon

The day Raquel has been dreading for months has finally arrived. Sasha, her best friend in the whole world — the best friend in the whole world — has died of cancer. Raquel can’t imagine life without her. She’s overwhelmed and brokenhearted.

And then a letter from Sasha arrives. Has she somehow found a way to communicate from the afterlife?

In fact, Sasha has planned an elaborate scavenger hunt for Raquel, and when she follows the instructions to return to Sasha’s grave, a mysterious stranger with striking eyes is waiting for her. There’s a secret attached to this boy that only Sasha—and now Raquel—knows.

This boy, Elijah, might be just what Raquel needs to move on from her terrible loss. But can Raquel remain true to herself while also honoring her friend’s final wish?

Read below for my spoiler-free review. (I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)

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July Wrap-Up

Hello everyone! I hope you had a wonderful July full of lots of good books. This month was actually pretty successful for me, and I’m happy that I finally picked up the pace. I’m still seven books behind on my reading goal, according to Goodreads, buuuut that’s okay. We don’t worry about that. Hopefully I’ll have more good months like this to catch up.

This month I read a total of eight books, and I think I wrote reviews for most of them:

  • Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
    • My rating: 3/5 stars
  • Gilded by Christina Farley
    • My rating: 3/5 stars
  • Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon hale
    • My rating: 5/5 stars
  • Circe by Madeline Miller
    • My rating: 5/5 stars
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
    • My rating: 4/5 stars
  • Furyborn by Claire Legrand
    • My rating: 2/5 stars
  • The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle
    • My rating: 3/5 stars
  • The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
    • My rating: 4/5 stars

I was able to read these mostly due to the fact that it’s summer, so no school, but also because I did quite a bit of traveling this month. First was Boston, the week of July 4th. While there, I did my orientation for Northeastern University and also did a bunch of cool tours to see the history of the city, which was really fun. We also went to Disneyland! It’s one of our favorite places to go as a family, and this year it was exciting because we saw the redesigned Pixar Pier. It was super cool and I’d totally recommend going if you have yet to see it.

Other posts:

PLUS: A huge thanks to all the new followers who’ve joined me this month 🙂 I can’t wait to get to know all of you!

Books I tentatively plan to read in August:

Okay, well that’s all for now everyone! How was your July in terms of books? What books do you plan to read next month?

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The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

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  • My rating: 3.9/5 stars (petty, but I don’t want to give it 4 full stars lol)
  • Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • 385 pages
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon
  • TW: rape, sexual assault

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

Read my spoiler-free review and discussion below.

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The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

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  • My rating: 3/5 stars
  • Published by Central Avenue Publishing
  • 289 Pages
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon

Most people have no idea goblins live in the woods around the small town of Bellwater, Washington. But some are about to find out. Skye, a young barista and artist, falls victim to a goblin curse in the forest one winter night, rendering her depressed and silenced, unable to speak of what happened. Her older sister, Livy, is at wit’s end trying to understand what’s wrong with her. Local mechanic Kit would know, but he doesn’t talk of such things: he’s the human liaison for the goblin tribe, a job he keeps secret and never wanted, thrust on him by an ancient family contract.Then Kit starts dating Livy, and Skye draws Kit’s cousin Grady into the spell through an enchanted kiss in the woods. Skye and Grady are doomed to become goblins and disappear from humankind forever, unless Livy, the only one untainted by enchantment, can unravel the spell by walking a dangerous magical path of her own.

I have always loved stories about the fae that dwell just beyond the human world–this can include goblins, elves, fairies, and countless other creatures. Some of my favorites in this genre include An Enchantment of Ravens and The Treachery of Beautiful Things. I thought I’d give this one try, and it was about what I expected. Nothing amazing, but entertaining nonetheless.

