What Unbreakable Looks Like: Blog Tour/ Review

What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin

TW: Sexual Abuse, Rape, Sex Trafficking, Abuse, Drug Addiction, grooming.

My Rating: 5 stars!

Cover Rating: 7/10 it’s a really great cover! The poppy on the front represents Lex’s name while she was being Trafficked. The cover i think also shows the strength of character Lex has. It’s really great for this book!

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Publish Date: June 23rd, 2020

Number of Pages: 336 pages

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis: “Raw, unflinching, and authentic, Kate McLaughlin’s thoughtful What Unbreakable Looks Like carefully crafts a story exposing the vulnerability of underage trafficked girls and what it takes to begin the process of healing from sexual trauma.”–Christa Desir, author, advocate, and founding member of The Voices and Faces Project

Lex was taken–trafficked–and now she’s Poppy. Kept in a hotel with other girls, her old life is a distant memory. But when the girls are rescued, she doesn’t quite know how to be Lex again. 

After she moves in with her aunt and uncle, for the first time in a long time, she knows what it is to feel truly safe. Except, she doesn’t trust it. Doesn’t trust her new home. Doesn’t trust her new friend. Doesn’t trust her new life. Instead she trusts what she shouldn’t because that’s what feels right. She doesn’t deserve good things. 

But when she is sexually assaulted by her so-called boyfriend and his friends, Lex is forced to reckon with what happened to her and that just because she is used to it, doesn’t mean it is okay. She’s thrust into the limelight and realizes she has the power to help others. But first she’ll have to confront the monsters of her past with the help of her family, friends, and a new love.

Kate McLaughlin’s What Unbreakable Looks Like is a gritty, ultimately hopeful novel about human trafficking through the lens of a girl who has escaped the life and learned to trust, not only others, but in herself.”

Opening Sentence: “Clean sheets. That’s what I’m dreaming about when something wakes me up.”

Musings:

First of all I am honored to have read a book like this one. It’s a hard hitter and I was in tears at so many points and yet it tells a truth of what goes on far too often. Yet, reading through it I never once feel like Lex is truly a victim. She comes out after everything standing tall and starts to figure out the kind of person she wants to grow up to be. Yet, the truth is she was given away to endure countless times of pure assaults to her person. What she went through. What so many young teens go through is an atrocity so foul I could never imagine what being in their shoes would be like. Reading through this book you can tell how much love went into it. How much research and care to write not only a story of a teen going through one of the worst things anyone could go through, but to also make it a story of hope.

I was in tears at the acknowledgments. Where Kate talks about the girl she’d spoken with who had gone through human Trafficking. Even re-reading it just now gets me teary eyed. No human being should have to go through this. Yet, I love that there is no brokenness to be found there. It truly is ‘What Unbreakable Looks Like’.

What I Loved:

The Friendship. Lex finds herself two amazing friends who support her and love her for all that she is. They don’t shy away from what she went through and they stand by her through it. They stay by her side and fight with her (and not just for her) to keep her safe and to lift her up.

The puppy! The part of the book that made me cry the most was when Lex gets a little Pitbull puppy. It’s one of the sweetest most hopeful moments and yet Lex feeling like she didn’t know if she deserved the love that that little one gave her broke my heart.

Lex’s Aunt. Lex’s aunt is such a wonderful soul. She fights for Lex and loves her truly for who she is. She’s gentle approaching her and talks with her openly. She is the kind of woman I think every child deserves to have in their lives. As their relationship grew closer it made my heart soar.

It’s difficult to read at times. With all the hope and the soaring highs this book has it is not without the dark parts. Knowing with detail at times some of the things she went through. How she was groomed. The drugs given to numb them out and keep them complacent. The awful condition the girls lived in. The pain inflicted upon them. Then the truth that many are killed and will never make it out. In a lot of ways this book is as educational as it is difficult. So much I didn’t realize about human trafficking. The weight of it is something no human being should bear. Let alone teens and children.

All in all:

This book is a must read. It’s unflinching and full of love and yet shows what true darkness looks like. The writing of which was handled with grace and with so much love. It is a book I will never forget.

