Tag: 2017

Top Picks for 2017!

Top Picks for 2017!

2017 introduced me to many lovely books. I tend to be sheepish when it comes to giving my heart to a book, but the following twenty books all captured my senses for a wide berth of reasons. I’ve tried to come up with a list […]

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Books I Didn’t Get To In 2017

Books I Didn’t Get To In 2017

Let’s be honest, there were a lot of books I didn’t get to in 2017. I have every intention of doing so, but just ran out of time! There truly never is enough time in the day—especially when you feel your TBR staring at your […]

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State of the ARC: December

State of the ARC: December

December has come and gone. The new year is upon us!

Thus bringeth another State of the ARC update! State of the ARC is a Meme created by AvalinahsBooks. Check out her website for more information if you are interested in participating! I’m pretty happy with the progress I made in December. I always wish that I can read more, review more, write more…more, more MORE! Yet, I’ve come to find that the more we try to push and “get things done,” the less we spend on actually enjoying the process. 

This is something I've found myself doing.

I love to read. I think it’s safe to assume it’s the reason why we are all here. However, I don’t want to hustle through books to get as many done as possible. Because of my ARC TBR, I feel all-the-more temptation to do this. 

But let’s be honest, we need to take our time to read. We need to have time to reflect. (We need to take notes!) We need to write good reviews. Or else, what’s the point in being a book reviewer?

I’m saying these things to remind myself more than anyone. I feel like I’ve gotten in such a rut with hurrying through books to get to the next one, never really stopping to smell the pages. 

I think I’ve found a bookish New Year’s resolution. Anyways, onto the stats for this past month!

I participate in both the State of the ARC Meme, as well as the #ARCsAnonymous group on Goodreads (they go hand-in-hand.) Majority of my reads fell in with the theme of the month: Fantasy reads. 

Since I like to see, and read the stats, I’ve shown them in graph and written formats. 🙂


I know my feedback ratio looks atrocious, but it increased by quite a bit over this past month! (Like, almost 10%) I’m quite proud of my accomplishment. Hooray to small victories!

Netgalley Feedback Ratio
Overdue Stats Increased By:
  • New ARCs:  6
  • Read and reviewed: 7
  • Read, but needs review: 1
  • Remaining to read for December: 0
  • Due in January: 4
  • Due in the future (excluding January): 7
  • Overdue: 35

Newly Approved ARCs


Edelweiss Feedback Ratio
  • New ARCs: 1
  • Read and reviewed: 2
  • Read, but needs review: 0
  • Remaining to read for December: 0
  • Due in January: 3
  • Due in the future (excluding January): 5
  • Overdue: 1
Overdue Stats Increased By:

Newly Approved ARCs

Direct Requests

UGH! It is my goal to have 100% feedback ratio in all areas, but especially with these directly requested reviews! This area needs major improvement!

Request Feedback Ratio
Total Overdue
  • New ARCs: 0
  • Read and reviewed: 2
  • Read, but needs review: 1
  • Remaining to read for December: 0
  • Due in January: 0
  • Due in the future (excluding January): 0
  • Overdue: 12


Let's Get This Done!

I have been trying to read my oldest ARC for the longest time–Dragons of Dark by Ava Richardson. In order to do so, I also need to read the second book in this series, Dragons of Kings. Let’s get this done before it hits the year mark of sitting there, untouched!

That’s if for now! My next State of the ARC update will be posted on January 29th–stay tuned! How are you doing on your ARC TBR?

Welcome, from WordPress

Welcome, from WordPress

I know what you are thinking— Something looks different here. Well, that’s because it is! I’ve decided to take the leap of faith and migrate my website from Wix to WordPress. Wix has supported me throughout my first year of blogging, but I have seemed […]

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2018 Wish List

2018 Wish List

  This is going to be a hard post to write. Limiting my Wish List for 2018 to just five books!? Let’s see if I can do this and be content with the results. There are a lot of great books coming out in 2018–many sequels, […]

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eARC Review: Descent by Katie O’Sullivan

eARC Review: Descent by Katie O’Sullivan

Shea MacNamara's life just got complicated. When a freak tornado devastates his Oklahoma farm, fifteen-year-old Shea moves to Cape Cod to live with a grandmother he's never met. Struggling to make sense of his new surroundings, he meets a girl along the shore who changes his life.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.



