Tag: book blogger

ARC Review: The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel


Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis – Goodreads

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Title: The Book of Lost Names

Author: Kristin Harmel

Publisher: Gallery Books

Genre: Historical Fiction

Format: eARC from Netgalley

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Pub date: July 21, 2020


SYNOPSIS:

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.


MY REVIEW:

Wow. This book has left me speechless with tears in my eyes. This was so incredibly beautiful and haunting.

Eva is a Jewish girl living in Paris during the time of the German take over of France. Eva flees with her mother to escape the Nazis and start a new life in the free zone. On the way, she gets involved in the resistance and forges documents for innocent people to escape France to Switzerland. There are a lot of twists along the way and a lot of heartbreak.

Remy is a man who works with Eva during this time. All I can say is that Remy is an amazing character and he tore my heart out and then brought me back to life. The ending of this story shook me!!

This is such an interesting story of bravery and love. Eva is amazing! She is a hero. She lives all her life with regrets and her story is so sad. This is truly an unbelievable story. All of the people who helped the Jewish population during WW2 are heroes. It is heartbreaking thinking about what happened to people. This story opened my eyes to things I already knew, but took me there to really feel it in my heart.

Read this book. The author is amazing and this story in life changing. So beautiful and full of despair, yet hopeful in a way. The last few chapters will make you go insane. I LOVED this book!

* Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review!


Do you enjoy historical fiction? Is this something you would read?

Chat with me in the comments 😊

ARC Review: The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull

This novel is the fictionalised story of the American divorcée who captured Prince Edward’s heart before he abdicated his throne for Wallis Simpson.


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Title: The Woman Before Wallis

Author: Bryn Turnbull

Publisher: MIRA

Genre: Historical Fiction

Format: eARC from Netgalley

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Pub date: July 21, 2020


SYNOPSIS:

In the summer of 1926, when Thelma Morgan marries Viscount Duke Furness after a whirlwind romance, she’s immersed in a gilded world of extraordinary wealth and privilege. For Thelma, the daughter of an American diplomat, her new life as a member of the British aristocracy is like a fairy tale—even more so when her husband introduces her to Edward, Prince of Wales.

In a twist of fate, her marriage to Duke leads her to fall headlong into a love affair with Edward. But happiness is fleeting, and their love is threatened when Thelma’s sister, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, becomes embroiled in a scandal with far-reaching implications. As Thelma sails to New York to support Gloria, she leaves Edward in the hands of her trusted friend Wallis, never imagining the consequences that will follow.


MY REVIEW:

The Woman Before Wallis was a beautiful story about life, love, and heartbreak. I will start this by saying I enjoy a good historical fiction. I really respect the author for writing such a fantastic story and for making such a grand effort to have all the details from the actual story correct.

Thelma, is the main character of this story. She is a wonderful woman. Truly special. For her time she is independent, motivated, and just wanted something different for herself than what was the expectation. Her character took me on this whirlwind of an adventure that at times filled me with happiness and at other times filled me with sorrow. I would say I am a sucker for a love story and if you think this is going to be a love story – you are mistaken. There are relationships and yes, some love, but this is far from a love story. It is rather heartbreaking actually, but in a beautiful way.

Thelma is a divorcee, which during this time, is not well received. She then gets lucky and marries a new man (Duke Furness) and becomes part of the “high society” in England. Lucky lady, indeed. Throughout the rest of the story, Thelma is constantly fighting for happiness. While she marries a lovely man, she cannot stay happy. The instability of marriages during this time was unbelievable. Having affairs was more accepted than getting divorced. This part especially hurts Thelma. This leads to her meeting and ultimately, to her relationship with the Prince of Wales. Again, lucky lady! Again, she struggles with this relationship and many events occur throughout the rest of the book that are full of love and happiness and as well, full of sadness.

To be honest, I didn’t know whether or not I was even enjoying this book until I got about half way through. I was getting confused trying to keep up with the characters and the names. I had a hard time remembering the family names and keeping track of this “social map” of people. I can only imagine how stressful this would be in real life. It was exhausting keeping up. I found at the half way point it became easier and I started to feel very attached to some of the characters.

I was so drawn into the story. I read this book in 2 days. It sucked me in. I loved the fancy life of English royalty and upper class. It made me want that life. However, as scandals came up throughout, it made me realize that is NOT the life I want. I really did enjoy that part though. It was so fun to read about the fancy parties and events that these people had on a regular basis. I loved reading about the extravagant dresses and outfits as well. It was so dream like.