About the Author

KATE McLAUGHLIN likes people, so much so that she spends her days making up her own. She likes writing about characters who are bent, but not broken – people who find their internal strength through friends, strife and sometimes humor. When she’s not writing, she likes studying people, both real and fictional. She also likes playing board games with friends, talking and discovering new music. A proud Nova Scotian, she’ll gladly tell you all about the highest tides in the world, the magical creation known as a donair, and people who have sofas in their kitchens. Currently, she lives in Connecticut with her husband and four cats. What Unbreakable Looks Like is her debut novel.

Places to donate to Trans communities:

Trans Equality 

The Trevor Project

Transgender Law Center 

Some BLM resources: 

Link to bail funds to donate to!

Link to petitions to sign! 

Link to a video to watch if you can’t donate!

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.

If you love my content and wish to offer me extra support by me a Kofi on my donation page!

Monstress Volume 2: A Review

Monstress Volume 2 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

My Rating: 5 Stars!!!

Cover Rating: 10/10 these covers are always stunningly beautiful. True works of art like the comics inside are.

Publisher: Image comics

Publish Date: July 5th, 2017

Number of Pages: 152 pages

Received: Purchased off Amazon

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis: The Eisner-nominated MONSTRESS is back! Maika, Kippa, and Ren journey to Thyria in search of answers to her past… and discover a new, terrible, threat. Collects MONSTRESS #7-12

Opening Sentence: “ “Miss? I woke up last night, and you were gone.””

Musings:

I cannot say enough how much I love these comics!!!! They are so goooood!!! I could never hype them up enough. Sometimes the best things you can barely talk about cause you mind is shouting continually everyone must read this thing!!! It’s so goooood!!! Over and over. These comics are top notch in every way.

What I Loved:

THE ART!!! I will never not be obsessed with this art. I finish one of these comics and immediately want to go back and obsess over how god damn gorgeous it is. It’s glorious. Sana Takeda is a queen!

It’s dark. The story itself has this continued sense of foreboding and urgency with horrific tones throughout. I love for it. Even the adorable cat history parts always have grim stories and grim imagery it’s perfection.

The Hispanic influences. It’s the little touches too of mixing in Hispanic culture. Specifically the use of Spanish words and acknowledging that background context that Maika has in this unique fantasy world is beautiful I love to see it!

How invested I get. You can’t read this without wanting to know more or caring for these characters. It’s dripping with mystery and curiosity. Both at the larger world level and at the individual motivation and wants level. Every single facet of the story itself is interesting.

It’s so gorgeous! The writing is so good! The art is a *chefs kiss*. Both writing and art are so nuanced and work together seamlessly to propel the story forward. I LOVE IT!

All in all:

I don’t want to spoil this I just want everyone to read it for themselves. It’s soooo good!

About the Author

New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer Marjorie Liu is best known for her fiction and comic books. She teaches comic book writing at MIT, and she leads a class on Popular Fiction at the Voices of Our Nation (VONA) workshop.

Ms. Liu was born in Philadelphia, and has lived in numerous cities in the Midwest, as well as Beijing and Shanghai. Prior to writing full-time, she was a lawyer. She currently resides in Boston.

About the Artist

Sana Takeda is based in Japan and is best known in the United States for working with Marjorie Liu, most recently on their hit fantasy series MONSTRESS.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

Some BLM resources:

Link to bail funds to donate to!

Link to petitions to sign! 

Link to a video to watch if you can’t donate!

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.

If you love my content and wish to offer me extra support by me a Kofi on my donation page!

Ya Books by Black Authors that need to be read!

There are so many wonderful and incredible books written by black authors that deserve to be read and spread like wildfire.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

“Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite, the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orleans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land.
But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie, that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. 

With the future of Orleans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide: save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles, or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.”

This book is AMAZING! It’s horrifying and so good. I loved every moment of it. Highly recommend this book.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

American Street is an evocative and powerful coming-of-age story perfect for fans of Everything, Everything; Bone Gap; and All American Boys.

