House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Published: 4.6.21 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Paranormal Horror
Details: 304 Pages, Print, E-Book, Audio
Rating: 5 Stars
Series: Standalone

REVIEW

Disclaimer: I borrowed my audiobook copy from the local library. I read and reviewed this book voluntarily. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Content warnings at the end of the review.

“I’d realized there were scarier things in the world than the monsters that lived in my nightmares.”

I wanted nothing more than to find a book that I could immerse myself into. I asked everyone for recommendations on a book that would sweep me away. I was driving home and thought, maybe I should try the audiobook. So many people have told me that the audiobook is incredible and they were not wrong. Haunting, creepy, unputdownable. The prose is captivating and intoxicating, so much so that my husband listened with me and the binged it the next day. This is a story about love, loss, heartbreak, and the bonds that people share… what someone is willing to do for the ones they love. I will think for a very long time.

Something is wrong with the Hollow sisters. Iris, Vivi, and Grey disappeared without a trace, returning a month later with no memory, hair and eyes different colors, and a half moon scar at the base of their throats. Seventeen year old Iris spends her time attending her lavish private school, trying to stay away from the public eye, while her sisters rebelled. She becomes frightened as she’s being followed by a horned man (historically having stalkers due to their unsolved disappearance as children). When Grey goes missing under mysterious circumstances, Iris and Vivi begin following the increasingly bizarre trail of breadcrumbs left for them, unraveling the past that they desperately want to forget.

I seriously could not put this book down. Once I started, I realized how dark and atmospheric this book was going to be. The narrator, Eleanor Bennett, was phenomenal. I honestly don’t know if I will ever reread the physical copy of this because it is THAT good. I immediately felt connected to the Hollow sisters. Their shared pain, their dedication to one another, their love… Iris states many times that she would be nothing without them and you can tell that they all have a strange, yet beautiful obsession with one another. I really appreciated the conversational style Sutherland used. It’s rare that I read a book and think, “this is exactly what it would sound like if this were real…” It felt like real young adults having real young adult conversations and it helped me feel connected to the story. The narrator did an incredible job at controlling the tone of the story.

Side characters were well fleshed out and felt as if they all had their own places within this story. Cate, their mother, was overbearing, protective, and sometimes cruel in conversation with the sisters. Vivi and Grey both struggled with Iris’ blind loyalty to Cate. At one point, Vivi stated, “that’s a pretty heaven burden to bear, being everything for someone,” when Iris says she wants Cate to move with her when she goes to University. The horned masked stalker/villain had such an interesting back story that honestly I did not see that coming. And Tyler – what an addition to this twisting tale. So often we find significant others, co-workers, classmate etc being used as a throwaway plot device and I did not feel this way at all.

House of Hollow is by far the most atmospheric book I’ve ever read; Sutherland deserves five stars for world building alone. Once I started listening to the details of the story, I was hooked, whisked away to this creepy town. The author loved to use descriptive words, especially about the smell of things and places to really set the tone. Scent is such a huge factor in whether or not something is “grotesque” and she really understood that concept and used it to her advantage to make you believe you too could smell the rotting decay. It definitely is not for weak stomachs.

As far as horrors go, this wasn’t a book that made me feel like I couldn’t sleep but it was chilling enough to make me look over my shoulder when I was alone in the kitchen. This standalone YA paranormal horror really does mess with you mentally as you never are quite sure if the narrator is is reliable or not. If you are a fan of Stranger Things, a deep and rich prose, and world building that will make you question your own reality, then this book is for you.

Content Warnings: suicide and suicidal ideations, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, child death, parental death, self harm, stalking, violence, attempted rape, murder, gore


SPOILERS

Let’s talk about Cate for a second. At first, I thought – how could she be so cold to her children. How could a mother deny comfort and love. It broke me to pieces when she told Iris not to call her “mama” and to refer to her only as her first name… but you soon begin to understand why. I really appreciated the fact that she understood that her daughters were gone but she would rather have something rather than nothing, and she did remain dedicated to them (except for Grey 🌚)

The scene with Tyler reuniting with my sister was possibly the saddest scene in the entire story. I have to give mad props to Sutherland for making me feel this gut wrenching feeling about a side character and leaving it as one of the most memorable scenes. I also loved that Tyler was a Korean supermodel. I’m not biased or anything (okay I am because I am Korean), but the representation felt nice and not forced.

Speaking of representation, QUEER CHARACTERS! It was such an amazing surprise for me to find out that Iris was Bi and Vivi was a lesbian. I also loved that that was normalized and not used as a plot device or some part of a painful story regarding their sexuality.