When it came to the end of the book I felt so mixed! I truly loved this story. Thelma has a special place in a heart. She was so strong and while at times did not make the best decisions, she sure stuck to her heart and that is very respectable. I wish it would have ended differently for her. It was a sad ending in my opinion, but not everyone gets a fairy tale ending. The only reason I did not rate this as 5 stars was simply because the ending left me asking questions and wanting to know exactly what happened. Of course, I understand that filling in the gaps would probably be an entire other book, but I felt almost cheated not know exactly the events that led to Wallis and David. I’m actually not too sure my heart could take it now that I’m thinking more about it!!

Overall, this was a fabulous book. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction in its truest form. It was a beautifully written story.


Do you like historical fiction?

Chat with me in the comments 😊

Top 10 Tuesday – Authors I’ve Read The Most Books By

Hey bookish friends! I haven’t done a top 10 Tuesday in a little bit here. I just wasn’t feeling any of the topics and didn’t want to force it! Does that happen to anyone else? I really need to feel a spark with the prompt in order to do it… otherwise I feel like a fake 😂

So for this prompt I had somewhat of a difficult time! I have read a lot of books but I see now that I don’t read a lot from the same authors… which I need to change! So what I’ve done here is included some of the authors I’ve read series by and then added a few authors that I have really enjoyed and have their other books on my tbr!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

This week the topic for Top 10 Tuesday is…….. Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By!

Soooooo lets do it!!

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James Dashner

James Dashner is at the top of my list because I have read 2 series by him and LOVED them both! (The Maze Runner & The Mortality Doctrine) – read 6 books in total by James Dashner

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Suzanne Collins

Of course I had to include Suzanne Collins on this list! I have read all 4 of The Hunger Games books so I would say she is pretty close to the top of my list! – read 4 books in total by Suzanne Collins

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Brittany Cavallaro

If you have been following me for any extended period of time you would probably know that I LOVE the Charlotte Holmes series. I literally will talk about it to anyone who cares and will always tell people to read it… seriously, read it people!!!

She has also written Hello Girls which is on my tbr and I see she has a new duology in the works!!! So please go check her out shes great! – read 4 books in total by Brittany Cavallaro

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Colleen Houck

I love this lady!!! She has fab writing and I just love her style of books. I have read 2 different standalone books (Terraformer & The Lanterns Ember. Both of this books were 5 star reads for me!!

She has written a couple series that I want to check out as well!! – read 2 books in total by Colleen Houck

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Stephanie Meyer

I read the Twilight series which automatically gets Stephanie Meyer on this list! I know she has written other books since then but I haven’t checked those ones out. However, I may have to jump on the bandwagon and read her newest Twilight book when it comes out haha. – read 4 books in total by Stephanie Meyer

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Veronica Roth

I fell in love with Veronica Roth when Divergent came out. Loved it! It changed me as a reader. I would say Divergent was the turning point for me that really made me love reading!

So, I read the Divergent series and most recently I read Chosen Ones which I understand is the first of a series. I really want to read Carve the Mark – not sure why I never got to it but its on my tbr! – read 5 books in total by Veronica Roth

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Michael Grant

I read the Gone series by Michael Grant a super long time ago! It was probably the longest series I have actually read haha. He has some other books as well that Id like to check out at some point! – read 6 books in total by Michael Grant

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So for the remainder of the authors – I have only read 1 book by them but I LOVED the book I read and have added their other books to my tbr 😊

Kristen Harmel

I read The Book of Lost Names a month or two ago and I loved it so much. Her writing was so amazing and the story was beautiful! I added The Room on Rue Amelie, The Winemakers Wife, The Sweetness of Forgetting, and When We Meet Again!!

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Jaimie Admans

I read The Little Bookshop of Love Stories and oh my goodness, that book just made my heart happy! I immediately needed to check out her other book and added The Chateau of Happily Ever Afters, The Little Wedding Island, Its a Wonderful Night, and The Little Village Carousel by the Sea!!!

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Ruth Ware

My first Ruth Ware book was The Turn of the Key. It was a total fluke that I came across her. I saw The Turn of the Key on a table at the bookstore that was a staff’s pick of the month. I didn’t know anything about the book or the author. Ended up loving it and discovering Ruth Ware has tons of awesome books!!

I’ve added The Woman in Cabin 10, The Death of Mrs. Westaway, and The Lying Game to my tbr!!

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Do you tend to read a lot of books by one author? Who is your favourite author right now??

Chat with me in the comments 😊

TBR Tour #1 | Cute Little Romances

I cannot believe how long it took me to discover and love contemporary romances! I LOVE a good chick-flick when it comes to movies. I tend to shy away from true romances because my heart can’t handle the sadness and honestly if I am going to watch a movie for my enjoyment, I don’t want to be sad and crying the whole time. I feel the same way about books. I do not want to read a story that is going to kill me several times over. I do not find that fun lol. Sorry to everyone who loves true romances, but I just can’t do it.