In this stunning debut novel, Pushcart-nominated author Ibi Zoboi draws on her own experience as a young Haitian immigrant, infusing this lyrical exploration of America with magical realism and vodouculture. 

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. 

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. 

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?”

I have this book on my shelves and I can’t wait to dive into it! It sounds like a beautiful piece of writing that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Girls team up to overthrow the kingdom in this unique and powerful retelling of Cinderella from a stunning new voice that’s perfect for fans of A Curse So Dark and Lonely.

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again. 

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.”

This book isn’t out yet, but I have a galley for it I will be reading in June. From the moment I saw it I knew I had to read it. It sounds absolutely amazing and I already know I will be recommending this one for ages.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

“Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill.

But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral . . . for all the wrong reasons. 

Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.  

Insightful, unflinching, and full of heart, On the Come Up is an ode to hip hop from one of the most influential literary voices of a generation. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; and about how, especially for young black people, freedom of speech isn’t always free.”

This book sounds sooo good! All of Angie’s books should be read in classrooms everywhere. By now most know and love The Hate You Give, so I thought mentioning one of her other timely and powerful books would be great here.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

“Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela.

The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. 

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free. 

Plus don’t miss Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land!”

A young mother trying her best to make it during difficult circumstances and pursue her dreams. This book sounds like it’ll be a beautiful and hopeful novel.

The Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

“Debut author Justin A. Reynolds delivers a hilarious and heartfelt novel about the choices we make, the people we choose, and the moments that make a life worth reliving. Perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and John Green.

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. 

But then Kate dies. And their story should end there.

Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind.

Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.”

I love the premise of this book. It sounds like it will be a heart-wrenching read.

I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

“When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast—two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.

Filled with roadside hijinks, heart-stirring romance, and a few broken rules, Kristina Forest’s I Wanna Be Where You Are is a YA debut perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon.”

An adorable sounding rom com about a ballerina on the road to an audition. Too cute sounding not to pick up!

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

“Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.

His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed.

With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?”

This book sounds so funny and sweet and I’d love to pick it up! Plus the cover is beautiful. Looks amazing!

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

Check out my Instagram and Twitter

Check out The Book Raven Poetry website

Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

Check out the Sisters of Twilight website.

If you love my content and wish to offer me extra support by me a Kofi on my donation page!

The Olympic Games Read-a-thon: TBR

Welcome everyone to the Olympic Games Read-a-thon hosted by

Nicole the Weapons Master https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfatiovNuLoBTjojCncpKvQ

Sasha the Monster Tamer https://www.youtube.com/c/thewildSasha

Ally the Activities Coordinator https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ-uWE9JeIGNj1OxizzRLaA

& Ishi the Oracle https://youtu.be/0ETUce-ypo4

I did this quiz https://www.readriordan.com/2017/10/12/what-god-are-you-descended-from/

And found that I am on Team Poseidon!

As a part of Team Poseidon I will be completing the following reading challenges in the month of June!

Mandatory Challenges

Read a book set at sea or on a coast: Replica by Lauren Oliver

“Lyra’s story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape.

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.

While the stories of Lyra and Gemma mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story. Turn the book one way and read Lyra’s story; turn the book over and upside down and read Gemma’s story. The two distinct parts of this novel combine to produce an unforgettable experience for its two young heroines—and its reader.”

Never knew this book took place off the coast of Florida on an island. Made this the perfect fit for this challenge and I’m so excited to read this!

A main character that uses a sword: Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

“The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.”

I’m pretty sure the main character uses a sword in this book if I’m wrong please correct me.. otherwise I’ll have to re-read Graceling..but I’m pretty sure there is sword use in this book. I’m hoping this is a good fit

Non-human main character: The Lost City by Amanda Hocking

“The storm and the orphan

Twenty years ago, a woman sought safety from the spinning ice and darkness that descended upon a small village. She was given shelter for the night by the local innkeepers but in the morning, she disappeared―leaving behind an infant. Now nineteen, Ulla Tulin is ready to find who abandoned her as a baby or why.