The ambiguous ending leaves me BEGGING for more. It reminds me of the end of Stranger Things at each seasons end. You can close that book forever always wondering where your beloved characters go, or you can pick up with the little snippets left behind and write more stories. I want Tyler to come back!!!


Rachael

Small Favors By Erin A. Craig

Small Favors by Erin A. Craig
Published: 7.27.21 by Delacorte Press
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal Fantasy, Rumpelstiltskin Retelling
Details: 480 Pages, Print, E-Book, Audio
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Series: Standalone

REVIEW

Disclaimer: First and foremost, I would like to thank Penguin Random House Audio for providing me a complimentary audiobook of Small Favors in exchange for an honest review! Content warnings at the end of the review.

Ellerie Downing, a beekeepers daughter, lives in the quiet, isolated town of Amity Falls, where the townsfolk work hard at making sure everyone succeeds after early settlers fought off devilish creatures that lived in the woods. This dark, atmospheric, young adult horror opens up to a bloody end to a failed supply run, making everyone question the motives of the neighbors they’ve vowed to protect. Soon after, bad omens plague them; animals are maimed and deformed, crops are destroyed, and a catastrophic event sows mistrust within this community. Fearing starvation through the winter, lack of medical supplies, low ammunition, and a stranger appearing from the woods draws concerned feelings from the town. Being stuck within the borders of this creepy forest, with visitors being rare, makes the arrival of a strange boy all the more concerning. This book provides a very claustrophobic atmosphere which adds to the intensity of the plot. It also added psychological thrill which kept me listening until late into the night!

That being said, the character development and overall plot had some holes which made me lose some interest in the story. The behavior of Ellerie’s 8 year old sister was unconvincing, the narrator made her sound like she was 4 which frustrated me a bit as I always have trouble with authors/narrators not understand the tone of children they add to their stories. This being a Rumpelstiltskin retelling held true, with mystical creatures offering small favors in exchange for a little mayhem within the town, though we don’t learn much about the monsters until the very end, and even then it was slightly anticlimactic.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. My teenage self would give this a 3.5 star and would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed House of Salt and Sorrows, The Hollow Places, Rules for Vanishing, and other YA horror!

Content Warnings: pet/animal euthanasia, farm animal death, familial death, self harm/blood magic, fear of starvation, fire/severe burns


SPOILERS

Sam, Ellerie’s brother, was a throwaway character. He was extremely under developed and used as a plot device, even at the end. There was zero closure for his motives, leaving you with many questions about why he made the choices that he did. It frustrated me that there wasn’t much clarity for Ellerie and she was just okay with her brother being a jerk even until his death. Essentially going 🤷🏻‍♀️ immediately after his death scene (this was the same reaction Rebecca, his pregnant ex girlfriend had after learning that he’s dead). This frustrated me because it was completely for shock and it felt like having no emotional resolution for him (whether that be good or bad) was cheap. He was a character that the author could abuse and then forget about and critically, it just doesn’t sit well for character development.

The plot revolves around the townsfolk and how everyone works so hard to make sure they all succeed through the harsh winter, so when the town goes up in flames, Ellerie turns her back to the mayhem and then rides off to find her parents which were also used as a plot device and forgotten about as well.

The main villain was easily defeated, in a very unrealistic way (yes I know this is fantasy but there are certain things that you just shake your head at) and didn’t provide many answers to Ellerie’s desperate questions. Ellerie also makes choices that are completely useless and just made the book seem to drag. The paranormal elements of the book seemed disjointed within the story and was more-so confusing than it was revealing. The “small favors” parts of the book were not explored, just explained quickly – we don’t really get to see/read about WHAT the small favors actually were or why, just that it was happening. There were little instances like this that turned me off a bit when it started off with great potential.


Rachael

Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed by Laurie Halse Anderson

Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed by Laurie Halse Anderson, Illustrated by Leila Del Duca

Cover Image

Genre: YA Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Comics
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2020
Rating: 5 Stars


Synopsis:

Princess Diana believes that her 16th birthday will be one of new beginnings–namely acceptance into the warrior tribe of Amazons. The celebrations are cut short, however, when rafts of refugees break through the Themysciran barrier. Diana tries to help them, but she is swept away by the sea–and from her home–thus becoming a refugee herself.

Now Diana must survive in the world outside of Themyscira for the first time; the world that is filled with danger and injustice. She must redefine what it means to belong, to be an Amazon, and to make a difference.

Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed is a story about growing into your strength, battling for justice, and the power of friendship.


Disclaimer: First and foremost I would like to thank DC Comics for providing me with an e-copy to voluntarily read and review. This in no way sways my opinions, all thoughts expressed are my own.