SO when I discovered the book versions of a chick-flick…. I was IN. It was a life changing moment for me. The book that changed me was “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Mhairi McFarlane. Little back story: I received a Kobo ereader for Christmas last year from my lovely boyfriend. Obvs the first thing I did was look at the Kobo store and see what books I could buy for cheap to get me started. The first book I saw that was very cheap (like I think it was actually $1.00 lol) was Don’t You Forget About Me. I didn’t even second guess it.. just clicked “buy” and figured for a dollar if I don’t like it, who cares!!

Well I’m sure you all figured it out.. I LOVED IT. I thought it was so cute and adorable and funny but also had romance and heartfelt moments. I did end up crying at the end but it was from happiness! So, I fell in love with contemporary romances and I never looked back.


TBR Tour is a weekly meme created by Deanna @ The Comfy Reader. TBR Tour will be posted every Friday with a different theme or genre 📚😊

So for my first TBR Tour I am going to share some of the cute little romances on my TBR at the moment and why I am excited to read them!!


The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

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This is the ultimate summer read in my opinion! I have had this book sitting on my shelf for months and I have been holding off BECAUSE I just knew I would feel this in the summer.

We have: A tropical setting, a honeymoon gone wrong, fake dating/ fake marriage trope, bad luck left right and center, an unexpected romance?!?!?!

I think it also goes without saying that anything written by Christina Lauren will be fab!

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

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A woman who plans kids birthday parties? Sure, lets do this!

I have to say I enjoy how many renovation puns there are in just the synopsis so I sure hope the whole book is like that 😂 AND fake dating trope! This book honestly has everything that makes a fun and cute romance. I cannot wait to read it.

Also, it is the first of a series and I am ALL for it!

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

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So this one has been on my tbr for SO LONG. It looks like it will be cute and funny but also will break my heart. Right off the bat I knew I needed to read this because the love interests meet at a wedding and I love that trope.

I also feel like this will have some friend drama which is always interesting! I also look forward to this one because of that forbidden romance type feeling. Kristen knows she might not be the best fit for Josh but their romances grows regardless. I feel like it will keep me on the toes!

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler

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This book just seems so cute! Graham lives in Alaska and owns a diner. He doesn’t seem too thrilled with all of the tourists and just puts up with them. Zoey goes to Alaska to fulfill her bucket list but then doesn’t want to leave because a) she thinks the Alaskan town is amazing and b) she meets a cute guy (aka Graham)!!!!

I really like these kinds of tropes! I love when the characters have an instant connection and all sorts of cute things happen between them! I always enjoy a growing romance.

I’ve seen such good reviews for this one and the cover really caught my eye initially!


What do you guys think of my first TBR Tour? Do you have any of these books on your tbr?

What other genres/ themes do you want to see for TBR Tours?

Chat with me in the comments!!

Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes


Ambition will fuel him. Competition will drive him. But power has its price.

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Title: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Author: Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Genre: YA, Dystopian

Format: Physical book

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5


SYNOPSIS:

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capital, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.


MY REVIEW:

I have read so many mixed reviews on this book and for that reason I honestly went into it with really low expectations! I was ever questioning this book before reading any reviews at all. I felt like I didn’t need this prequel and just felt that The Hunger Games were over and done and didn’t need to be brought up again.

But you guys… I really liked it! Don’t get me wrong – THIS IS NOT A HUNGER GAMES BOOK. This is before the series and it is MUCH different. Do not go into this expecting the crazy action packed books like before. This takes on a whole new approach and new view of the games.

What I liked the most:

  • Seeing Snow’s character before he is the horrible president that everyone loves to hate
  • Finding out what the Hunger Games used to be like and how it evolved
  • Getting some information about what it’s like to be a Peace Keeper
  • Finding out why Snow is the way he is and piecing it all together!

For me, I like some good background information. This book did just that! We follow Snow while he is a student and also part of the very first mentor program for the games. It was interesting to see how the games unfold and learn how the games became this HUGE event later on. I loved seeing Snow change and evolve. Snow has quite a few personality flaws that really clear up why he is so horrible in the future but also his life was not some simple, easy, perfect life and a part of me felt for him and understood. Snow faces a lot of challenges in this story and a lot of them are moral and ethical dilemmas. As much as I love a character that is out there to make the world a better place, it is also fun to have a morally gray character too. Snow is the MOST morally gray character ever haha sometimes he seems “good” and other times he actually shocks you with his decisions. In the end, none of it is much of a shock because we all know who he turns out to be later on.

While there wasn’t a ton of action I still felt the story to be fast paced enough that I was invested in it. There were definitely sometimes I was on the edge of my seat! There was no lack of suspense at all. I will say though that there is a romance that happens during the story and for me I felt it could have been left out OR not had such a large part. It just didn’t seem important and at the end it didn’t really add anything useful. It was cute though at parts but… meh.