Series: Son of a Mermaid #1
Author: Katie O'Sullivan
Publication Date: July 15, 2015
Publisher: Wicked Whale Publishing
Page Count: 338
Format: eARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Cover Artist: Cape Cod Scribe, K.R. Conway
My Rating: ★★½

Descent (Son of a Mermaid Book 1)Descent by Katie O’Sullivan
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


It was like things suddenly snapped into place.
He had a mom.
He had mermaid blood.
He had a tail.
Nothing felt impossible. Not even saving the ocean.

Something about this book didn’t click for me. I’m not sure if it was the writing style, the characters, the premise, the insignificant climax, or a little bit of each. While this is undoubtedly a quick and easy read, I felt that I breezed through it without a whole lot sticking with me. 

We meet Shea, a fifteen-year-old growing up in Oklahoma. When a tornado hits, he discovers that his father died in the storm. Forced to pick up his life and move to Cape Cod where is only remaining family lives. He instantly feels out of place, clearly seeing that his life on the farm is long ways away from the ocean.

One day, while walking on the beach, he meets a mysterious girl, who slips away before he can find out more about her. Through a series of events, he discovers what, and who he truly is. His new-found identity does not come without consequence. Shea quickly learns that he’s stepping into a political battlefield that has existed long before he has. 

I’ll start off with the things that I liked:

#1 In tales likes these, there’s always a sense of whimsy. Being fantasy, I’d say it’s a must! While I felt rather unimpressed by the rest of what was going on, I did get that necessary sense that the fantastical was happening to Shea.

#2 I liked that the protagonist was a boy who turned out to be a merman! I think every merfolk-related book I’ve read had a female protagonist, which minor references to mermen. It was good to see the male gender being represented in this genre and reminds readers that merfolk aren’t just for females. 😉


Things I didn’t like:

#1 I thought the writing style itself, and the voices given to the young adult characters were a bit juvenile. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but it seemed this book would fit more appropriately in the middle-grade genre. Many times their deliberations and interactions with one another (including the adult characters) were childlike.  

#2 I’m not sure what it is about these mermaid books, but apparently insta-love is a must. I think the targeted audience needs to see examples of infatuation vs. actual love because these lines are being blurred something fierce. Beyond physical attraction (the culprit for the majority of insta-lovers) there’s nothing to ground Shea and Kae’s relationship. If these two characters are going to dive into the sea of love, (HA! quite literally) I need more explanation as to why than, “We both have green eyes and…oh yeah! We are merfolk.”

#3 The climax was completely and utterly underwhelming. I’m not even sure what happened there. There was hardly a plot to be foiled. Anyone could see that the antagonist was aiming for the crown. I simply wanted more to the entire scheme.

#4 To say a little more about the characters, I felt that some were wildly unused! For example, there is a dark sorcerer, Zen, who does next to nothing but Demyan’s bidding. I feel like his reasoning could hang over his head for a little while, but not for years and years. A person with that much power doesn’t normally sit behind someone less powerful than himself. I think he would have made a better and more sensible antagonist than anyone.

I’m not sure if I will continue on with this series or not. I’d like to see the growth and development of the writing style. However, I’m afraid it will remain the same. I guess we will see.

Vulgarity: I don’t recall any.
Sexual content: Kissing only.
Violence: There actually were some rather grotesque scenes in here. There wasn’t over-explanation, but more than I expected.

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Beat The Backlist 2018 Reading Challenge

Beat The Backlist 2018 Reading Challenge

  How many of you have books that you bought years ago that have just been taking up space? Okay, okay. More than a few. The problem with these back-listed books, is that they keep sitting there! With too many ARCs to stay on top of, […]

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eARC Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

eARC Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Released today, December 5, 2017! Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life […]

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December ARCs

December ARCs

Luckily, my list for ARCs this month is quite short, (as you can see) so I will be catching up on overdue ARCs.

the girl in the tower

The Girl In The Tower by Katherine Arden

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

And…that’s it! I read The Bird and the Nightingale, book one in the Winternight Trilogy earlier this year. While I was on the fence with it, I’m still looking forward to diving in with Arden’s beautiful writing again. You can see my review on Goodreads here