The institution and the quest

Ulla knows the answers to her identity and heritage may be found at the Mimirin where scholars dedicate themselves to chronicling troll history. Granted an internship translating old documents, Ulla starts researching her own family lineage with help from her handsome and charming colleague Pan Soriano.

The runaway and the mystery

But then Ulla meets Eliana, a young girl who no memory of who she is but who possesses otherworldly abilities. When Eliana is pursued and captured by bounty hunters, Ulla and Pan find themselves wrapped up in a dangerous game where folklore and myth become very real and very deadly―but one that could lead Ulla to the answers she’s been looking for.”

I’m pretty sure the main character is a troll/fae the whole thing is about finding her heritage and the magic me thinks means she’s troll. I’m basing this on the description.

Trident finish a book in exactly 3 days: What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin June 16th

“Lex was taken–trafficked–and now she’s Poppy. Kept in a hotel with other girls, her old life is a distant memory. But when the girls are rescued, she doesn’t quite know how to be Lex again.

After she moves in with her aunt and uncle, for the first time in a long time, she knows what it is to feel truly safe. Except, she doesn’t trust it. Doesn’t trust her new home. Doesn’t trust her new friend. Doesn’t trust her new life. Instead she trusts what she shouldn’t because that’s what feels right. She doesn’t deserve good things. 

But when she is sexually assaulted by her so-called boyfriend and his friends, Lex is forced to reckon with what happened to her and that just because she is used to it, doesn’t mean it is okay. She’s thrust into the limelight and realizes she has the power to help others. But first she’ll have to confront the monsters of her past with the help of her family, friends, and a new love.

Kate McLaughlin’s What Unbreakable Looks Like is a gritty, ultimately hopeful novel about human trafficking through the lens of a girl who has escaped the life and learned to trust, not only others, but in herself.”

I am on the blog tour for this novel so I’m going to get it read first and do it in the three days so I’m prepared to write my post about it and have it up on the 16th. This will be a hard novel to read. The topic is a difficult one, but a necessary one I think. I’ll divide it up evenly for the three days.

Read a book you haven’t heard much about before: Glass Town Wars by Celia Rees

A new novel by the bestselling author of Witch Child: an adventure story drawing on the early writings of the Brontë children

All these Glass Town intrigues. No matter how long you’d been absent, how far you’d travelled, once you were back, it was as though you had never been away.

Tom and Augusta are from different places and different times, but they meet in a virtual world to combine forces in battle, to save a kingdom, escape a web of deceit and find love. In a place where fictions can be truths and truths fictions, learning who to trust is about more than friendship, it is about survival.

Glass Town Wars, inspired by the early writing of the Brontës, is a captivating, magical novel by the renowned Celia Rees.”

It’s safe to say I hadn’t heard a peep about this book before I saw the cover on Netgalley and requested it. I’ve not seen anyone talk about this book. Nothing. I was intrigued by its cover and so that’s why I requested it. I’ll be excited to discover what awaits inside.

Advanced challenges (can only be begun after the mandatory challenges)

A Book Featuring a character you would not get along with: Little Creeping Things by Chelsea Ichaso

“A compulsively readable debut with a narrator you just can’t trust, perfect for fans of Natasha Preston.

As a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. At least, that’s what she’s been told. She can’t remember anything from that day. She’s pretty sure she didn’t mean to do it. She’s a victim too. But her town’s bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down. In Melody’s eyes, Cassidy is a murderer and always will be.

When Cassidy overhears what sounded like an abduction and Melody goes missing, Cassidy knows she should go to the cops, but… She recently joked about how much she’d like to get rid of Melody. She even planned out the perfect way to do it. It’s up to Cassidy to figure out what really happened, because if she comes forward without a suspect, she knows people will point fingers at her. Again. And she can’t let that happen.

But the truth behind Melody’s disappearance will set the whole town ablaze.”

I don’t know if I’d get along with someone who jokes about and plans on how to get rid of someone else. In fact I’d probably not get along with them much at all.