I would say read this book if you loved The Hunger Games and you are interested in seeing it from a different lens. Read this book if you want to know more about Snow and how the heck he became the man he did. Read this book if you like a good origin story! I think overall, if you liked the series, this is worth the read.


Have you read this? What did you think? If not, is this something you want to read?

Chat with me in the comments 😊

New Releases – July 2020

Welcome July! I hope this month brings something positive and happy to the world. It seems each month has brought some type of challenge and I can only hope that July will bring some happiness to the world! ALSO – Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians 🍁

One thing I know for sure is that with another new month brings more new books! There are quite a few good releases this month and I’m so excited. I have listed 10 of the ones I’m looking forward to or ones that seem super interesting!!

Check out the list and see if there are any books you will be adding to your TBR for July!


One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

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Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after.

Pub date: July 7, 2020


The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea

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A chilling murder in a prestigious prep school is at the heart of this riveting new novel from acclaimed author Charlie Donlea, featuring forensic reconstructionist Rory Moore and her psychologist partner, Lane Phillips.

Inside the walls of Indiana’s elite Westmont Preparatory High School, expectations run high and rules are strictly enforced. But in the woods beyond the manicured campus and playing fields sits an abandoned boarding house that is infamous among Westmont’s students as a late-night hangout. Here, only one rule applies: don’t let your candle go out–unless you want the Man in the Mirror to find you. . . .

One year ago, two students were killed there in a grisly slaughter. The case has since become the focus of a hit podcast, The Suicide House. Though a teacher was convicted of the murders, mysteries and questions remain. The most urgent among them is why so many students who survived that horrific night have returned to the boarding house–to kill themselves.

Rory, an expert in reconstructing cold cases, is working on The Suicide House podcast with Lane, recreating the night of the killings in order to find answers that have eluded the school, the town, and the police. But the more they learn about the troubled students, the chillingly stoic culprit, and a dangerous game gone tragically wrong, the more convinced they become that something sinister is still happening. Inside Westmont Prep, the game hasn’t ended. It thrives on secrecy and silence. And for its players, there may be no way to win–or to survive. . . .

Pub date: July 28, 2020


The Shadows by Alex North

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You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again…

Pub date: July 7, 2020


Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

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Wanted:
One (fake) boyfriend
Practically perfect in every way

Luc O’Donnell is tangentially–and reluctantly–famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he’s never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship…and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He’s a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he’s never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that’s when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don’t ever want to let them go. 

Pub date: July 7, 2020


Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook by Celia Rees

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World War II has just ended, and Britain has established the Control Commission for Germany, which oversees their zone of occupation. The Control Commission hires British civilians to work in Germany, rebuild the shattered nation and prosecute war crimes. Somewhat aimless, bored with her job as a provincial schoolteacher, and unwilling to live with her overbearing mother any longer, thirtysomething Edith Graham applies for a job with the Commission—but she is also recruited by her cousin, Leo, who is in the Secret Service. To them, Edith is perfect spy material…single, ordinary-looking, with a college degree in German. Cousin Leo went to Oxford with one of their most hunted war criminals, Count Kurt von Stavenow, who Edith remembers all too well from before the war. He wants her to find him.

Intrigued by the challenge, Edith heads to Germany armed with a convincing cover story: she’s an unassuming Education Officer sent to help resurrect German schools. To send information back to her Secret Service handlers in London, Edith has crafted the perfect alter ego, cookbook author Stella Snelling, who writes a popular magazine cookery column. She embeds crucial intelligence within the recipes she collects. But occupied Germany is awash with other spies, collaborators, and opportunists, and as she’s pulled into their world, Edith soon discovers that no one is what they seem to be. The closer she gets to uncovering von Stavenow’s whereabouts–and the network of German civilians who still support him–the greater the danger.

Pub date: July 7, 2020


Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

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Today, she hates him.

It’s the last day of senior year. Rowan Roth and Neil McNair have been bitter rivals for all of high school, clashing on test scores, student council elections, and even gym class pull-up contests. While Rowan, who secretly wants to write romance novels, is anxious about the future, she’d love to beat her infuriating nemesis one last time.

Tonight, she puts up with him.

When Neil is named valedictorian, Rowan has only one chance at victory: Howl, a senior class game that takes them all over Seattle, a farewell tour of the city she loves. But after learning a group of seniors is out to get them, she and Neil reluctantly decide to team up until they’re the last players left—and then they’ll destroy each other.

As Rowan spends more time with Neil, she realizes he’s much more than the awkward linguistics nerd she’s sparred with for the past four years. And, perhaps, this boy she claims to despise might actually be the boy of her dreams.

Tomorrow…maybe she’s already fallen for him.

Pub date: July 28, 2020


Ever Cursed by Corey Ann Haydu

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The Princesses of Ever are beloved by the kingdom and their father, the King. They are cherished, admired.