Are there any books being published in December that you are anticipating? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: Dragons of Wild by Ava Richardson

Book Review: Dragons of Wild by Ava Richardson

Into this dark and twisted land, Saffron was born sixteen years ago. Cursed with dragon affinity and magical powers, she has been forced into a life of exile and raised by dragons—secretly dreaming of a normal life and the family she lost. But as her […]

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Book Review: The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

Book Review: The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King

Release date, June 1, 2017! As an orphan ward of the Sisterhood, eighteen-year-old Kalinda is destined for nothing more than a life of seclusion and prayer. Plagued by fevers, she’s an unlikely candidate for even a servant’s position, let alone a courtesan or wife. Her […]

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eARC Review: Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne

eARC Review: Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne

Release day May 30, 2017!

As the daughter of one of the mer-king’s trusted advisors, seventeen-year-old Jade has great responsibilities. When her fiancé murders a naiad, plunging the underwater city of Thessalonike into uproar, tensions surge between the mer and the naiads.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Book: Breakwater

Series: Broken Tides

Author: Catherine Jones Payne

Publication Date: May 30, 2017

Publisher: Fathom Ink Press

Page Count: 240

Format: eARC

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Cover Artist:

My Rating:  ★★★½

Breakwater (Broken Tides #1)Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.


I was already seen as a naiad-lover.

Jade is the daughter of one of the mer-king’s closest advisers. Growing up in a life of privilege and opulence, she knows little of struggle and inequality—other than the fact that her father was killed trying to fight it. 

Engaged to Tor, she prepares for her future with him—until she stumbles upon him in the courtyard, holding a dead naiad girl.

Forced to decide whether to believe his story, or turn him in for the crime which he admits to, Jade is thrust into the world of politics, where privilege and blind eyes are everywhere. With her beloved city on the cusp of war, she grapples with the truth of what is really going on in Thessalonike. 

I think it’s worth mentioning: I dare you to stare at the cover for a while.


I just dare you…

It’s beautiful!

On to the review.

How cruel power, prosperity, and position can be. It is cruel enough to evoke racism, slavery, and trafficking. This story speaks loudly about the injustices of racism and prejudice. In Breakwater, the two races who coexist in Thessalonike are the Mer and Naiads. Mer have resided in Thessalonike for eons, but the Naiads had been taken in as refugees after being forced from their river-homes. 

Things that I liked

#1 The scandal. Although simple, it was well done—so well done, that it took away from the rest of the story. 

#2 The idioms. Even though they are small, and sometimes quirky, I loved them. A few examples were: “the elephant in the room,” replaced by a “blue whale,” and as often said inappropriately in our culture today, “thank God” was instead “thank the tide.” Sometimes these small changes in a story bring the world-building full circle for me. I did still want to see more description, but this helped.

#3 The cliffhanger was completely unexpected! I’m curious to see where this tail (haha—get it?) will go. 

#4 This book is great at walking in the shoes of others. Even in the smallest of versions. In a scene, Jade is talking to her younger brother, Benjamin, and asks how he is after their family has become central to gossip because of Jade’s accusations against Tor. He replies:

“No, I’ll be fine. I haven’t been through nearly as much as you have.”
“Doesn’t mean it isn’t hard,” I said.

I’m not certain why this interaction struck me so. Maybe because it shows the influence an event can have on each and every person, not just the people directly involved. I think it did a good job at—even if not capturing fully—glimpsing each party’s direct or indirect involvement. 

Things that I didn’t like:

#1 Character names varied so widely in this book. From Maximus to Jade, to…George? I felt like it didn’t help the novel to flow together because when I think of a name like Maximus, and then compare it to George—they just don’t go well together. It’s like a mix of ancient world, the 50’s era, and contemporary. This is more of a personal preference, and some people may be entirely fine with the variety. I just didn’t care for it. 

#2 The character development was lacking. As stated earlier, the main topic of this story was discussed majority of the time, and I felt that it pulled attention away from getting to know the characters more. We are privy to Jade’s inner-workings more than anyone else—but I still felt like she needed more complexity. However, I was glad that her character did develop after the instance with Tor. I felt that she went from a silly, conceded teen to, this-is-real-now-young-adult.