A book shorter than 200 pages: The Stranger by Albert Camus

“Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed “the nakedness of man faced with the absurd.””

I was looking for a book to read under 200 pages and found this book. I don’t own really any books that are less then this so finding this classic was awesome. I’d never heard of it before and I’m super intrigued by it.

A book published in the last 5 years: The Orchid Throne by Jeffe Kennedy

“In the Forgotten Empires magic is forbidden, dreams are destiny, and love is the greatest power of all…

A PRISONER OF FATE
As Queen of the island kingdom of Calanthe, Lia will do anything to keep her people free―and her secrets safe―from the mad tyrant who rules the mainland. Guided by a magic ring of her father’s, Lia plays the political game with the cronies the emperor sends to her island. In her heart, she knows that it’s up to her to save herself from her fate as the emperor’s bride. But in her dreams, she sees a man, one with the power to build a better world―a man whose spirit is as strong, and whose passion is as fierce as her own…

A PRINCE AMONG MEN
Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has built an army to overthrow the emperor. But he needs the fabled Abiding Ring to succeed. The ring that Lia holds so dear to her heart. When the two banished rulers meet face to face, neither can deny the flames of rebellion that flicker in their eyes―nor the fires of desire that draw them together. But in this broken world of shattered kingdoms, can they ever really trust each other? Can their fiery alliance defeat the shadows of evil that threaten to engulf their hearts and souls?”

Published September 24th, 2019 this book like a majority of the books on this list is published within the last 5 years.

A book featuring magical creatures: The Emporer’s Blades by Brian Staveley

“In The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley, the emperor of Annur is dead, slain by enemies unknown. His daughter and two sons, scattered across the world, do what they must to stay alive and unmask the assassins. But each of them also has a life-path on which their father set them, destinies entangled with both ancient enemies and inscrutable gods.

Kaden, the heir to the Unhewn Throne, has spent eight years sequestered in a remote mountain monastery, learning the enigmatic discipline of monks devoted to the Blank God. Their rituals hold the key to an ancient power he must master before it’s too late. 

An ocean away, Valyn endures the brutal training of the Kettral, elite soldiers who fly into battle on gigantic black hawks. But before he can set out to save Kaden, Valyn must survive one horrific final test. 

At the heart of the empire, Minister Adare, elevated to her station by one of the emperor’s final acts, is determined to prove herself to her people. But Adare also believes she knows who murdered her father, and she will stop at nothing―and risk everything―to see that justice is meted out.”

I think by the cover alone you can tell there is magic creatures in this book. I mean giant flying hawks sound pretty darn magical to me.

A book with a blue cover: Witchmark by C.L. Polk

“In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family’s interest or to be committed to a witches’ asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans’ hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is. 

When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.”

This cover is a gorgeous blue and inside it is a highly praised novel I can’t wait to read!

The next book in a series: The Morning Flower by Amanda Hocking

I’m not going to put the about on this one cause it’s book 2 to The Lost City. I thought it’d be perfect to read for this cause I’m reading the first book in my mandatory challenges.

One of your most anticipated books: The Unstoppable Wasp by Sam Maggs

Ahhhhhhhhh! Ever since I learned of Sam Maggs existence I have stanned her hard. I haven’t read anything from her yet, but I got approved for this on Netgalley and I’m Soooooo excited!!!!! Literally going to finished all the mandatory challenges as fast as possible for the sake of reading this book!

That is all the books! I’m so excited about this read-a-thon and I can’t wait to share my opinions on all these books with all of you!!!

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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Diamond City: A Review

Diamond City by Francesca Flores

My Rating: 4/5 stars!

Cover Rating: 6/10 it’s a pretty cover. It fits the novel inside it pretty well. I love the warm colors of the diamonds! It’s a solid cover.

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Publish Date: January 28th, 2020

Number of Pages: 400

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…unless they risk everything.

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.”

Opening Sentence: “ “Do you want to know the secret to survival?””

Musings:

Diamond City is a fun fast pace novel that flies by as your reading it. Every chapter leaves you wanting more. It’s such a great read!