Cursed.

Jane, Alice, Nora, Grace, and Eden carry the burden of being punished for a crime they did not commit, or even know about. They are each cursed to be Without one essential thing—the ability to eat, sleep, love, remember, or hope. And their mother, the Queen, is imprisoned, frozen in time in an unbreakable glass box.

But when Eden’s curse sets in on her thirteenth birthday, the princesses are given the opportunity to break the curse, preventing it from becoming a True Spell and dooming the princesses for life. To do this, they must confront the one who cast the spell—Reagan, a young witch who might not be the villain they thought—as well as the wickedness plaguing their own kingdom…and family.

Pub date: July 28, 2020


The Safe Place by Anna Downes

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Emily is a mess.

Emily Proudman just lost her acting agent, her job, and her apartment in one miserable day.

Emily is desperate.

Scott Denny, a successful and charismatic CEO, has a problem that neither his business acumen nor vast wealth can fix. Until he meets Emily.

Emily is perfect.

Scott offers Emily a summer job as a housekeeper on his remote, beautiful French estate. Enchanted by his lovely wife Nina, and his eccentric young daughter, Aurelia, Emily falls headlong into this oasis of wine-soaked days by the pool. But soon Emily realizes that Scott and Nina are hiding dangerous secrets, and if she doesn’t play along, the consequences could be deadly.

Pub date: July 14, 2020


The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

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Making it up the aisle was the easy part: After marrying the heir to the throne, Rebecca “Bex” Porter must survive her own scandals as she adjusts to life in the glamorous British royal family, in this “highly anticipated” follow-up to The Royal We, the “fun and dishy” bestseller and NYT Summer Reading List pick inspired by Will and Kate’s romance (People).

After a scandalous secret turns their fairy-tale wedding into a nightmare, Rebecca “Bex” Porter and her husband Prince Nicholas are in self-imposed exile. The public is angry. The Queen is even angrier. And the press is salivating. Cutting themselves off from friends and family, and escaping the world’s judgmental eyes, feels like the best way to protect their fragile, all-consuming romance.

But when a crisis forces the new Duke and Duchess back to London, the Band-Aid they’d placed over their problems starts to peel at the edges. Now, as old family secrets and new ones threaten to derail her new royal life, Bex has to face the emotional wreckage she and Nick left behind: with the Queen, with the world, and with Nick’s brother Freddie, whose sins may not be so easily forgotten — nor forgiven

Pub date: July 7, 2020


Girl from Nowhere by Tiffany Rosenhan

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Ninety-four countries. Thirty-one schools. Two bullets.
Now it’s over…or so she thinks.

Sophia arrives in Montana with the promise of a normal high school experience. But after a turbulent few years abroad with her diplomat parents, forgetting the past is easier said than done. After all, “normal” high schoolers aren’t trained in several forms of combat.
Then Sophia meets Aksel and finds herself opening up in ways she never thought she could. Except Sophia’s past is about to catch up with her, and she must confront who she really is, why she was betrayed, and what she is capable of in the name of love and survival.

Pub date: July 21, 2020


What books are you most excited for?

Im super excited for The Heir Affair (Im reading it now) and also looking forward to The Suicide House!

Chat with me in the comments 😊

Asking Bookstagram: Listening to Audio Books

Hello everyone 😊

For this month’s ‘asking bookstagram’ post I had SO MANY responses from all of my fabulous IG followers! I am just loving this monthly feature on my blog. It is such a fun time learning what people think about different topics!

This month the bookish question I asked everyone was……

Do you count listening to audio books as reading?

So I have never listened to an audio book before so I don’t really have much of an opinion on this. A part of me wants to say no, its not reading because you are not physically reading it with you eyes… BUT audio books are still books technically so really I suppose it can count as reading.

I know this is a controversial topic and I feel like people are either a hard yes or a hard no and not really in between 😂 I am on the fence only because I’ve never listened to one before.. but perhaps I need to give it a go!


Responses from my wonderful friends:

@_bookishparadise_

I think audiobooks should definitely count as reading, you’re getting through a book and your spending the time to listen to it.


@hailsbooknook

I count them! Books are books, you’re still putting all this time in listening to the book 😊


@thelittlethingsandmore

Yessss!!! I never used to think so and then I realized some people can only do audio so definitely counts 🙌🏻


@books_to_be_read

I don’t always listen to them but if I’m going on a long drive I will find one I like! I would absolutely count them, you are still taking the time to listen and absorb it. In my opinion they are still books 😊


@abundantlybookish

I count them but not towards my reading goal. They are surplus books that I review but wouldn’t add to my goodreads (at least not with a date).