REVIEW

WOW. This graphic novel was truly something else. Graphic novels have been doing an amazing job for YEARS tackling societal issues. This one specifically brought awareness to child trafficking, which is still prevalent in the world today. Although this book was geared towards children,  do feel that this serious world issue would make an age appropriate impact on the reader. This book also has LGBTQIAP+ rep, issues surrounding bullying, culture, homelessness and loss of family, sexual harassment, and foster care.

This new origin story was definitely a 5 star read for me. I really connected with this version of Wonder Woman. I love that she feels alienated and lonely, but she still does what’s right for other children in the community. Laurie Anderson did an amazing job creating a character that shows determination to make this world better, despite challenges.

The illustrations were beautiful. I loved the way the illustrator depicted the scenes. Often times I feel like I’m not getting the full story with such a short dialog and with this, I definitely felt connected to the story.

I appreciate that this version of WW tackles the themes of immigrant life in our society, and the extreme weaknesses we have in our availability of social services. I think that discussing issues like this with children of all ages is important. We are never too young to understand our privilege and it’s role it has on shaping the world around us. This brings to light people who do not have those same privileges and how we can learn to become activists just by caring about other people.

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#TEAM CINDER!

#TEAMCINDER

Calling all of my fellow Lunartics and Marissa Meyers fans, check out the stepback art for the new paperback edition of CINDER! I am so proud to be a part of this series and having the opportunity to reveal this art, as well as the new cover to you all!

These paperbacks are gorgeous and I can’t wait for you to see the rest of the series! They are available for pre-order now and will be available February 4th, 2020! Keep your eyes open for the stepback art of Scarlet, Cress, and Winter in the next few days on Instagram! Follow the hashtag #LunarEverAfter! Go #TeamCinder!

 

Cinder Stepback Art Reveal

 

 


[SYNOPSIS]

A forbidden romance. A deadly plague. Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future. This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget. 


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Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
Publication Date: January 28th, 2020
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Genre:
YA Contemporary
Rating:
5 Stars

Don't Read the Comments

Synopsis:

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

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

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

And she isn’t going down without a fight.


DISCLAIMER:
This book was sent to me for free by Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review. This in no way sways my review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

There is also usage of mature language but if you’re a gamer, you 100% would be okay with it (it isn’t often). I would let a 14 year old read this.

TW: mention of abuse, depiction of assault, harassment, online bullying


NON SPOILERY REVIEW

And now I’m going to set this world on fire.”

Just as the synopsis says, Divya is now my queen. She is smart, sassy, independent, strong, and all around a badass non-princess who most definitely does NOT need saving by anyone.

I essentially inhaled this book in one sitting. It hit me right in my nerdy gamer girl heart. All of the nods to current pop culture really made me feel like these characters were real. The level of conversations they had with each other was so authentic. Aaron’s relationship with his little sister might be my favorite part of the story. The romance was sweet, didn’t feel forced, and added that blushing edge to this story. It didn’t overshadow it, but I enjoyed the addition of it to the plot!

As a WOC, it really made me feel seen with both MC being brown. The relationships they had with their parents are so similar with POC across the board ranging from working your ass off to help pay for rent to the expectations of being a doctor and the pressures of a high paying career.

“My Armada! I love you!”

One of the things I loved about Divya was that she was a streaming diva who built an empire all on her own but gave credit to her best friend and her fans at every turn. She knew she would not be where she was without them and it helped me root for her as she was not a spoiled, entitled brat like the antagonist of the story. There is a scene in this book that moved me to tears! Side note: I seriously wish Reclaim the Sun was a real game!

Thank you for making me feel seen, you made gaming and streaming important in a novel, and who gave us a nerdy chick who is Mario and not Princess Peach.

This book will be available on January 28th, 2020 and is available at most retailers for preorder!

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Over the Top by Jonathon Van Ness

Over the Top by Jonathon Van Ness
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Publisher: HarperOne/HarperAudio
Genre:
Adult Memoir
Rating:
4.5 Stars
Audio Narration:
5 Stars

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Synopsis:

Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey.

The truth is, it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy.

Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so…over the top. From choreographed carpet figure skating routines to the unavoidable fact that he was Just. So. Gay., Jonathan was an easy target and endured years of judgement, ridicule and trauma—yet none of it crushed his uniquely effervescent spirit.

Over the Top uncovers the pain and passion it took to end up becoming the model of self-love and acceptance that Jonathan is today. In this revelatory, raw, and rambunctious memoir, Jonathan shares never-before-told secrets and reveals sides of himself that the public has never seen. JVN fans may think they know the man behind the stiletto heels, the crop tops, and the iconic sayings, but there’s much more to him than meets the Queer Eye.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll come away knowing that no matter how broken or lost you may be, you’re a Kelly Clarkson song, you’re strong, and you’ve got this.


DISCLAIMER:
This book was bought by me, all thoughts and opinions are my own.