#3 I liked the world-building to the point that it took the reader, but this was another area where I wanted to see more of. I wanted to understand the explore the breakwater further, and to get to know more about the history and cultural differences between the races themselves.

#4 The romance/not-so-love-triangle was “meh” to me. I don’t think the story benefited from it much, and made it obsolete for me. 

Overall, it was a good read for the lesson to which it offers. Especially for present times and valid for all peoples being aware of prejudices and inequality and how they effect members of society is imperative. 

Sexual content: Minimal.
Vulgarity: Besides some what I deemed to be derogatory terms in Mer and Naiad tongue, there were none.
Violence: There was some, but it was non-descriptive and didn’t bother me. 

A big thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!


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eARC Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

eARC Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s […]

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Book Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Book Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her […]

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eARC Review: Myths of Mish by Katie Hamstead

eARC Review: Myths of Mish by Katie Hamstead

Release date May 28, 2017!

Hansel and Gretel Herrscher survived the witch in the woods, but the experience has made Hansel paranoid for the past ten years. He sees dark magic at every turn. When Gretel has a marriage arranged to a much older man, and Hansel discovers he's about to be sent halfway across the galaxy, he knows something sinister is afoot. 

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

myths of mish

Myths of Mish

Series: Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles #2

Author: Katie Hamstead

Publication Date: March 28, 2017

Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press

Page Count: 245

Format: eARC

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Retellings, Romance

Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky

My Rating: ★★★

Myths of Mish (Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles #2)Myths of Mish by Katie Hamstead
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

1) Princess of Tyrone: ★★★★½

“Fear is very powerful, almost as powerful as love.”

Escaping from the woods and the evil witch only proved to be one narrow escape for Hansel and Gretel as they found themselves in another hostile situation once they return home. Their new stepmother is sneaky, tricky, and manipulative. Years go by and her treachery of leading the children into the forest fades from everyone’s mind–except Hansel’s. He knows something is off about the woman.

Wilhelmine, once embarrassingly love-struck with the famous and heroic Hansel, has accidentally classified herself as being dull and airheaded in Hansel’s eyes. The daughter of an important man, she finds herself thrown uncomfortably back into the presence of Hansel, as his younger sister Gretel is betrothed to her father for the sake of political gain. Gretel, being good friends with Minna, becomes the mediator between their awkward relationship. Hansel sees the marriage as a scheme orchestrated by their stepmother to do away with the brother and sister. Deciding before they are split from one another, the two flee before the marriage can take place. Minna, catching them as they escape, joins in their adventure and is taken on a ride that will change her life, and all of their lives, forever.

This is the first retelling I’ve read that hasn’t opened into a scene of insta-love! I didn’t enjoy this retelling as much as its predecessor, Princess of Tyrone. I did like how this book ended and tied back to the prior installment. The first half of the book I had a hard time getting into. Hansel’s bipolar attitude was irritating, and I felt terrible for Wilhelmine. Once the plot got moving, the second half took me by surprise as it made a 180-turn. I was drawn in by the sudden twists and didn’t see them coming one bit. I won’t say further what those were for wanting to keep this review spoiler-free.

Character Breakdown

Wilhelmine (Minna): Poor girl. Talk about emotional and verbal abuse. Hansel put her through the ringer and played with her mind at every turn for years. His reasoning is divulged later on, but it didn’t necessarily justify the extent of his treatment of her. However much she had been through, Minna somehow remained gracious enough to rise above Hansel’s offense.

Hansel: He drove me nuts through the first half of the book. His irrational dislike of Wilhelmine and unjustifiable cruelty was opposite of what I was expecting in a fairy tale retelling. As he spends more time with Minna, he thankfully manages to grow out of his childish demeanor.

Gretel: She is proof that petty jealousy can get you in a bind if one isn’t willing to hear the truth. Her innocence makes her susceptible to believing everything that she sees, rather than investigating further into the story.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. There are lessons for the characters and readers to learn. It wasn’t as captivating as the first book in this series but was entertaining in its own way.

If you enjoy science fiction lite retellings with a side of mythology, this series is for you.

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