@mcs_bookshelf

I haven’t gone the audio route yet either… but interested as its a great way to pass time while driving. I don’t consider it reading though. Its listening. If you watch a movie adaption of a book would you say: oh I read that book on film? Doubt it 😏 Either way, great entertainment and escape!


@novels.and.tea

I used to not count audiobooks but for a lot of people (visual impairments or learning/reading disabilities for example) audiobooks are the way they usually read books! This changed my perspective and now I count audiobooks the same way 😊


@shes.booked

Absorbing words-however you may do that- is reading!!


@readingonsundays

I count them… but I only listen to non-fiction. Things that are more factual ad boring to read but interesting to listen to


@thereadergram

I don’t listen to audiobooks either. I lean more towards the side of it not counting but I cant really judge since I don’t do it myself.


What do you think about audiobooks? Do they count as reading? Chat with me in the comments!

ARC Review: The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles


Based on the true World War II story of the American Library in Paris, an unforgettable novel about the power of books and the bonds of friendship—and the ordinary heroes who can be found in the most perilous times and the quietest places. – Simon & Schuster

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Title: The Paris Library

Author: Janet Skeslien Charles

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Genre: Historical fiction

Format: eARC from Netgalley

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Pub date: February 2, 2021


SYNOPSIS:

Paris, 1939. Odile Souchet is obsessed with books and the Dewey Decimal System, which makes order out of chaos. She soon has it all – a handsome police officer beau, an English best friend, a beloved twin, and a job at the American Library in Paris, a thriving community of students, writers, diplomats, and book lovers. Yet when war is declared, there’s also a war on words.

Montana, 1983. Widowed and alone, Odile suffers the solitary confinement of small-town life. Though most adults are cowed by her, the neighbor girl will not let her be. Lily, a lonely teenager yearning to break free of Froid is obsessed by the older French woman who lives next door and wants to know her secrets.

As the two become friends, Odile sees herself in Lily – the same love of language, the same longings, the same lethal jealousy. The Paris Library’s dual narratives explore the relationships that make us who we are – family and friends, first loves and favorite authors – in the fairy tale setting of the City of Light. It also explores the geography of resentment, the consequences of unspeakable betrayal, and what happens when the people we count on for understanding and protection fail us.


MY REVIEW:

The Paris Library was an outstanding book. I fell in love with every piece of it! I loved the characters, the setting, the drama, and all the love.

First off, the book is interesting because it not only shifts between characters but it also shifts between time. Some chapters are in WWII Paris and some are in 1980’s Montana. I loved it! The story was serious and kind of sad at times but there was sprinkled in humor too!

Odile is the main character. She is a strong young woman who works in the American Library in Paris. I enjoyed her absolute love for books and the library. Lily, is a young girl living in Montana next door to Odile as an old woman. Lily experiences loss and Odile ends up being the person that helps her through it. I really enjoyed the characters and how different but similar they were. I liked how the author flipped back and forth and intertwined the stories so it all fit together like a beautiful masterpiece.

When I put the book down I couldn’t help but reflect on my own life. It opened my eyes to things I’ve done and things I’ve overlooked because of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I feel that if a story makes you reflect so deeply it must be an amazing book written by an outstanding author. That is what this book was. It was amazing, heartfelt, full of despair and hope, eye opening, and thoughtful. I loved this book with all my heart as I knew I would when I read the synopsis originally. Odile and her friends are the type of people I wish I knew and aspire to be. This story reminded me that not everyone is as they seem and that people change and grow throughout their lives.

The setting of the American Library is the best. It felt like home and it was a home to the characters in the book. I loved that part. Every time the library is mentioned or Odile was working there it just felt so whimsical and full of wonder. It’s a place I would love to see. Something from a dream.

I have always been interested in history which is a reason I was excited for this book! I found the writing to be so good that when the first bombs were dropped and I was reading about the peoples fear and uncertainty, I too felt that way. My heart rate increased, I was holding onto every word, I could not stop reading. This story opened my eyes to the struggles of war. How people had to do things they didn’t want to or thought were wrong just so they could survive. How people turned on each other. How there was so much hidden racism and discrimination! Odile is such a hero throughout the book. Living during that time is unfathomable. Unreal.

Finally, this story is full of love and loss. Odile suffered much loss throughout her life and Lily is lucky to have such a role model. Lily suffered loss as well and in the end it was very heartwarming that they were able to help each other and have such a great relationship! I sure enjoyed the romance and true love expressed in this book. It filled my heart many times. This story is worth the read. It is really something special that I thoroughly enjoyed!

** Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review!


Do you like historical fiction? Chat with me in the comments!

8 Mystery Books I Want To Read

I am a huge mood and seasonal reader! Anyone else out there like me?