What I Loved:

Assassin Queen! Aina is an incredible assassin. She’s so much fun to read about. She’s smart and does things quick and efficiently and it’s so cool to read.

Casual bisexuality. Aina is bisexual and it’s just part of who she is and I loved being able to have that and have her also be this kickass assassin and it’s all just how things are.

Open-ended Romance. There’s several people that Aina likes and connects to. Yet, she’s giving herself the time and space to feel her feelings and see what she wants for herself in a relationship. I find that admirable and really nice in a ya.

Adventure Adventure Adventure! Every moment spent in this novel is an Adventure. It’s incredible. There’s not a moment to breath most of the time it’s just on to the next exciting thing and it’s great!

Good friendship. This book is essentially a bunch of friends coming together and doing something together for the greater good.

All and all:

Diamond city is a book that will have your heart racing to the very end. With dynamite and knife fights and grappling hooks.. this book will hook you till it’s exciting completion!

About the Author

Francesca Flores is a writer, traveler and linguist. Raised in Pittsburgh, she read every fantasy book she could get her hands on and started writing her own stories at a young age. She began writing Diamond Citywhile working as a corporate travel manager. When she’s not writing or reading, Francesca enjoys traveling, dancing ballet and jazz, practicing trapeze and contortion, and visiting parks and trails around San Francisco, where she currently resides.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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WWW Wednesday!

Haven’t done this in ages, but I thought it would be fun today! What are you reading Wednesday!

What I just finished reading:

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

This book I rated 5 stars! It was fantastic! It was an intense read and I had such a good time with it!

What I’m currently reading:

Horns by Joe Hill

I’m reading this a chapter a day because it is pretty intense and I don’t care to get into the mind frame of the book for too long, but overall it’s fantastic so far!

Diamond City by Francesca Flores

I am almost finished reading this book and might get done with it tonight! Unlike Horns it is much lighter and tons of fun! If I finish it today my review should be up tomorrow!

What I’m Reading Next:

Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald

I don’t know much about this book. This came as a random draw from the books I own to read next. It looks like a cool sci-fi so I’m definitely excited for it! If you’ve read this book, let me know what you thought of it!

What are you currently reading?

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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My Netgalley Request Spree

A few days ago I made a judgement call that would force me to get back into reading in a manic way. I went on Netgalley and requested a bunch of books. I’d banned myself from doing this ages ago. But, I’m not a depressed bean anymore. I’m excited about life and moving forward and I missed reading. It’s one of the biggest most magical parts of my life and I wanted to give myself an even larger incentive to read then ever.

I really didn’t know what I was expecting when I did this. I’ve been reviewing a bit lately and I just wanted to see what would happen and boy has it been an interesting line of approvals so far.

Also, I’m so incredibly grateful to Netgalley and all the publishers that approved me to read all these amazing titles. THANK YOU!!!

Books Requested and Approved:

Mayhem by Estelle Laure

That cover my goodness! I saw it and had to request.

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

This was a Hail Mary request. Did not expect the approval, but ohhh yeah I’m excited!

Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos

Couldn’t resist these creepy vibes! This novel looks like a mystery I wanted to know about.

Glass Town Wars by Celia Rees

This cover is UNIQUE. I wanted to know what the story was inside. I’m excited to get to find out!

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

This book is a mix up of so many things yet it looks so much like it fits. I am so so happy and excited I got approved to read it!

I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan

Again a good Mystery and I couldn’t resist requesting! It sounded amazing!

The Unstoppable Wasp by Sam Maggs

I said so many prayers to get approved for this title. I have a fat crush on Sam Maggs and holy smokes I’m so so excited to read this book!!! I was happy all day when I saw this approval!

Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro

So I’ve always wanted to read Anger is a Gift and I already know that book is soooo well loved so I had to request this book! So happy to have the chance to read it!

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera

This book has MAGICAL REALISM!!! Let me say that again MAGICAL REALISM alert!! Freaking will want to read every ya magical realism book I can get my hands on. It’s my jam! Plus omg that cover is chef’s kiss gorgeous!