If you’re looking for a story with depth, originality, and elegance, then this is not the book for you. I gave it three stars because it is average: nothing more, nothing less. The characters, while bland, aren’t annoying. The book is short enough that even the slow parts weren’t too boring, and the action was just intense enough to keep me reading. It’s a short, simple read with basic prose and very little stylistic voice. I would say that it is targeted towards younger readers, but it is a bit mature in terms of sex–there is no explicit detail, however, I wouldn’t recommend it for a pre-YA audience.

Overall, the book was simple with just enough intrigue to make me want to read it. It’s not a great novel by any standards, but it’s something I would pick up for a short read on a rainy afternoon. It’s super cheesy, but that’s what makes books like these fun to read sometimes. (Key word: sometimes. Normally I wouldn’t tolerate a book like this but I haven’t read something so unambitious in a long while).

(P.S. Sorry for posting twice in one day! I wanted to get my review up on Netgalley ASAP. Disclaimer: I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Granted, it came out a year ago…but at the time I downloaded it, it was an ARC. lol it took me a while to get around to it)

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Underrated Female Heroes Book Tag

Hey everyone! I decided to do this cool tag in between reviews because I’m in a bit of a book slump right now, but I am down to talk about my favorite heroines any time. I got this tag from Thrice Read, so go check out their post! The original tag was created by the lovely Kate at meltingpotsandothercalamities.

1. Name a heroine you like, but whom you feel is always overshadowed by the male characters in the story:

Blue Sargent from The Raven Boys! Granted, the book is named after the boys, and Blue did get plenty of time to shine, but I always wanted more! She is such a lovely and quirky character, and I would have loved more of her and her family.

2. For that matter, name a heroine whom you feel is always overshadowed by the other female characters in the story.

Helene Aquilla from An Ember in the Ashes series, for sure. Most people I talk to dislike her, but she is totally amazing and overshadowed by Laia. I’m glad we’ve gotten a lot more of her perspective, because she is compassionate and loving while also being a bamf.

3. Name a character who had potential but was greatly underutilized in her story.

This one is kind of random because I couldn’t really think of anyone, but Honey Harper from Renegades has a pretty cool superpower. I would have liked to see more of the Anarchists in general, because they had a lot of unexplored backstories.

4. Name a female character who you either find better in her book than her movie, find better in her movie than her book, or whose portrayals you find equal.

ARYA DROTTNING GUYS. ERAGON WAS AN AMAZNG BOOK AND ARYA WAS A TOTAL BADASS. MOVIE-ARYA SUCKS. Well, the whole movie kinda sucked…

5. Name a character who you want more backstory on.

I will have to agree Thrice Read on this one, because I would have loved a more thorough backstory on Nehemia. Sarah, we’re waiting.

6. Name a character with traits you feel are sadly overlooked by everyone.

For this one I’m going to choose Circe from, well, Circe. Although Circe is a well-known Greek goddess, I feel like this retelling in particular rendered the most complete and complex character. The novel is pretty popular, but I really expected there to be more hype. And I’m going to shamelessly self-promote… read my review here.

7. Name a morally grey character. (Villain or anti hero!)

There are so many to choose from for this one, but I’ll have to go with Citra from Scythe. I think she is one of my favorites because we get to see the evolution of her struggles and morally gray decisions. Once again, read my review here.

8. A character you’re stunned isn’t more famous. 

Sydney from Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines series. Okay, I know everyone got caught up in the cheesiness of Vampire Academy. And Bloodlines has its fair share of cheesiness too…especially the covers. BUT REMEMBER THE NUMBER ONE LESSON OF READING, GUYS. NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER (only sometimes). This series as a whole is so underrated, and Sydney is an amazing and strong character! We ignore the covers.

9. A character from a piece of fiction you’re amazed isn’t more famous.

Well…this is the same question as #8, so…once again, Sydney from Bloodlines.

I tag:

(Feel free to ignore if you’ve already done this or have no interest in it)

PLUS anyone else who would like to do the tag! Feel free to leave your link in the comments, I would love to check out your list. Do you agree with my choices? Disagree? Let me know 🙂

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