Big Mood | Know Your Meme

I love to match the types of books I read to the type of weather that is outside haha I don’t know if this is common or if I am just crazy…. but for me, the weather influences a lot! I tend to read happy, romantic, light books during the summer. I love to read thrillers and mysteries in the fall. During the spring I read more intense fantasy and sci-fi books. Winter I like to read holiday themed stories and cute romantic books. Obviously, I am up to read anything but those are what I seem to go to during those times!!

So, I am already thinking ahead to September and into fall because time is FLYING BY ME and I figured I should maybe think about what Ill be looking forward to reading! I already have a long list of books for the summer and I’m trying to catch up with my Netgalley books so for the most part my summer is planned!

I thought if anyone else is like me and goes for more mysterious, spooky, and thrilling stories in the fall, you may like this list and maybe even add some to your fall reading list this year 😊


First on my list is Mydworth Mysteries by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello. So this is a series of mystery books and they just look fabulous! These mysteries push together 2 of my favourite genres (historical fiction and mystery) so really this is a must read for me! The first book is called ‘A Shot in the Dark’ and takes place in 1929 England… NOTHING BETTER THAN THAT TIME!

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Synopsis: Sussex, England, 1929. Mydworth is a sleepy English market town just 50 miles from London. But things are about to liven up there, when young and handsome Sir Harry Mortimer returns home from his diplomatic posting in Cairo, with his beautiful and unconventional American wife, Kat. No sooner have the two arrived, when a jewel robbery occurs at Harry’s aunt’s home – Mydworth Manor. The police are baffled and overwhelmed with the case. But Harry and Kat have an edge in the hunt for the dangerous culprit: not only do they have certain useful “skills” they’ve both picked up in service of King, President and Country, they also have access to parts of English society that your average bobby can’t reach …


Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson!!! I’m a little late to the game with this one but it has been on my TBR for so long! Since. It. Was. Released. What is wrong with me you might ask? I wish I knew. I need this book in my life you guys. So many people have loved it and the reviews are great!

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Synopsis: The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?


Felicity Carrol Mysteries by Patricia Marcantonio – so there are currently 2 books and I’m hoping there will be more because they seem fantastic! Not only are the covers very pretty and intriguing, but the stories are again twisted with historical fiction!! Te first book is called ‘Felicity Carrol and the Perilous Pursuit’ which just sounds so fun!

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Synopsis: Felicity Carrol is interested in everything—except being a proper young matron of Victorian society. Brilliant and resourceful, Felicity took refuge in science and education after her mother died and her father abandoned her to servants. Now, all he wants is for her to marry into a family of status and money.

Felicity has other ambitions—but her plans shudder to a halt when her mentor is murdered at the British Museum and his priceless manuscript of King Arthur lore is stolen. Tapping into her photographic memory and the latest in the burgeoning field of forensic detection, Felicity launches an investigation. Handsome Scotland Yard Inspector Jackson Davies is also on the case, and finds Felicity as meddlesome as she is intelligent. But when more nobles are murdered and their King Arthur relics stolen, Felicity must journey on her own into the dark underworld of antiquity theft, where she uncovers a motive far more nefarious than simple profit. As the killer sets his sights on a new victim—a charismatic duke who has captured Felicity’s imagination—the stakes rise to impossible heights.


Countess of Harleigh Mystery series by Dianne Freeman. Okay so maybe it’s clear there is a theme to the types of mysteries I feel like reading right now lol. This is ANOTHER mystery with historical fiction. I am so drawn to these!!

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Synopsis: Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, enjoys more freedom as a widow than she did as a wife. After an obligatory year spent mourning her philandering husband, Reggie, she puts aside her drab black gowns, leaving the countryside and her money-grubbing in-laws behind. With her young daughter in tow, Frances rents a home in Belgravia and prepares to welcome her sister, Lily, arriving from New York—for her first London season.

No sooner has Frances begun her new life than the ghosts of her old one make an unwelcome appearance. The Metropolitan police receive an anonymous letter implicating Frances in her husband’s death. Frances assures Inspector Delaney of her innocence, but she’s also keen to keep him from learning the scandalous circumstances of Reggie’s demise. As fate would have it, her dashing new neighbor, George Hazelton, is one of only two other people aware of the full story.

While busy with social engagements on Lily’s behalf, and worrying if Reggie really was murdered, Frances learns of mysterious burglaries plaguing London’s elite. The investigation brings death to her doorstep, and Frances rallies her wits, a circle of gossips, and the ever-chivalrous Mr. Hazelton to uncover the truth. A killer is in their midst, perhaps even among her sister’s suitors. And Frances must unmask the villain before Lily’s season—and their lives—come to a most unseemly end . . . 


One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. Sooooooooo, again, I’m really late to this one and need to read this one AND the second one! So much reading to do!! When I heard this is like Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars I was like YUP say no more I need that!

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Synopsis: Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
AndSimon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.