Hush by Dylan Farrow

The magic in this novel sounds freaking amazing lemme tell you. I read the description and was like HELL yes sign me up for that thank you!

My Rejection:

Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz

That’s right this is the only book I’ve heard back as a no from and I get it. This is a very popularly requested book and I’ve gotten many many yes’s to many amazing novels! Still gotta appreciate that cover tho A+!

Pending Requests:

So all that looks like a lot of books right? Well when I say I went on a request spree.. I went on a request SPREE. Anyway here’s what I’m waiting to hear back on.

Last Girls by Demetra Brodsky

Soooo about this book. I kinda sorta got notified today that I won it in a giveaway sooo.. it may be pending, but like.. hell yess I get to read this book!!!! I have her other book Dive Smack on my shelves and I also won that in a giveaway way back. Apparently I’m meant to read Demetra’s books. I’ll be owning both books she’s written so far! Very excited!

The rest in a beautiful collage of ohh my gosh I hope I get to read these!!!!

That’s 18 more books I’ve yet to hear back on! All of them books I’d feel so happy to read! We’ll see what happens sometime soon! But, gosh I can’t wait to see if I get approved for any of these. Looking at them all together my heart swells. They all look so beautiful!

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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The Grace Year: A Review

The Grace Year by Kim Ligget

My Rating: 5 stars!!!

Cover Rating: 9/10 I love this cover! It’s perfect for the novel inside it. The dead look on the girls face and the red ribbon devolving into blood is a perfect representation of the book itself. What you get in this cover is what you get in this book and that’s what makes the art of it so amazing!

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Publish Date: October 8th, 2019

Number of Pages: 416

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Survive the year.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. 

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive. 

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life―a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other. 

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

Opening Sentence: “No one speaks of the grace year.”

Musings:

‘The Grace Year’ is a fantastic novel. Just a chef’s kiss kind of novel. It’s got everything that makes a great novel great. I had such a wonderful time reading.

What I Loved:

Darker then Dark. The girls in this novel are vicious. They are deadly. They are girls that you want to stay very far away from. Kim Ligett swing for dark and hit a home run. It’s scary how mentally these girls get so attached to believing they have magic they must purge that they turn so savage. It’s a wonder anyone survives a grace year. The whole time I kept thinking am I really reading this? Did she just tell that girl what I think she told that girl to do? Is that really what that tree is for? It’s so dark.

Somehow the Romance manages to be adorable anyway. One light in all the dark is the love story. I loved it! Yet it’s a little bit later in the story so I don’t want to spoil anything about it. Just that it’s swoon worthy.

I didn’t know how hope could live in this world. If your a woman in this novel your life is good for either a. Being a wife b. Working terrible jobs or c. Being sent to the outskirts to be a prostitute. Also, if your husband gets tired of you he can just say that you’ve been harboring magic and then you get hung. The prospects for a woman in this book aren’t great. I was wondering for a while where the hope lied and there is hope in this novel it just took a while to get there.

It’s a nail bitter of a book. The entire time you wonder is this girl going to make it? Is it possible for her to survive the savagery of the Grace Year. It’s madness. There is no other way to describe it the Grace Year is utter madness. Getting through it with a bit of your sanity is a miracle.

I’m still thinking WTH.. I can’t get over this book really. What it says about women. What it reflects about society. How goddamn dark it was. I’m still in awe. What a fantastic book it was.

All in all:

I highly recommend picking up a copy of The Grace Year. If you love a strong heroine with bite you’ll love this book. If you love a good dark story you’ll love this book. If you want to stare up at your ceiling wondering about life you’ll love this book. What are you doing still reading this? Go pick up this book!

About the Author

At sixteen, Kim Liggett left her rural midwestern town for New York City to pursue a career in music. Along with lending her voice to hundreds of studio recordings, she was a backup singer for some of the biggest rock bands in the 80’s.
Kim spends her free time studying the tarot and scouring Manhattan for vials of rare perfume and the perfect egg white cocktail.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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P.S. I Still Love You: A Review + Thoughts on the Film

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

My Rating: 5 stars!