NON SPOILERY REVIEW

HONEY! This book was EXACTLY what I needed to start 2020 off right. This book had me going YES QUEEN straight from the get go. JVN is not only an inspiration to people everywhere, but this memoirs proves that he’s been unapologetically him from the get go and that was so refreshing. His spirit shined through from the moment he decided he would make a name for himself while carpet figure skating.

I listened to this book via audio and I wouldn’t have it any other way. While you don’t NEED his voice to get the context, some of the inflections he adds to his stories are just so much more entertaining. This book made me laugh, tear up, and then filled my heart with hope. I also really want to hug his mom because she is the original queen of fierceness. I love her.

While some of the things that JVN talks about (sexual abuse, STDS, drug use, harassment, etc) may be difficult to discuss, he talks about what happened openly, and provides resources for anyone who may be struggling with these issues. This isn’t as much of a “how to” but more of a, “you don’t have to be a product of your past,” type books. I really encourage my friends to read this if they need a little pick me up!

This book is available now at most book retailers, in store or online!

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Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Publication Date: April 21, 2005
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre:
Adult Fantasy
Rating:
5 Stars
Audio Narration:
5 Stars
Steam Level: 🔥

Elantris (Elantris, #1)

Synopsis:

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.


DISCLAIMER:
This book was bought by me, all thoughts and opinions are my own.


NON SPOILERY REVIEW

Not that anyone is surprised, but I loved this book. This is Brandon Sanderson’s first published work and I love how different it is from his other novels. This book focuses primarily on political intrigue rather than the magic system (which I found so interesting and would love to learn more). I loved the reimagined idea of zombies! Elantris is within the Cosmere so it’s an important book to read!

This book is driven by the characters. While there is a lot of world building, the plot/characters are what really bring this story together. Raoden is the biggest cinnamon roll of all time, Sarene is such a strong, fierce, intelligent woman, and Hrathen is… well.. you’ll find out! The mystery surrounding what happened to Elantris will keep you turning page after page. Although like many of Sanderson’s work, this book does not focus on romance, but it does have a star-crossed lovers trope going on (that trope is my favorite!) The relationship between Raoden and Sarene is just so sweet and genuine and they’ve never even met.

If you haven’t read Sanderson yet and are wanting to dip your toes into an adult fantasy, this or Warbreaker is a good place to start!

This book is available now at most book retailers, in store or online! Brandon Sanderson’s next book in the Cosmere, Stormlight 4 (untitled at the moment) arrives November 2020 and is available for preorder!

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Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Audio Narration: 4 Stars
Steam Level: 🔥🔥

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but in fact, she’s one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. Varin runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.


DISCLAIMER:
This book was gifted from PenguinTeen as a gift due to Four Dead Queens being nominated for a GoodChoice GoodReads Award! This in no way impacts my review; all opinions are my own.


NON SPOILERY REVIEW

Wow! This standalone book totally swept me away! I haven’t read a royal fantasy in a while and it really took me by surprise!

I was intrigued by the mystery surrounding the murder of the four Queens and the story of Keralie, the thief entangled in the murders front the get go! This book was fast paced and kept my attention chapter after chapter. Some of the twists I never even saw coming! I listened via audio and I absolutely loved the narrators; they did a phenomenal job and brought the characters to life! I really enjoyed the romance as well. I think the story could have functioned well without it, so what we did get was cute and exciting!

I think it’s important as an adult reader to meet books where they are. I am rating this book as if I were 16 years old, and my teenage self would have LOVED this book (my adult self does too!) There are some moments of more mature content but nothing I wouldn’t let a young teen read!

This book is available now at most book retailers, in store or online! Astrid Scholte’s new book THE VANISHING DEEP arrives March 3rd, 2020 and is available for preorder!

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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: Well Met by Jen DeLuca
This book is CUTE. I am only a few chapters in and I am such a sucker for those steamy, adult romcoms! I’ve already found myself laughing. It’s giving me Fix Her Up vibes with it’s character driven, spicy romance that I am a sucker for!

Recently finished: The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland
This book was on my radar because again.. sucker for fast, cute romance! It was a free audible membership listen for December!  This was an enjoyable fast paced Christmas novella and is definitely an adult read in language and content! I really enjoyed the characters and I already miss them! This was perfect for my desire to read a little holiday book!

Overall Story : ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
Characters: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Steam Level: 🔥🔥
Audio Narrators: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reading Next: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
This book was sent to me by my friend Erin (IG: @story_hoarder). Her and I send each other books and ARCs to read and she said this one would be perfect for me! I am so excited to finish up Well Met to start on this one! Here is the synopsis from GoodReads!

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.”




I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday and get a lot of reading done!

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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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