The June Boys by Courtney C. Stevens! I just came across this one when I was watching a booktuber (cannot remember who because all I do now is watch all these booktubers lol). I love me a good mystery where everyone ends up being involved!! So juicy!

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Synopsis: The Gemini Thief could be anyone. Your father, your mother, your best friend’s crazy uncle. Some country music star’s deranged sister. Anyone.

The Gemini Thief is a serial kidnapper, who takes three boys and holds them captive from June 1st to June 30th of the following year. The June Boys endure thirteen months of being stolen, hidden, observed, and fed before they are released, unharmed, by their masked captor. The Thief is a pro, having eluded authorities for nearly a decade and taken at least twelve boys.

Now Thea Delacroix has reason to believe the Gemini Thief took a thirteenth victim: her cousin, Aulus McClaghen.

But the game changes when one of the kidnapped boys turns up dead. Together with her boyfriend Nick and her best friends, Thea is determined to find the Gemini Thief and the remaining boys before it’s too late. Only she’s beginning to wonder something sinister, something repulsive, something unbelievable, and yet, not impossible:

What if her father is the Gemini Thief?


This is a Bookstagram made me do it pick!! The Guest List by Lucy Foley is HIGH on my list of mysteries I need in my life. I have seen this book everywhere and it wasn’t really on my list at first but then I just decided I needed to jump on the bandwagon and now here we are!

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Synopsis: The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?


Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson. TALK ABOUT A GOOD MYSTERY! This has everything you need. I love a good amateur sleuth type mystery and I love when the main character is a suspect of the mystery! Always SO interesting!

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Synopsis: Years ago, bookseller and mystery aficionado Malcolm Kershaw compiled a list of the genre’s most unsolvable murders, those that are almost impossible to crack—which he titled “Eight Perfect Murders”—chosen from among the best of the best including Agatha Christie’s A. B. C. Murders, Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Ira Levin’s Death Trap, A. A. Milne’s Red House Mystery, Anthony Berkeley Cox’s Malice Aforethought, James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, John D. Macdonald’s The Drowner, and Donna Tartt’s A Secret History.

But no one is more surprised than Mal, now the owner of the Old Devils Bookshop in Boston, when an FBI agent comes knocking on his door one snowy day in February. She’s looking for information about a series of unsolved murders that look eerily similar to the killings on Mal’s old list. And the FBI agent isn’t the only one interested in this bookseller who spends almost every night at home reading. The killer is out there, watching his every move—a diabolical threat who knows way too much about Mal’s personal history, especially the secrets he’s never told anyone, even his recently deceased wife.

To protect himself, Mal begins looking into possible suspects—and sees a killer in everyone around him. But Mal doesn’t count on the investigation leaving a trail of death in its wake. Suddenly, a series of shocking twists leaves more victims dead—and the noose around Mal’s neck grows so tight he might never escape.


What are some other mysteries I should check out?? Are there any on this list you want to read too? Chat with me in the comments!

ARC Review: Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth


Five twenty-something heroes famous for saving the world when they were teenagers must face even greater demons–and reconsider what it means to be a hero . . . by destiny or by choice. – Goodreads

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Title: Chosen Ones

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Genre: Fantasy

Format: eARC from Netgalley

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5


SYNOPSIS:

A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.

Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.


MY REVIEW:

Chosen Ones gave me all sorts of feelings from good to bad to mixed and confused. I will start by saying that I enjoyed this book but I also feel a little let down 🤷🏼‍♀️ here is why:

The first like 200 pages is slow. It was SAD as all heck you guys. It drags. I was bored and honestly didn’t want to read it. Just a warning as well – some of the topics discussed during the first half of the book are tough. There is trauma, PTSD, flashbacks, drug use, addiction, death… some dark things! Which is a big reason to why I said the first half is sad. I felt there was nothing positive happening and just bad after bad thing was happening.

BUT after 200 pages this book is fantastic! Its fast paced, full of mystery and adventure, has magic and zombies and alternate dimensions!!

I really liked the characters! Sloane is a fabulous character full of flaws which make her so special and relatable. I especially enjoy Mox! He was tall, dark, and mysterious! I’d say as soon as he came in I was like ‘oooooo here we go this the story I want to know’ haha.

I was torn between giving this book a 3 or 4 star rating. I felt 3 star was fitting because how slow it was and how it took me a bit to get into it. However, once it got going I actually loved the story and felt that it was well written and enjoyable…. so giving it 3 overall felt wrong. So, I gave it 4 stars because of how it picked up. That being said, if you don’t like a slow start to a book then maybe this isn’t for you! You might not agree with my 4 star rating.

However, if you like a interesting fantasy with magic, war, the undead, plot twists, and a touch of cute romance then I think you will enjoy this!


What do you think of this one? Have you read it?

Do you like books by Veronica Roth?