Cover Rating: 8/10 it’s beautiful and completely relative to the story inside. It captures Lara Jean and her style beautifully. A very well put together cover!

Publisher: Simon & Scutcher

Publish Date: May 26th, 2015

Number of Pages: 337

Received: My Mom Purchased this for me from Barnes and Noble

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. 

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once? 

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

Opening Sentence: “Dear Peter, I miss you.”

Musings:

The Culture. I love how they have Lara and Kitty explore their Korean heritage. From the food to what they wore on New Years the small touches were really beautiful.

Kitty’s Personality. Kitty is a feisty one. She’s full of life and loves to make trouble. I love having a little sister character that stirs the pot. She made the book so much fun to read!

The Game. Having a game between friends that has lasted throughout time was so much fun. I loved how seriously everyone took it. It was one of my favorite parts.

John Ambrose. I am 100% on John’s team here. I like him so much more then Peter. I feel like John fits Lara better. Plus, I think he’s just really good at romantic gestures and I’m such a sucker for them.

The story is simply cute. I love a cute story and this is that. There are some somewhat serious topics, but mostly this is a fun novel about a girl whose navigating first love and it’s lovely for it.

All in all:

P.S. I Still Love You is great! I very much enjoyed it. I had a great time reading it. Loved the characters and the fun of it. Was an amazing story.

Was the Film Better?:

I would say that the book was so much better then the film. A lot of the plot points that I loved in P.S. I Still Love You were taken out of the film and replaced. The story itself gets moved around in a way that felt off beat. Plus, a lot of the time the movie felt inauthentic in a way that the book was all authentic. I liked the film, but it was nowhere near the goodness of the book. I don’t think I’ll be rewatching the film.

About the Author:

She is an executive producer on all three Netflix films– To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, and To All the Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean. She is also the author of the New York Times bestselling Summer I Turned Pretty series. Her books have been published in more than thirty languages. A former librarian, Jenny earned her MFA in creative writing at the New School. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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My Current TBR: May 2020

It’s only May 4th and already I’ve read three books! Glow, Monstress Vol. 1, and P.S. I Still Love you. I’ve been killing it already this month and I have so many more amazing books to read.

I’ve only mentioned it once before, but the way I pick my TBR is that I have a book for review and then I have all my personally owned books in a tbr document that I put into a random word picker to get the book I will be reading. This way I’m reading both books I own and my review books at a steady rate. What I appreciate about this system is that having my personal books being randomly picked means I don’t prioritize books I just bought over books that have been on my shelves for ages. Everything gets equal opportunity to be picked.

On to the tbr!

The Grace Year September 17th

Horns 

The Orchid Throne September 24th

Witchmark 

Diamond City Jan 28 2020

Luna new moon

Jack Keri is dead to me April 7th 2020

Pride and Prejudice 

Orchid Unshaken Diana’s release 

1984 

The miseducation of Cameron Post (friend’s Christmas gift to me)

Replica

The Orchid Throne may 26th

Glass sword 

The Fiery Crown Netgalley 

Flame in the mist 

The Lost City Netgalley 

Crazy house

The Morning Flower Netgalley 

All the birds in the sky

It came from the sky Netgalley 

All rights reserved 

Little Creeping things Netgalley 

Me Before You

What I love about this tbr is how mixed it is. From classics to Romance to a lot of fantasy, but also some thrillers and Sci-fi. I love all genres and having them reflect in my tbr as random as it is brings me joy.

I have to say I’m most excited to read Jack Kerouac is Dead to me and The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Jack because I love Gae Polishner with all my heart and Post because I can’t wait to discuss it with the friend that got it for me.

As my Netgalley reads come in I add to the list and since I’ve started doing this for my tbr I’ve had so much fun! I don’t know if I’ll get to all of these books in this month, but I can’t wait to see where I end with once May finishes! I’m looking forward to the rest of the month.

I wish you all happy reading in May!

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

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